Friday, May 02, 2008

COLUMN: Quake

We did it, Quad Cities. We made it.

If you're reading this now, it means that you're one of the survivors. The gods of fate have dealt us a terrible hand, but we've yet to fold. The challenges over this past week have been nearly insurmountable, but we as a people refuse to give up. Heck, the fact that our newspapers continue to circulate in these harrowing times is testament in and of itself to the undefeatable nature of the human spirit. Curse my naivety, I never thought it would be this bad.

So take pride, dear readers, for we are the survivors of the Great Midwest Earthquake of 2008. The damage has been done. The only thing left now is to pick up the shattered pieces of our broken lives and somehow find the courage and strength to move on. It will be a tough row to hoe, but I must have faith that one day, life as we know it will return to normal.

Some folks have had the gall to declare the quake "no big deal," that it was barely noticeable. These people are obviously in Stage 1 of coping with the aftermath of a terrible event of terrifying terror: DENIAL. If you encounter one of these hapless souls, be kind. Entertain their non-sensical notions that the earthquake was anything less than the Most Awesomely Awesome Event of our lives. Only in our understanding and compassion will they evolve out of denial into grief, acceptance, and, eventually, sheer and utter panic.

Those of us better skilled at coping cannot deny the horrific truth: At 4:37 a.m. on Friday, April 18, 2008, our peaceful towns were rocked by a quake of such might and fury that some of us actually woke up for a second or two. I know, I couldn't imagine what it must have been like to be in their shoes (or, in this case, PJ's.) I was one of the lucky ones who made it through the night unscathed and asleep, but every one of us knows someone touched by the epic rumble.

"I woke up all of a sudden," one of my friends recounted. "And I didn't know why. There were dogs barking everywhere for a minute. Then they stopped so I went back to sleep. I don't know why you're making a big deal out of it, Shane."

Oh, the horror. Can you imagine it? Enjoying a proper night's sleep when suddenly you're ripped from slumber by the sound of baying hellhounds?

"I woke up, too," another of my friends explained through his suffering. "I just thought I had to pee. Are you sure we had an earthquake, Shane?"

"STOP ASKING ME ALL THESE STUPID QUESTIONS!" said yet another friend, clearly irritated. Yes, irritability is but one of the many tragic symptoms of sleep deprivation. That's what happens when your REM cycle gets momentarily interrupted by the mighty forces of nature.

I, too, feel their pain. I may have missed the night quake, but at 10:40 the next morning, our world was rocked again by a 4.5 magnitude aftershock. There I was, minding my own business, as I bounced twice and my office chair scooted 2.5 inches forward. That's 2.5 inches I will never get back again, stolen by the cruel hands of fate. I can barely bring myself to talk about it. It's through true willpower and the comfort of a well-stocked vending machine that I made it through the workday alive.

And where, might I ask, is the government in all this? I try to keep politics out of this column, but when, may I ask, is the President arriving to survey the damages and tell people that it's alright? Where is FEMA? Where are the network news vans and my fellow trusted journalists, the only folks smart enough to sensationalize this story to the levels it deserves?

The truth is harsh: the world has forgotten us in our time of need. All we have to rely on is our wits, our neighbors, and an ample supply of Red Bull for those who might not have gotten their recommended eight hours of sleep.

The way I see it, there's only one person who can help us. One voice capable of easing fear and returning our quake-riddled midwest to normalcy. One man with the legacy and experience to help us make sense of this nightmare and begin the long road towards healing.

That's right, I'm talking to you, Bono of U2.

You've fed the world, you've opened free trade, and you still haven't found what you're looking for. We humbly beseech your wisdom and guidance. I've lived through the horror first-hand, I've been on the street talking to townsfolk, and clearly what will best serve our communities right now is a balding, self-important Irish master of the overblown song lyric.

I'm thinking charity single. Maybe an all-star cover of "You Shook Me (All Night Long,)" with proceeds going directly into the hands of Quad Citizens. Because, hey, nothing soothes rattled nerves quite like cold, hard cash. I'd never fear another night quake if I slept in a protective padded cocoon of hundred-dollar bills. Come on, Bono, won't you please lend a hand?

All I ask is that the charity single somehow involve Ashlee Simpson (though preferably not in a singing capacity.) Because, and I may be speaking out of line here, but the next best thing to cold hard cash is hot cute celebrities. Through perserverance, faith in our fellow man, and perhaps a nice dance number from a skantily clad Gwen Stefani, we WILL survive.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

That's it! You have officially gone completely off your rocker! LMFAO!