Feel My World Shake

My family moved around a lot throughout my childhood – Nebraska, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Florida – but if I’m ever asked where I grew up, my answer will always be Indiana – in particular, Evansville. I still have a good amount of family living there, and in a few short months I will be moving back there after having lived in Florida for the last ten years (no, I’m not crazy). So, when an 5.2 magnitude earthquake rattled the midwest on April 18th, 2008, I was especially interested. After all, this wasn’t the first time I had ever been concerned about seismic activity in my hometown…


In 1990, I was a senior in high school, living in Evansville with my grandparents. The calendar had just turned to December, and the local news was saturated with the name Iben Browning, a man who claimed to have predicted the 1989 earthquake in California (remembered by me as the World Series earthquake). He also professed to be a climatologist, scientist, inventor, and holder of a doctorate in physiology. He had predicted that conditions were right for a major earthquake to occur along the New Madrid fault line on December 3rd, 1990, a fault line that Evansville lies along. I remember a lot of people being really freaked out (me being one of them), many of them planning to stay home from work or school that day. There was no way I was going to go school and end up in a pile of rubble, but convincing my grandparents that I should stay home was another story. I finally get out of attending when I explained that since so many students were going to be absent, we probably wouldn’t be doing any work anyway. Luckily, my claim of the probable high absenteeism was corroborated by a local news broadcast the evening before E-day. It’s important to note that it was my grandmother that I won over, and she was the one who took care of getting my grandfather to allow me to stay home – my grandpa was much too practical to believe in such nonsense or ever take part in such hysteria. My brother David lived on the other side of town with a family friend (he was a freshman at another high school), but he wasn’t going to go to school either. So, he came over and the earthquake party was on! We brought a full-sized mattress into the living room and camped out in front of the television, anxiously watching the news and waiting for the world to shake. The plan was that once it started, we would get underneath the mattress, a place that would surely protect us from the house caving in on top of us (genius, I know). The night came and went without incident of course, as did the next day – December 3rd, Earthquake Day. My grandpa didn’t let us off the hook that easily, however. Our day off from school was filled with chores and yard work. I believe it was my grandfather’s way of telling us “I told you so” without saying anything. It was later learned that Mr. Browning was not a geologist nor a seismologist, he had no formal training in climatology, his doctorate was in zoology not physiology, he had not predicted the World Series earthquake, and his projection had been based on a widely discredited theory. Oh well, thanks for the day off, Iben!

Getting back to present day; CNN was reporting that there was virtually no damage, and no reports of any casualties. Once I had heard from my family that everyone was OK, I did some more online reading about the earthquake on the website of Evansville’s local newspaper, The Evansville Courier. At the bottom of any of their online articles, readers can leave comments for the world to see. There were over three hundred comments discussing the initial earthquake article, and I found several of them to be pretty amusing. Assuming that most people in the world don’t read articles on the Evansville Courier website, I thought I would share some of the comments that gave me a good laugh. Enjoy!

“Earth Fart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“10 sec.?? Not here. I thought I was experiencing the Excorist only there wasn’t a priest! And I haven’t had any pea soup.”

“Wow, glad I confirmed what that was. I just woke up at 4:30 and was getting in the shower. I thought maybe I just drank too much last night.”

“Got my son up in the basement, I can’t but this did.”

“10 seconds my foot! I’d say it lasted a good 30 seconds. It woke my husband up about 4:37 this morning and of course he likes to share things with me so he yells babe, wake up, we’re having an earthquake!!”

“An earthquake of this magnitude obviously is the result of man-made global warming.”

“Best one in my lifetime I think. Bed was shaking for all the wrong reasons.”

“We are having riots down here on Haynie’s Corner. I am out of food & water and I’m down to 30 rounds of ammo. I heard there was a few killings at Roberts Stadium. Are we gonna get FEMA cards?”

“Why aren’t the bridges being inspected? Why are tall buildings in downtown not being inspected? I heard on the news this morning that the Henderson bridges are fine. How do they know that? This is what 8 years of Bush in the White House has gotten us. Just look at the aftermath of hurricate Katrina. We need Obama in the White House and get rid of these non-caring republicans who want to tell us that everything is fine.”

“The earthquake this morning was NOT Bush’s fault; in fact, the earthquake was in no way political, so go back to sleep!”

“They say that dogs and animals feel these things worse than humans…..I sat straight up in bed….my stupid dog slept through it.”

“My name is SGT_SHLITZ. I am a survivor living in Evansville, Indiana. I am broadcasting on all AM frequencies. I will be at the Yankeetown Boat ramp everyday at mid-day, when the sun is highest in the sky. If you are out there… if anyone is out there… I can provide food, I can provide shelter, I can provide security. If there’s anybody out there… anybody… please. You are not alone.”

“That wasn’t an earthquake, that was Bill Clinton leaving Boonville…”

“That really rocked my world.”

“They last time I felt anything like that I had a vibrating strap around my booty trying to get rid of some fat.”

“I don’t need this. I’m gonna move to L.A.”

“Folks, get used to it. This is just more of God’s wrath, like the storms and flooding, for the way Evansville people are living. If we don’t turn this thing around and start loving each other, stop voting for only those candidates the Democrat party tells you to and do all we can to close down the nudey bars that are ruining our city, we can expect this to be a weekly occurrance.”

“If this was Gods wrath on Evansville why did it start in Illinois.”

“Damn Bush….this is all his “fault”.”

“It was really the shock of people seeing gas prices for the first time this morning”

“Maybe the big one will come and knock down all the eyesore houses around town.”

“These after shocks have wrecked my nerves. Hope it’s safe to be in a car, I think I am going to have to go to the liquor store soon.”

“I’m concerned that all of this may trigger a tsunami on the Ohio River…”

“I wonder if this will loosen my dirt and make it easier to work on a garden.”

“Well…..my sister called me this morning and said, WOW, even the earth shakes for you on your birthday! Happy Birthday!”

“The Earth is not your mother, she is not dying, and she is not mad at us. We didn’t cause this, Bush didn’t cause it, and Clinton/Obama wouldn’t have stopped it from occuring (even though I’m sure one of them will make this claim).”

“If anyone would like to challenge me in map folding…just say when and where…”

“Mother Earth needs to lay off the beans (or get some Beano!)…”

“04/18/2008 … never forget.”


Filed under Family, Funny, humor, Life, Nature, Politics

6 responses to “Feel My World Shake

  1. Sarah

    That is honestly some of the funniest stuff I’ve read all day.

    That’s why I had to share!

  2. Ah, my hometown. I check that site sometimes and long ago realized that it seems to be a certain, strange segment of society that posts on there. (That’s why I signed up to be able to leave comments as well).

    Iben Browning…I had forgotten about that guy. Wonder if he’s related to Iben Tooten.

    I traced their heritage – they’re both distant cousins of Iben A. Jirk.

  3. Aaaaaand…you still want to move back there??? 😕

    Enjoy. 😉

    Here, it’s hurricanes, traffic, and an 11-month summer. There, it’s tornadoes and the occasional trembler. The tipping points for me are family, the house (buying the family house), change of seasons, and the absence of palm trees. So, yes, I do.

  4. I want to move to Evansville based solely on the comments. Those people know how to laugh at life. And if they were not joking, I want to move there anyway so that I can have plently of people to snicker at.

    I’d say it’s half and half, which is perfect.

  5. Red

    I loooove Evansville! I dont venture up there as often as I used to, but there’s usually at least one trip a month made. Yeah, that’s the “big city” to us little Kentucky townfolk.

    I’ve been away much too long to be allowed to make any Kentuckian jokes. Big city, here I come!

  6. Now that’s some good stuff.

    Ain’t it, though?

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