The Donegal Express

The calling of the Rosary
Spanish wine from far away
I’m a free born man of the USA

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

I am the most wanted man on my island; but I'm not on my island. More's the pity.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

"My advice to you is to start drinking heavily."

-- "Bluto" Blutarsky

Last night was fun. At around 10pm West Coast time we had an earthquake. Unlike most of the denizens of California, I'm not going to refer to this earthquake with some quaint down-home euphemism. The people who try to seem folksy about these things out here, who sound as if they are trying to downplay the whole thing, those are the people who actually try to draw the most attention to themselves. Knock it off already. Wil Rogers is high in heaven, and Garrison Keillor is far away in Minnesota.

However, it was my first major league earthquake in the five years of living out here. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked. If all earthquakes could be 5.2 on the richter scale, and located near Gilroy (where there are no buildings taller than four stories) I'd ask God for one each week.

I'll answer the big question first.

Yes, at first I did think it was a big truck rumbling down the street. That much is true, according to the standard lines we hear about earthquakes. There were a couple things that stood out afterwards, though.

My legs felt odd, somewhat tingly in fact, after the quake. The closest I could describe the feeling as being would be like this: do you know how your legs feel when you've been roller skating for a few hours, then you take the skates off? It was a very similar sensation.

The other interesting thing was this, my mind went directly from really big truck, to earthquake. It wasn't till this morning, in fact, that I even thought about a possible terrorist attack. Realizing that terrorism never occured to me at the time, it made me wonder how people living in different areas would react first.

It's my understanding that the "Large earthquake" line of thought is common for the South Bay Area. Those of us who live in places like San Jose, Los Gatos, Morgan Hill and Gilroy are pretty familiar with earthquakes, but not as paranoid about them as say, San Franciscans. In talking with people out here, it seems most of us were prepared to give the tremor the benefit of the doubt, as it were, at first. It took a good five or six seconds for the earthquake to register.

The people who live up in the North Bay, in places like Daly City, San Francisco and Redwood City (as well as their East Bay neighbors in Oakland) are more attuned to the earthquake vibe, as opposed to the really big truck heading down the street vibe. This stands to reason since even though we will both feel the same tremors usually, the people in San Francisco are the ones who have to worry about really large buildings falling on them. I wonder if their first thoughts were "earthquake" or "terrorists". The Golden Gate bridge could be a tempting target, or so we're told.

I'm told that when an earthquake hits Los Angeles, the populations' first thought is, "The mother ship has arrived to take us all home". After five or six seconds of scanning the air, it is followed by "earthquake".

If an alien civilization ever decides to invade and enslave us, coastal California is a ready made fifth column. The eight legged, purple skinned, twelve eyed Prrrrgek'ai could take from San Francisco to San Diego and inland to Sacramento, without firing a shot.

The Prrrrgek'ai would have to be smart about it though. They couldn't just drop down a couple saucers and blast out their sound systems, "PEOPLE OF EARTH, YOU WILL BOW DOWN BEFORE OUR EMPEROR AND WORK THE MINES OF KARTEK IV AS HIS SLAVES."

Instead, they'd have to land a shuttle in Los Angeles, and ask to speak to someone from the UN. They'd declare they were concerned about our environment and the state of animal servitude on Lotar III, or as we parochially know it 'earth'. Then they'd roll out an enlightened model for our society, which would include "enhanced awareness training" for those who refused to abide by it, on some remote planet. The Prrrrgek'ai ambassador would look a lot like Jimmy Carter, for some reason. They would control the world through their puppets, who would be headquartered in Portland, Oregon and Vichy, France.

So, if you are ever abducted by aliens, and they have literature from the Sierra Club, your best bet is to open fire. If unarmed, try to rush the bridge and rip some wires out, or hit the self destruct button or something. Your sacrifice will be unknown, but of immeasurable worth.


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