Going to a beach school means that at least once a year we deal with a hurricane. This year, it happened to get here on the third day of classes, which meant a voluntary evacuation at noon. It seemed pointless to go back home a week after moving in, so I decided rely on my kickass survival skills (read: after years of training, I am capable of opening Pop-Tarts without getting hurt) and stay. That, and hurricanes tend not to be that big a deal here.

Hurricane Irene path on a Weather Channel radar map 

Starting Monday, campus began emailing us every few hours to let us know they were "monitoring" the situation, but that it didn't seem like it would be a big deal. When you're dealing with scary weather, it's comforting to know that the school has a stoned grad school student or two checking the weather report every now and then and sending out unhelpful emails that essentially read:

"Yeah, it could get pretty fucked up or it could pass way out at sea and we don't really know anything but we thought we'd tell you that it could possibly be a tad hurricane-y here later this week. Or there might be sunshine. Also we're getting pressure from the Department of Tourism to act like this isn't a big deal because the city spent all its money insuring the big hotels built on sand on the end of the beach that washes away every time it rains and is now broke, so even if it is going to be dangerous we can't tell you guys to evacuate because that scares the tourists and we need their money. Do you have any snacks?"

All week, people got ready. For the most part, that meant buying beer and Pringles. My neighbors welcomed Hurricane Irene with drunken singing from the balconies. Ultimately the parking lots were filled with about as many beer bottles as shingles. I saw one of my neighbors bringing a home weather station, presumably because his head was too far up his ass to make looking out the window to check on the weather feasible.

Guy streaking on The Weather Channel during Hurricane IreneMy hurricane preparation consisted of buying ice cream and attempting to find a battery-powered coffee maker, because if the power goes out and I can't make coffee the hurricane becomes the smallest concern of everyone within a 10-mile radius. I debated getting a flashlight, but figured I could just illuminate my apartment with my sparkling personality. I even bothered to bring in the chairs from my patio, largely because the wind tends to blow towards the nice neighbor, and if anyone was going to get hit by a flying chair I wanted it to be the douche on the other side who lets his dogs crap near my door.

Some people like to spend their time waiting for the hurricane to hit by watching the weather station hype the storm and memorizing evacuation routes. I took it as a great excuse to sit inside playing Mass Effect all day, because while I can't stop a hurricane from destroying the city, I can attempt to stop Saren from taking over, and really, I think that's more important in the grand scheme of things. Hurricane clean-up takes a few days, but stopping an alien invasion and possibly the destruction of all humanity is a lifelong struggle.

By evening, we had torrential rain and huge gusts of wind, which gave an exciting edge to the normally mundane task of letting my dog revenge shit near my neighbor's door. Aside from a couple of drunk guys trying to climb the fence to the pool, the only person out was an old guy standing on his balcony. He seemed to think that mid-hurricane was a great time to talk. Because, you know, if I come outside for my dog to take a crap in 80 mph wind, I must want to chat. No, I didn't want to talk about how blown away I was by the weather; I was literally trying not to GET blown away by the weather. Douche.

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