Yes, we had another earthquake in Los Angeles Thursday morning. 4.5 on the Richter scale. In comparison, a 9 would be like living through a Michael Bay movie. It came around 1 a.m. I was sitting at my computer. No one else in the flirt nook felt it. Lasting about a minute, there was a rumble, jolt, then more rumbling. Since my cable didn’t go out I knew there was no damage anywhere in a two hundred mile radius. My cable almost went out the previous day because of the New York rainstorm.
I’d like to say we Angelinos get used to earthquakes and just roll with them (so to speak). But each one is unnerving. In the back of our minds we’re always thinking, “Is this the big one?” followed by, “I hope the epicenter is under Rupert Murdoch’s house.”
But we try to stay philosophical. Every locale has something. Hurricanes in Florida, floods in Iowa, tornadoes in Brooklyn, bridges in Minneapolis. We just have to press on.
Well…not all of us. During one early morning quake the local Channel 4 anchor on-camera just dove under the desk in terror. Not exactly Edward R. Murrow reporting from London with enemy bombs dropping behind him.
The night of the Whittier earthquake in 1987 (Richter rated 5.9 if you're scoring.) I went to Dodger Stadium. It was the end of the season, I was trying to make a play-by-play audition tape I could send to the minors, time was running out, and I still sucked. But as I sat there in the first row of the upper deck I thought to myself, “If there’s a big aftershock is there possibly a worse place I could be than a giant 25 year old concrete overhang hovering precariously hundreds of feet above the ground?” And worse, I blew a big inning by mis-identifying Mickey Hatcher as Teri Hatcher.
But the real terrifying quake was the one in Northridge in ’94. That one had a magnitude of 6.7 and caused $12 billion in damages (including my fallen chimney). Plus there were aftershocks for weeks, some substantial. For months, every time someone turned on an electric razor people scrambled to get under door frames.
Thank goodness for Jack Popejoy. Jack was the morning anchor on KFWB radio, the all-news station. His unflappable demeanor, reassurance, and steady reporting had a huge calming effect on a very shaken population. Heroes emerge from trying times.
Everyone who lived through the Northridge quake has a story. But here’s the funniest I’ve heard. There was a business affairs guy at Paramount who took a couple of sleeping pills and slept through the entire thing. When he awoke, all of his things were strewn about the floor. So he called the police and said he was robbed.
Oh those wacky natural disasters!