Friday, February 13, 2009

Hunker Down!

During recent Hurricane Ike in Houston one memory rises above the tumultuous fray. It's not so much the toppled trees, wind torn roofs, or weeks without lights and water that I recall most vividly. Instead, a single phrase, along with a ridiculous image, comes to mind:

"Hunker down!"

During Television and radio broadcasts of the storm, journalists kept giving us this advice. If you had power and could watch the TV, you noticed that they said the phrase with squinted, serious eyes and a firm demeanor. They seemed to think that they were the first to impart such wisdom. They were proud of themselves. But they were not the first. Every station you tuned in had someone saying:

"Hunker down!"

Sometimes they added auxiliary advice

"Stay inside and hunker down."

"Keep off the streets and hunker down."

"Remain calm and hunker down."

"Seek out your loved ones and together, remain, hunkered down."

Still no one ever thought to define, exactly, what it means to hunker down. I get mental images of squatting, crouching, low walking people. I think that only marines should be able to say this phrase, and only during extreme combat situations

“Hunker down boys, the enemy is closing in fast!”


  1. Couldn't agree more. It's an utterly ridiculous and overused euphamism which no one understands. I too have always envisioned crouching for some reason.

  2. People must hate hearing that. They used to call it Civil Defense when I was a kid. Still bad. Let's put our heads together and come up with something better.