I just finished watching "East Coast Tsunami" on the History Channel. The show is part of a whole series of potentially apocalyptic disasters that I discovered while trying to ween myself off MSNBC and CNN these past few weeks. The whole point of shunning the news at night was to curb my anxiety in hopes of fetching a decent night of sleep. Instead, I've tread into the even more angst-ridden realm of disaster whoredom.
MegaDisasters recreates historical disasters -- natural or man-made -- in modern times and locations to see how today's society would cope with such destruction. Accompanying state-of-the-art computer animation of the would-be devastation, a foreboding voice warns that we're overdue for any one of these biblical disasters -- floods, storms, earthquakes, etc. -- and that it's only a matter of time before we face them down. The narrator -- as if he were reading the CNBC business report - tells us that an F5 tornado will one day hit a major east coast city and all inhabitants will either perish or be maimed in the accompanying shitstorm of sharp glass, concrete and debris.
Aside from the "F5 Tornado" and "East Coast Tsunami" due to roll ashore any day now, other episodes include "Earthquake in the Heartland," "Yellowstone Eruption," and my personal favorite -- "Asteroid Apocalypse" which details what would happen if a mile-wide asteroid hit Los Angeles.
I've also got a season pass to the National Geographic Channel's "Seconds from Disaster " -- another upbeat show that opens with the sober, baritone voiceover: "One moment, everything appears to be normal. Seconds later, an unimaginable disaster. How could this happen?"
Using computer animation and archival footage, the show deconstructs -- moment-by moment -- the chain of events leading up to the world's most notorious disasters. It is a festival of runway collisions, train derailments, tunnel infernos and, of course, it wouldn't be a party without 9/11, the Columbia Disaster and Chernobyl.
Last month, my biggest fear when leaving my house was that a rabid raccoon might leap out of the bushes and latch onto my ankle. Today, I fully expect a doomed 727 with hydraulic problems and massive engine failure to crash into my house.