Without Warning

Posted 2006.06.28 0.00 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

You know that expression ‘without warning’, as in ‘without warning, the tornado struck’ or ‘without warning, the truck tire came through their car window’?

I hate that expression. It is just really, really stupid.

I mean, in general terms, every time I have heard that expression used, it was just plain wrong. Either there was plenty of warning and the foolish people just chose to ignore it, or the situation was one that did not lend itself to warning. I mean, the phrase is always used in a way that implies that there is some shock or feeling of injustice about the lack of warning. Like, oh, if only we were warned that was about to happen, maybe so many people wouldn’t have gotten hurt or the property wouldn’t have got damaged.


The tornado gave plenty of warning – there was a big storm, it was tornado season, the storm was a meso-cyclone, there was a lowering, a rotating wall cloud descended at the inflow/outflow boundary; how much more warning could the storm have given? A big neon-light that said “Grab your camcorder, there’s a tornado a-coming!”?

The truck tire came through the windshield ‘without warning’ — well what did you expect? “Ding!” “Oh look dear, the ‘danger truck tire’ light on the dashboard just came on. Better pull over and let it roll on by.” “Ok Ethel.”

Oh, or “without warning, lightning struck the young man” — as he was out videotaping a thunder storm, standing next to a freaking radio antenna tower! There was plenty of warning! IT’S CALLED THUNDER YOU MORON!

I feel that the expression “Without Warning” should be stricken from common usage. Seriously. You know when it’s really applicable? When the warning mechanism failed.

Like, “without warning, my hard drive crashed.” “Bummer! Didn’t the S.M.A.R.T. drive status mechanism give you any warning at all?” “No, that’s the really wierd thing, it went from passing all tests, to failure, without any warning.” “Wierd.”

Or how about “Damn, my engine siezed up. Turned out I was out of oil!” “What? What about the ‘check engine’ light? Or the oil pressure gauge?” “Nope, nothing. No warning at all.” “Bummer.”

“Without warning, Stephanie snapped.” “Well what kind of warning were you looking for?” “Well, last time she said ‘I’m going to snap’ first. Then she snapped.” “Huh.”

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