“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