Dry Lightning FAQ

Ralph Gamelli answers all of your questions about dry lightning and God’s wrath.

Photo by Bo Insogna

“With no rain or even clouds to warn him of the danger, death came literally out of the blue Thursday to a self-employed landscaper. The killer was a powerful bolt of lightning that cracked through perfectly clear skies.” – The Miami Herald

Q: I don’t think I’ve ever heard of dry lightning before. What is it?

A: It’s a very rare and strange phenomenon in which lightning strikes out of a cloudless sky. A bolt from the blue, as they say. Think of a bear that pounces on you out of nowhere as you’re walking through the woods. Now imagine you’re not strolling through the woods but say, cleaning out your refrigerator… and a bear pounces on you out of nowhere. That’s dry lightning. Of course, that’s a highly metaphorical way to put it. In more technological terms, it’s easier to just say God wants you dead.

Q: So what are some of the best ways to avoid getting hit by dry lightning?

A: I don’t think you were listening. If the Almighty wants you dead, it’s going to happen. Lightning will appear out of a sunny sky and fry you where you stand.

Q: Oh, I assumed you were just kidding around.

A: I never kid about dry lightning. Dry lightning is serious business. And if I’m being totally honest, kind of spooky.

Q: Look, I’m sure in the old days people resorted to superstition on the rare occasions when such a thing happened. But now there are advanced, scientific methods we can use to measure weather conditions.

A: I wouldn’t be so overconfident in your precious “science” if I were you. Maybe that’s how you got on His wrong side in the first place. Has that ever occurred to you?

Q: Listen, is there anyone else around who might be able to help me? Maybe someone with a meteorological background?

A: Let me ask you a question. Why are you so interested in dry lightning if you weren’t already paranoid that God was out to get you?

Q: I saw it mentioned in a news story and was curious about it. That’s all.

A: I wouldn’t be so curious about your precious “news stories” if I were you. Maybe that’s how you got on His wrong side in the first—

Q: All right, enough of that. I’m going to assume that avoiding dry lightning is a lot like avoiding regular lightning. A person should get indoors as fast as possible, stay out of fields and swimming pools, and keep away from tall trees.

A: No, not a person. Just you. You should do all those things. Not that any of it will help.

Q: Okay, then what if I run and take shelter in my car? I know that cars are safe from lightning because of the rubber tires.

A: Sure, you’ll be safe in your car… but how long do you think you can stay in there? Remember, you’re not waiting out a thunderstorm, you’re waiting out God’s wrath.

Q: Let’s say you’re right about all of this, and I’ll get zapped the instant I leave the car. I can get my meals from the drive-through. I can get gas at a full-service station. I have my laptop and enough room to sleep comfortably. I can stay in here forever if I have to.

A: Oh, you’ll have to.

Q: So that’s it, then? No hope at all?

A: Afraid not.

Q: What did I do to get God so angry at me?

A: I have no idea. That’s between you and Him. I can only answer theological questions as they pertain to the very rare and strange phenomenon known as dry lightning.

Q: Speaking of strange phenomena, a bear just appeared in my back seat, seemingly out of nowhere. What should I do?

A: Sorry, I can’t help you there, either. Despite referencing a bear earlier, my expertise is limited, as I said, to dry lightning. But please feel free to consult the Bears FAQ, and have a nice day.

Photo by Bo Insogna

Ralph Gamelli is of average height, weight, and intelligence, and requires the average amount of time to grow a respectable mustache. His ability to write an interesting bio, however, is far below average.