Blog: Shake, Rattle & Roll

Burt Ross

OK, that’s it. I’ve had it. Enough already. Give me a break.  Polio, Bernie Madoff, fire and now earthquakes. I am too old to shake, rattle and roll. I am tired of being tested by the power upstairs. Either pass me or flunk me, but enough with the tests. I am expecting locusts any minute.

I guess I should take some consolation in the fact that the earthquake did not damage my home, but since my home was already destroyed by the fire, not a lot of consolation is to be had there.

I understand from some of my readers that earthquakes are not a laughing matter, and I get that, but when I stop laughing, I cry, and I would much rather laugh.

I remember well when my bride and I moved here from New Jersey seven years ago. I couldn’t understand why everybody didn’t leave New Jersey for Southern California. Why, all you had to do to leave the snowy winters and humid summers was to get on the highway and head west. In a few days the sun would shine and glisten over the Pacific Ocean.

I recall several people warning me of fires and earthquakes. To be quite frank, I thought they were on the dumb side. Fires only burned in national parks and forests, or so I thought, and from an Easterner’s perspective, the last serious earthquake hit San Francisco in 1905. I not only thought they were dumb, but I thought I was rather smart—actually, brilliant—to have escaped the Northeast.

I believed the safety risks of living here were remote, merely the imagination of people who were not nearly as intelligent as I—a veritable genius.

And, so, I live in a rented house waiting to rebuild my home, and every now and then my light fixtures sway. My life has come to this. As for my friends who remain Back East, I am beginning to think they are not so dumb after all.

POSTSCRIPT: On a more serious note, we should all be aware of Malibu’s CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). The City of Malibu offers free CERT training. For further information on this and emergency preparedness in general, go to