How do you grade these things?

Yesterday Southern California suffered a mild earthquake. Naturally the television media went on forever babbling about the event in addition to speculating whether this was just a warning for a bigger quake to follow. I certainly hope yesterday’s was a one-shot deal.

Erin has her own unique way to describe seismic events.

Actually, I was in a restaurant drinking coffee and talking to a friend in Florida when it hit. I told her all about it, she asked how bad was it and I went into a spiel I made up on the spot.

I said something like this:

A 3.0 is a CalPoly ’cause you have to be in the room with a seismograph to notice it. A 3.5 is a Dish Rattler and a 4.0 is a Dog Barker because the dog barks like she does when the garbage truck goes by or a mouse farts behind the baseboard. Cats will hide in the closet and demand that Something Be Done; natural political action committees, most cats.

A 4.5 is a Car Alarm for obvious reasons, though you have to be close by for it to trigger. They sell a gadget to hang on your wall that works just like a car alarm; it scares hell out of you for no reason at the oddest times. And a 5.0 is a Hug-a-Tourist. That’s when a perfect stranger in the mall grabs you and hangs on for dear life and you know they’re from out of town.

A 5.5 is a Ceiling Check, all the natives and people who’ve been here for twenty years or more will look up then at the nearest door, just to make sure they know where it is. A 6.0 is a Kneehole, you get down on the floor and scoot under your desk and you pull your idiot friend from Iowa who’s still looking at the ceiling under with you. A 6.5 is a T-Shirt Slogan, you can buy one that says, “I survived the such-and-such earthquake” afterwards.

A 7.0 is a Wake-Up-The-Governor to call the National Guard; they may need to go dig some unlucky people out from under collapsed buildings and freeways. A 7.5 is what Californians call a Real Earthquake and of course, an 8.0 is The Big One. The Big One is like Santa Claus, you have the milk and cookies all ready and he never shows up.

Despite living in So. Cal. for over two years, I never had one of these experiences. However while stationed in the Philippines, I experiences a ‘Ceiling Check’. Half(It takes a rather significant force to move those 3 800-900 page biographies of Field Marshall Montgomery. A 5.5 doesn’t qualify.) my rather large book collection had been relocated to the floor and I had a couple of broken cups(My mistake being not to live like other single service members. Styrofoam and paper are your friends!) were the extent of my damages when I got back to my living quarters.

One day I’ll detail how I endured a coup attempt by eating Salisbury steak. You got to roll with whatever punches life gives you.

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