Yes, earthquakes are bad. They kill people, or they cause tsunamis and fires that kill people, or give people heart attacks (how one will kill me probably) and ruin families. I’m against earthquakes! I’m anti-quake. If there’s a petition to the Pontiff to use his connections and pass along a request to the Guy Upstairs to eradicate earthquakes from His list of disasters for which there is no preparation and no escape, I’d sign it.
I’ve been a fierce opponent of quakes ever since one delayed the World Series back in 1989. I was watching the TV waiting for the game to begin when BAM! it hit live on TV right there at Candlestick Park. And my sister lived just outside San Francisco at the time, which scared my family half to death. She was fine, but my disapproval of earthquakes as God’s go-to act when he really wants to put the fear of God in people has been stalwart since then.
Don’t ask me why I moved to Asia’s earthquake central. Please don’t ask me. It’s no reflection of how I feel about quakes.
I think we can all agree:
Earthquake = Bad
Quakes suck ass!
Ok, but what about aftershocks (and tremors)? You know, those titillating terrestrial throbs that occur for days and even weeks in the wake of a quake. Those invigorating vibrations that issue from the earth in an almost rhythmic effervescent quiver.
Yes, I know, I know, I know. They terrify. They augur of bad tidings, They break dishes and knock over vases sometimes, …But so do babies, don’t they? You wouldn’t throw your bundle of joy out with the bath water now would you? So why put aftershocks and tremors on your Acts of God shit list?
Personally I feel they have been unjustly stigmatized because of their relationship with earthquakes. I mean, Woody Harrelson’s father was a cold-blooded killer, assassinated a Federal Judge, in fact. Now, you wouldn’t paint Woody with that same brush would you? I mean, can you imagine Natural Born Killers without Woody? How about “Cheers“?
So, fuck what you heard. Loco is here to tell you: Aftershocks Rock!
Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you! Here are my top 5 reasons:
5- Aftershocks rarely kill or maim
I may have overstated the obvious, but it’s true; they rarely do! I like to think of them as God giving Mother Nature a “massage” using a vibrator on drive her crazy with lust speed, so of course she’s gonna buck and spasm a bit. And tremors? Well, officially they are earthquakes but minor ones. Of course they can traumatize over a long period of time, like I’m sure they have with me. But, at the same time, they prepare one for the big one as much as anybody or anything can be prepared. (Earthquake=bad, remember?) and they don’t kill in the process.
And, as an added bonus, no one in the outside world worries about aftershocks and tremors, so the frequency of people flooding your twitter timeline and FB homepage asking about your welfare (as will the number of times you will have to report to all- individually to be respectful and show gratitude for their concern-“I’m alive and kicking, thank you!” ) is significantly lower. Maybe even zero.
4-Aftershocks help you lose weight.
It’s true. I must have lost about 5 pounds since Friday. All this shaking makes for poor digestion and a reduced appetite (exacerbated by all the hoarding going on). You look at your food, menu or display, and ask yourself: how is that going to look when it comes back up an hour from now? And you decide against that greasy Yakisoba or cold Curry and Rice and reach for a fruit or a salad instead.
If you’re like me and James Bond-another seriously cool guy (especially that new Daniel Craig fella) – you like your vodka martinis shaken, not stirred, am I right? Well, by chance I was making a martini the other night at the crib (you know, to take the edge off) and was about to put it in the shaker (I can never get it quite right, though) when, out of nowhere, or rather out of the crotch of the planet, came the Earth’s bartender: the Aftershock. And, with a flourish that, frankly, staggered me momentarily, mixed a martini right before my eyes. Sip. Ah, perfect! Now every time I make a martini I pray for another visit from the Bartender from the Earth’s private parts.
2-Aftershocks interrupt your sleep!
Huh? You say, why is that good? Allow me to explain. You’ve just 4 days earlier survived one of those Earthquakes (see, bad) with a rather bloated Richter scale number damn near in the double digits, right? And, after walking a few hours through blacked out streets with a million other people, you finally get home, turn on CNN and learn that 1000 people weren’t as lucky as you and thousands More are missing, that tsunamis have swept them out to sea like toy soldiers or driftwood. Then after you’ve exhausted yourself on enough sensational news to wake a coma patient (and had a couple of Aftershock shaken vodka martinis) you take yourself to sleep. Naturally, you dream of yourself swimming against the currents of some god-forsaken whirlpool surrounded by a million drifting lifeless Japanese bodies. That’s when a godsend occurs; a 4.0 blessing of an aftershock rocks your ass awake, rattling windows and knocking over beer cans, martini glasses and wine bottles! You wake up scared shit-less but on dry land!
And, the final reason I think Aftershocks Rock is:
1- Aftershocks are Forget-me nots!
During your near death encounter with that 8.9 Act of God, you had an epiphany. You learned something beautiful and essential about this amazing gift we call life. It stays with you that entire 10-mile walk home. This sense of the eternal, of camaraderie with your fellow man, and harmony with every living thing. It wakes you up the following morning and has that air of something you might never forget, something that has altered your reality for the better forever.
Then, that trauma and panic starts to mess with you. You check you in-box and you have over 100 messages from loved ones telling you to “be safe” “Stay safe” “be careful” “come home!” and even one from your best friend in the world telling you, cryptically, “don’t drink the milk” like something from some old Little Rascals episode.
Yes, you are indeed loved, worried over, and ain’t it grand? The whole world has opened its heart to Japan, Japanese and those unfortunate foreigners who happened to be living here with them, and is pouring its contents all over your homepage, blog and everywhere else it can reach. It’s just what the doctor ordered. And you’re ever so grateful…for about 24 hours or so. Then, like too much of anything, especially good things, it starts to wear on you.
“I’m ok,” but you don’t add the dammit you’re feeling nor the almost desperation you feel saying it.
“I’m fine!” already!
They don’t believe it. They wouldn’t be fine 15o miles from a leaky nuclear power plant threatening to meltdown, in a wooden house you were surprised to find still standing when you’d arrived home after the quake, so how could you be? You start to wonder if you’re really alright or if you’re just frontin‘ trying to make everyone else feel better. Or, trying to convince yourself you’re ok.
And, that epiphany you had? It’s starts to fade from mind. You feel harmonious with nothing, certainly not the radiation riding the prevailing winds. Nor with the empty shelves at the convenience store and the altogether closed supermarket. Not with the rolling black outs and your deserting friends, headed south for the duration of te crisis. Not with your fellow commuters who have forgotten what they’d learned during their brush with the almighty and returned to their sickening behavior, much to your chagrin.
Only one thing reminds you of your epiphany, keeps it fresh and unforgettable.
What might that be, you ask?
When you hear those chimes and jingles go off in the office- you know, those cellphone earthquake alerts your co-workers have that go off every hour or so, prompting the room to go silent and everyone to stiffen up and stare off into the hereafter or at the TV set mounted in the corner, waiting, searching, wondering, and praying in their own way- you know the aftershock will soon follow.
Then it comes!
Some are sleek and smooth as a Mercedes Benz traveling at high speeds on some deserted road. Some are rugged as the rides you used to take around Prospect Park, jouncing off-road in the woods or racing along the cobblestone paths on your Trek mountain bike.
And, like rapture, like an orgasm, the details of the epiphany return to you, in vivid living color, and the beauty of your small, insignificant life is once again larger than life.
Only aftershocks can achieve this!
Cuz Aftershocks Rock!
follow me on:
And, if you got a sec, and in the mood for another side of Loco, check out my new blog: