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Chasing Tornadoes Is All I Have

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Fact-Checking The First Presidential Debate

Addressing issues ranging from national security to trade to their personal controversies, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump squared off in the first presidential debate Monday. The Onion takes a look at the validity of their bolder claims:

Viewers Impressed By How Male Trump Looked During Debate

HEMPSTEAD, NY—Saying the Republican nominee exhibited just the qualities they were looking for in the country’s next leader, viewers throughout the nation reported Monday night that they were impressed by how male Donald Trump appeared throughout the first debate.

Poll: 89% Of Debate Viewers Tuning In Solely To See Whether Roof Collapses

HEMPSTEAD, NY—Explaining that the American people showed relatively little interest in learning more about the nominees’ economic, counterterrorism, or immigration policies, a new Quinnipiac University poll revealed that 89 percent of viewers were tuning into Monday night’s presidential debate solely to see whether the roof collapses on the two candidates.

New Study Finds Solving Every Single Personal Problem Reduces Anxiety

SEATTLE—Explaining that participants left the clinical trial feeling calmer and more positive, a study published Monday by psychologists at the University of Washington has determined that people can significantly reduce their anxiety by solving every single one of their personal problems.

Trump Planning To Throw Lie About Immigrant Crime Rate Out There Early In Debate To Gauge How Much He Can Get Away With

HEMPSTEAD, NY—Saying he would probably introduce the falsehood in his opening statement or perhaps during his response to the night’s first question, Republican nominee Donald Trump reported Monday he was planning to throw out a blatant lie about the level of crime committed by immigrants early in the first presidential debate to gauge how much he’d be allowed to get away with.

Rest Of Nation To Penn State: ‘Something Is Very Wrong With All Of You’

WASHINGTON—Stating they felt deeply unnerved by the community’s unwavering and impassioned defense of a football program and administration that enabled child sexual abuse over the course of several decades, the rest of the country informed Penn State University Friday that there is clearly something very wrong with all of them.

Strongside/Weakside: Lamar Jackson

After passing for eight touchdowns and rushing for another 10 in just the first three weeks of the season, Louisville Cardinals sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson has quickly become the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy. Is he any good?
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Chasing Tornadoes Is All I Have

I chase tornadoes. That's what I do. I've tried to have a normal life—wife, kids—but it wasn't for me.

Huddling in a basement listening to an emergency radio frequency, hoarding flashlight bulbs, fearing for the safety of loved ones while the whirling world outside passes me by—that's all I'll ever love.

The only time I ever truly feel at home is in a van filled with meteorological equipment barreling toward a funnel cloud at 90 miles per hour, with the wind in my hair, the roar of nature's wrath in my ears, and a passion for taking precise measurements of windspeed and barometric pressure in my heart.

That's who I am.

But now that the tornado season is over for another year, I'm left feeling… nothing. An empty shell. Just a hollow emotional blank space where the deadliest localized weather systems on Earth used to be.

Sometimes, it feels like the reassuring sound of prefab Midwestern housing developments being ripped from their foundations and hurtled half a mile through the air will never come again.

I sit here, looking at the doppler radar screen, and what do I see? Nothing. Not a blip. I can hope and pray all I want, but nothing's going to change the awful truth: those destructive columns of air and dust aren't coming back until March.

I take solace in wonderful dreams, dreams in which house after house, silo after silo is reduced to kindling in a blissful, whirling blur every time I close my eyes.

I don't blame Judy for taking off with that real-estate agent while I was cruising the Great Planes for the umpteenth day in a row. There are only so many times you can tell the kids that daddy's not coming home tonight because he's somewhere outside of Tulsa hot on the tail of an F4 with a mile-wide base.

They're better off without me, anyway. I was fooling myself and them by thinking I could change. Even when I was there, I really wasn't, my mind always wandering to some back-country dirt road littered with downed power lines and destroyed farm-equipment.

Besides, the only time that house ever felt like a home to me was after Judy and the boys were long gone and a huge cyclone blew through and turned it into matchsticks. Luckily, I was already living out of the van, and I caught the whole thing on tape. I guess it was a sign. I chased after that storm and I never looked back.

It just seems so cruel. What kind of a God, I ask, could allow such placid, safe atmospheric conditions to prevail, for so long, year after year?

I do my best to keep busy. I polish the shatterproof glass of the monitors. I carefully fold and refold each precious nylon windsock. But by the end of the day, I'm passed out blind drunk on the couch, watching my old videotapes—many of which I've seen a hundred times before.

Somewhere, there's a low-pressure system just waiting build up to a twister so powerful that the closer I get to it the more it feels like it's sucking the air right out of my lungs.

Only then can I breathe again.

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