It is an established fact that tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are most likely to strike trailer parks. There has been much speculation as to why this happens. One theory is that mobile homes are made of metal and well grounded, a condition lightning strikes are fond of. Lightning, as we all know, is a constant companion of tornadoes and thunderstorms. Sort of like bacon and eggs or beer and brisket.

Contrary to the opinion of most doctors, tornadoes probably do far more damage to humans than having a double order of bacon and eggs for breakfast. Anybody has the ability to outrun an egg, or a slice of bacon, but few folks have managed to outrun a tornado. We are told not to seek refuge under a highway overpass. The reason for this is that you wonít be able to find one that is not already full.

With my years of experience, I have noticed that all severe storms hit where the residentís computers are still plugged in. Lightning can cause damage to computers that even Bill Gates canít fix. Not one of us is able to face a new day without our computer. We are married to the things and no divorce is possible. No responsible judge would grant one. If one did, we would be paying computer support forever.

On more than one occasion, I have exceeded the speed limit and risked life and limb in the midst of a bad storm to get home and unplug my precious computer. I bail out of bed in the middle of the night at the first clap of thunder to unplug the thing.

One thing I have noticed that happens without fail is that the minute I unplug it, the storm immediately moves elsewhere, seeking, no doubt, computers that are still plugged in. Thunderstorms, accompanied by lightning and possibly tornadoes also have a fondness for those 40-inch TV sets which requires the viewer to sit in the back yard and look through the door to tell whatís going on.

Our weather service regularly breaks in on ďLaw and OrderĒ to warn us to seek shelter when a small cloud is noticed over the Big Bend National Park. For some reason though, they never warn us to unplug our computers. Obviously, they just donít care. Theirs are already unplugged. They also advise us that something is on the ground near some little town none of us have ever heard of. They are not sure if itís a tornado or not and they are not sure where that town is either. The storm season is certainly not dull.

My advice to folks who live in trailer parks is to buy a computer. You donít need to ever use it, or even know how to use it. It is cheap insurance. Just keep it unplugged. The tornadoes and severe storms will always go somewhere else.

Theyíll probably go to my house if Iím not at home and I probably wonít be. Iíll be on the road driving 80 miles an hour trying to get there. Donít get in my way. I love that computer. It always warns me when a cloud has formed over the Big Bend National Park.

Harry Marlinís column is featured every Tuesday on the Bulletinís Viewpoint page. This is a repeat of a column originally published in 2002. E-mail him at