Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Some would take earthquakes the morning you were leaving for your bachelor party as an omen. I didn't, mainly because I slept right through the first one. The first indication that something was amiss was when Darcy asked me if I felt the quake in the middle of the night.

I flipped on the TV to see what was up, and I was instantly sorry.

Our local Fox station had completely given in to their worst impulses, so I opened my morning watching the anchors interview a producer who was at the station during the quake. The anchors were trying to get her to talk about the fear, the panic, the sheer terror of standing around as the earth rocked itself apart. Apparently, all they did was stood around looking at each other. The only fear came in when they saw the light fixtures were shaking a lot. So they moved.

Fortunately, they were able to cut away to the scene of a house fire in North St. Louis. The reporter opened by saying the fire started, ironically right around the time of the earthquake. Now, I'm no expert, but I don't think there was anything ironic about that - coincidental, perhaps, but ironic, not so much.

The reporter moved on to talk about how seated behind her was the woman who risked her own life to save her seven children trapped in the house. Now that's heroic, and I'm pretty sure it's also news; however, we never got to hear from her, because the reporter was talking to a firefighter. Here's the gist of the exchange:

Reporter: "Was the fire caused by a gas line that ruptured in the earthquake?"

Firefighter: "No. We think it was faulty wiring in the basement."

Reporter: "Could the quake have caused the wires to break open and start the fire."

Firefighter: "No. That's very unlikely. It would be impossible to prove."

Reporter: "Are you sure the earthquake didn't cause the fire?"

Firefighter: "Yes."

At this point, rather than recover what was left of her dignity and professional pride and either leave or talk to the woman who saved her family, the reporter went on to a charming story of how they heard meowing as they arrived and after looking around, they found THIS - as the camera swung up to show a cat lounging in a window.

Having seen enough, I changed the channel. I could see that the local CBS affiliate meant business - Larry Conners was in studio sans tie - and with his top two buttons undone. He must have breathlessly raced into the studio to make it for the broadcast, and he was waxing poetic about earthquakes in history. Why bother with a geologist when you can find a professional news anchor?

I moved on to breakfast.

After running a few errands, I was goofing off in the sunroom addition to my house. That's when the aftershock hit. At first, I thought it was wind. Then I realized that it was another quake. Then I realized that the sunroom on the back of my house has the structural integrity of a box of kleenex, and perhaps I should get out.

So yes, I survived Quake 2008 and moved on to more important things, like a bachelor party weekend in Chicago.


Student of Life said...

Yeah. Shit like that is precisely why I no longer work in television news.

Brian said...

I've grown increasingly disgusted with the quality of television news these days. I can generally be counted on to turn the channel in disgust at some point during a broadcast.

God help us as a country, because if the news media is any indication of where we're headed, it's not going well at all.

Farrell said...

That's your fault for watching Fox in the first place.