A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

My Photo
Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Great Earthquake of 2011

Everyone should know by now that my area of the world had an earthquake this week. The devastation that the 5.8 tremor left in its wake was nearly minimal. The loss of life defies description because nobody died! Okay, maybe there were a few broken fingernails, but that’s it!

I was at work, reviewing a few cases when the great event happened. My first feeling that something was amiss was the floor shaking – almost like a wave rolling under my feet. I stood up and looked around, only to see all of my co-workers standing up and peering over the top of the cube walls that were vibrating slightly. Everyone had a look of puzzlement on their faces as if we were silently asking each other, “Are you feeling what I’m feeling?” I stated out loud, rather matter-of-factly, “Must be an earthquake.”

A few more seconds passed and I perceived that the floor had stopped moving. Our 15 (some estimates ran as high as 18) seconds of sheer...bemusement was over! Bravely, boldly, I SAT DOWN at my desk and RESUMED MY WORK! My other workers conversed for a few more minutes and we all went back to our duties, even though a good portion of our job could not be accomplished for the next hour or so because the outside phone circuits were jammed.

Then, it happened! Absolutely nothing! Nothing at all for the rest of the workday! Our office handled the event with excited serenity and an anxious calm. We did not evacuate our building. By the end of the day, our office was back to normal with the average, everyday buzz of phones ringing and clicking-clacking of computer keys.

Meanwhile, in Center City Philadelphia...pandemonium reigned!

Office workers were told to evacuate their buildings and thousands dutifully did what they were told and poured into the streets. There, they resisted the temptation to run around in circles with hands above their heads and screaming hysterically. They stood around, talked, comforted each other, and pondered calling it a day in the early afternoon. Many did go home, believing that a mild earth tremor constitutes grounds for paid time off.

Since the great event, the experts have weighed in on what to do and not to do in the event of an earthquake. Yes, that’s all we need to make the day complete: thousands terrorized by the ground turning to mild jello and a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks giving us lessons in tectonic plate shift etiquette! Don’t run into the street, they say; crawl underneath your desk so that you don’t get hit by falling debris. This is fine advice unless the shocks are so severe that the floor collapses beneath your cowering, kneeling mass of protoplasm.

There is some common sense in telling people not to run into the street. For one thing, you could be injured by debris falling off very tall buildings. Second, you could be seriously injured by people — who were obviously faster than you in getting out of their offices and into their cars — running you over as they escape the shock waves that would barely make an ant break into a sweat!

A total analysis of the event must at some point involve raw data. We all know that the quake registered 5.8 on the Richter scale. Another measure was 9.5 on the sarcasm scale expressed by the late night satirists and snarky morning paper journalists writing about our panic reaction. California could have recorded a large number — 9.9 — if every Californian had fallen over in hysterics laughing at the reaction to the quake by wussified effete easterners. Fortunately, the residents of the Golden State took the high road. I’ve heard no reaction from them, although who could blame them if they offered a smug smile and a “Been there, done that!”

On a personal level I was mildly concerned by what I would find when I got home. Would shelves have fallen off the walls? Would a cabinet or two topple over? Would our Fiestaware dishes spill off the iron rack on my kitchen table and shatter? Would a water pipe burst in our basement and gush thousands of gallons of water on our crappy linoleum floor? Oh, and what about Steven and Meredith? What would my cats think of this?

Thus my thoughts as I drove into our driveway and saw nothing wrong. I entered and did a quick inspection from bottom to top of the entire house. Nothing was out of place; everything set and unbroken in its place. No pipe or wall damage at all. As for the cats: Steven met me at the door as usual. I had to call out for Meredith, and found her standing at the top of the stairs with a spooked look on her face. I assured her it was safe to come downstairs, and she came down slowly...eventually.

Now also, the usual religious zealot community is weighing in with their pronouncements on why the quake happened. So far, a rabbi has made the conclusion that the seismic event occurred because the country is slowly adopting a growing tolerance for gay marriage. The Westboro Baptist Church crowd and Pat Robertson haven’t opened their yaps yet, but I’m sure they’ll do so about the time that our next natural disaster — Hurricane Irene — hits the east coast before the end of the weekend.

(Actually, I spoke too soon. Even before I finished this paragraph, Robertson had issued a statement comparing the cracks in the Washington Monument caused by the quake to our national leadership. Typical!)

To this, I say coppy-pock! (No relation to poppy-cock.) If we consider that anything is possible, then perhaps we should consider the idea that the earth tremors happened for the opposite reason. The quake may actually be a sign from another larger than all-of-us force that is angry that gay marriage hasn’t gone nationwide yet. This could be the work of...Liberace!

Go ahead and fall down laughing, Californians! Go ahead and fear the wrath of God, Westboro Baptists! Just don’t underestimate the glory and power of Liberace!

(Thank you for reading. Everyone can come out now. Liberace has left the building.)


Post a Comment

<< Home