daily kaddish: tornado victims’ lullaby


Dozens of people have already been reported killed in tornados sweeping through Alabama today.

I didn’t feel like playing Kogan’s “Kaddish” tonight. Instead, I improvised a sort of lullaby for those people; may they rest in peace.

I lived in Iowa for a few years as a toddler—old enough to get an annoying Iowa accent that faded when we moved to Montana, thank god, but young enough to be a bit hard pressed to remember now how it worked when we played one of the more popular kid games there: “Tornado.”

The basic shape of it was that you’d be hanging around the yard doing normal kid stuff until someone shouted “Tornado!” Then everyone scurried to large objects (the camper was a favorite), grabbed hold of something, crouched low to the ground while holding on for dear life, and then peered up into the sky looking for funnel-shaped clouds.

That’s it. I don’t think anything happened after that.

It was a weird game.

But I guess it makes sense. When you live in a tornado belt, tornados slip into your consciousness, and if you’re a kid, you make a game out of it; you come to terms with it by making it normal, a game.

But nothing prepares you for the real thing, when entire cities turn upside-down and inside-out, and minutes after you were watching a rerun on TV, you’re instead gaping at the news reports showing your grampa’s airplane hangar, or rather what’s left of what used to be the hangar where your grampa kept his airplane…

A kaddish for the dozens of people (probably more) who died in the tornados.

About erin

Erin Vang, PMP, BMus, MMus, is Owner and Principal Pragmatist of the consultancy Global Pragmatica LLC®, offering custom JMP scripting, localization program management, and facilitative leadership services. She is also an orchestral horn player who freelances in the San Francisco Bay Area and plays assorted brass for the celebrated dance bands Midnight Smørgåsbord and contraPtion. More about Erin…
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3 Responses to daily kaddish: tornado victims’ lullaby

  1. erin says:

    This morning the New York Times is reporting that the death toll is up to 173—at least 128 in Alabama, 32 in Mississippi, 11 in Georgia, and 1 each in Tennessee and Virginia.

  2. Tina says:

    Beautiful, Erin. I like the improv very much – and also like the idea of this new stretch, your interpreting the feeling of Kaddish rather than limiting yourself to Kogan’s version.

    On the kids’ games, it makes total sense to me that you would play “tornado” if that’s what you were around. I grew up in Nevada, and thinking nothing of it, we used to play “prostitute.” And like you, we knew very little about the actual reality we were mimicking.

    • erin says:

      Thank you, Tina! It’s a relief to try some new things every so often; while I love Kogan’s piece, some days I just know I have absolutely nothing to say with it, and on those days it seems wrong to bash through it.

      I’d like to know more about the rules for playing Prostitute! I wonder how it would go if Prostitutes played Tornado.

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