Friday, January 15, 2010


When I was a teen-ager, I had a martial art teacher who happened to be Italian-American. He was one of the meanest, toughest bad-assed people I knew and he had a twin brother who was even more bad-ass than he was. I mean, it doesn't get any more bad-ass than being in the Navy Seals, right?

The twins were certifiable thrill-seekers. They've scuba-dived, jumped off of planes, fought evil guys in insurance company suits, walked on fire, laid down on a bed of broken glass and nails and, of course, played contact sports like Fight Club was going out of fashion. Well, this one twin, I'll call him Bob, said that there is one thing in the world that he would like - no - LOVE to experience. "I would LOVE to be in an earthquake." "Really?" I asked. "I'm dead serious," he said. He really was.

Well, he was out of his f*#*ng mind. I should know. I've been in an earthquake that hit 7.7 in the Richter scale. It was Baguio City, Philippines. The year was 1990. Thousands died. There was no running water and people were trapped in debris. Some people were reported to hydrate themselves with their own urine so they could stay alive. My family was in a refugee center. It was a public school - huge with a wooden structure and it was one-story. There was no fear of getting crushed by heavy floors and cement. It even seemed like we were playing house. I was ten so I guess it was kind of fun. What did I know? Kids seem to find humor in things.

Now that Haiti is devastated by an earthquake that has shattered the very core of its being, I hope that somewhere out there, wherever Bob is, he realizes that earthquakes are not fun. You don't go to one seeking to satisfy some cheap thrill. It can cost your life. People die. You don't wish to be in an earthquake unless you have a death wish.

Oh. Maybe that's just it.

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