Somehow, the ‘big one’ just doesn’t feel right

By Scott Green

If you’re reading this, congratulations! You survived the lamest earthquake I’ve ever heard of.

I don’t mean to disparage the hardy citizens who lived through Friday morning’s tremors, but as far as earthquakes go, this was not exactly the one you’ll tell your grandchildren about. It might be the one you tell your parents about, when you point out that you have endured a lot this year and could use some extra cash. I would do this over the phone, though, since it’s hard to keep a straight face talking about a harrowing ordeal that resulted in zero casualties, even if some woman did get trapped by her porch.

I’m not kidding about the porch lady. According to the Associated Press, a woman in Mount Carmel, Ill., 15 miles from the epicenter, was briefly trapped inside her house after her porch collapsed. The woman “was quickly freed and wasn’t hurt,” the story said, but I can’t help but think of what would have happened if she had been trapped for, say, a full half-hour. She might have resorted to cannibalism.

The AP also ran a photo of a man cleaning up his liquor store in Mount Carmel. Most of the store’s inventory appeared safe on the shelf, but the picture showed at least five broken bottles of booze on the floor. This is the sort of devastation you can’t put a price on, unless you have a higher resolution of the photo and can see which brands of liquor they were.

Earthquakes are unusual for Central Illinois. You always hear about them in places like San Francisco, but those are caused by a liberal attitude toward gay marriage. Or possibly because San Francisco is on the San Andreas fault line. Nobody knows for sure.

Anyway, Friday morning’s earthquake had a 5.2 magnitude, making it the area’s most serious since a 5.3 quake back in 1968. Despite its extreme mildness, everyone discussed it that day and into the weekend in conversations that followed two lines of thought:

1. People who were woken by the quake and couldn’t believe anybody slept through it.

2. People who slept through it and couldn’t believe it woke anybody.

So the earthquake elicited strong emotions from the heroes who braved it. But our best bet is to be more prepared in the future, in case the next earthquake causes more damage, by which I mean “any damage.” In honor of last week’s quake, here are 5.2 survival tips, similar to ones recommended by real earthquake experts in that they are, for the most part, written in English:

1. Stand in a doorway or lie down in a ceramic bathtub. This advice does not apply if you are too scared to remember this rule, in which case you should just scream a lot and fall down.

2. At the time of the earthquake, do not be in Mount Carmel, Ill. This rule also applies when there is no earthquake. I cannot stress this enough.

3. Ninety-five percent of the time it feels like there is an earthquake, the actual cause is your next-door neighbors going at it like porn stars. Try not to wallow in jealousy.

4. The next day, tell people whether you slept through it as if this was the most interesting thing to happen since the moon landing.

5. As soon as the tremors have ended, start selling earthquake insurance to vulnerable survivors at overinflated premiums.

5.2. To avoid death, always

That’s all there is to it. If we follow this simple advice, the survivors of last week’s earthquake will not have lived in vain.

Scott is a second-year law student. Please contact him for information about The Scott Green Insurance Co.’s earthquake policy.