In the event of a tornado, stay calm.

In grade school middle school high school, tornado drills occur with frequency and efficiency. The midwest is full of them. When the school alarm rings in groups of three short bursts, the proper procedure is to stand and file into the hall in an orderly manner. Where you go from there depends on the school. Usually you end up lining up against the outside wall of your classroom. You kneel facing the wall, let your torso bend to rest on your legs, and cover your head with your hands. Never lace your fingers; if debris hits then, they'll all be broken. Teachers stalk back and forth, admonishing gigglers. "If this were a real tornado," they say.

If this were a real tornado, the city sirens would be wailing their slow wail through the corridors. If this were a real tornado, there would be total panic. If this were a real tornado, the kid who mouthed off would get hit by a brick when he laughed and stood up. If this were a real tornado, the windows would be blowing in by now, and the shriek of the wind descending. Your eyes would be shut and your clothes whipping against you like flames.

But you are crammed against the kid next to you, sweaty and bored. Your leg is starting to cramp.

Then the all's clear sounds, and you file back inside to your untouched desks.

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