'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
EARTHQUAKE SENDS NUTMEGGERS INTO TIZZY
A few weeks ago we had the “earthquake of the century” in the Northeast. The epicenter was in Virginia, and it was felt all the way up here in New England. There was some minor damage near the center of the earthquake, including some cracks in the Washington Monument. In Connecticut, the earthquake damage reached the staggering total of eight dollars. (Two people dropped their $4 coffees outside a Starbucks in New Haven when the sidewalk quivered for a few seconds.)
As soon as the tremor occurred on that Tuesday afternoon in August, every radio station in the state went into full “Emergency Mode,” which is defined as opening up the phone lines and letting people call in to breathlessly relate what they were doing at the very moment the earth shook. Some of the calls I heard included: “My computer monitor vibrated for like five seconds!” “I thought someone was shaking my chair, and when I turned around, no one was there!” “The water in my fish tank rippled, sort of,” and, “It felt like I was drunk! And then I remembered—I AM drunk!”
While listening to dozens of people call in to the various radio stations and relate their eye-witness accounts of endless death and destruction—oops, I mean, momentary wiggling and wondering—it occurred to me that if it’s possible for folks to call in to a radio station and talk over the airwaves, then it couldn’t have been too bad. I don’t think there were a whole lot of call-in shows broadcasting in the aftermath of the earthquakes in Haiti, New Zealand, and Japan. Most people don’t have the time to call radio stations when they are either buried under a pile of rubble or frantically clawing at a pile of rubble to find loved ones.
I don’t know. Do you think that maybe we’re getting a little too wussified nowadays? (If you’re not sure what that term means, do a Google search for “Wussification of America.” Lots of interesting reading.) If we get flustered and are compelled to “interrupt our regularly scheduled program” because of an earth tremor that wouldn’t even rate a blurb in the Toyko morning newspaper, then how are we going to handle a real emergency, either natural disaster or man-made?
I decided to turn off the radio when I heard yet another caller say, “It felt just like there was construction going on outside our office building! Well, actually there IS construction going on outside our office building, so I didn’t realize I was suppose to be terrified until a co-worker came running into my office and screamed, ‘Did you feel the EARTHQUAKE?!!’”
Before I could reach across my desk and turn off the radio, I heard one final caller, a man with a deep baritone voice. He said, and I swear I’m not making this up: “I was getting a pedicure, and suddenly the water my feet were soaking in started to slosh around.”
Pedicure? Really? I know this is Ivy League metro-sexual Connecticut and not, say, rugged Marlboro Man Montana, but good grief, telling the whole world, without any hint of embarrassment, that you were getting a pedicure?! The wussification is worse than I thought. I hope our state never has to face a real disaster, such as a hangnail.
(Note: this was written a couple days after the earthquake and a couple days before Hurricane Irene swept thru Connecticut. Tune in next week for some thoughts on the way Nutmeggers handled a REAL crisis.)
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