Hurricane Watch

categories: Cocktail Hour


Photo by Coke Whitworth

Some of you may remember that last March I took a trip up the coast from North Carolina to New York with Duke coastal Orrin Pilkey, who has long warned against overbuilding on the shore.  The idea was to follow the path of Sandy and see the results of the storm, while doing some thinking, and talking, about the future of our coasts.  The story of that trip is available in this November’s Outside magazine (on the newsstands now) in a piece called “Down by the Seashore with Doctor Doom.”

            One fact that somehow didn’t make it into the final article was that traveling along with us in our car were giant cartoons of Bill and Dave. Or, as I wrote in the first draft:

           We push off and head into Durham to pick up Jeremy Lange, the photographer for the magazine that is funding our trip. Jeremy seems a nice guy, young and clearly accomplished: both Orrin and I saw his recent spread of pictures in the New York Times sports pages on the former Duke player, Jason Williams, who almost died in a motorcycle crash.

            Jeremy tries to jam his equipment into the back of my rental car. 

            “What are those things?” he asks

Bill and Bill and Meg Reid and Dave and Dave

              He points at what looks like a cardboard coffin that slants from the very back of the car to the corner behind the driver’s seat, effectively cutting off his view out the driver’s side window. 

             “They’re cartoons,” I say.

               When he just looks back at me I explain that I share a blog with the writer Bill Roorbach, and that because we are cheap I am our staff-cartoonist. The cartoons are life-sized cut-out drawings of Bill and me. After Orrin and Jeremy fly back from New York City, I will continue up the coast to a writing conference in Boston, where the cartoons will be on display.

              “So it’s like I’ve got dead bodies back here with me?” Jeremy asks.

                 “Exactly,” I say.

                 “After you drop us off you can put them in the seats and drive in the HOV lanes.”

                  “Good idea,” I say. 

                   I decide that I like this kid and plan on stealing the joke for my own use in Boston.

* * *

                  Which I did of course.

                  While the sentences above hit the cutting room floor, the editors were pretty generous with space, and I think/hope you’ll like the story. Here is how it starts:

           The prophet and I are returning to the drowned city. Trailing his robes behind him, he will point his wooden staff at the places where the waters rose, the subway steps that became waterfalls, the cross-streets turned inlets. He will gesture toward the river, explaining how it backed up from winds and tide, how the full moon affected this most modern of places. Four years ago, when he pointed to those same spots and told me what was coming, I only half believed him. Now I believe along with everyone else. We have seen it with our own eyes.

To continue reading please click HERE

 P.S I’m trying to really get this out in the world so every share or like (or tweet) helps.  Thanks, Dave.



  1. Tommy writes:

    HILARIOUS – cartoon cut-outs blocking the photographer’s view of the world! Only at Bill and Dave’s! They’re not just cartoons, they’re writing super-heroes! O.k., they’re only facsimiles, but as the photographer noted, they make better doors than windows.

    Really loved the Outside essay, though I think the Editors saddled it with a weak title. So many great Warren quotes in this essay including – “That doesn’t apply to us.” I also valued what it takes to be an activist – It requires a quick tongue, a thick skin, the toughness to sit in a town meeting where everyone is readying the torches, and the wit to get out of there alive. Good insight for anyone willing to take a stand.

    This is among your best work, David, a joy to read, and almost – inspirational!

  2. George de Gramont writes:

    This is definitely one of your most important essays. Ihope it gets the readership it deserves.Jorge