Tag Archives: earthquakes

The End of the World

Late last year, Hollywood released the epic disaster film 2012 staring John Cusack and directed by Roland Emmerich.  I have not seen the film, but I know enough about the film to tell you it was a festival of special effects.  According to the director, it was inspired by the book Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock and the theory of the Mayan Calendar that the world will come to an end in the year 2012.  Surprisingly, this theory has caught on, and there are any number of sites on the internet dedicated to surviving the impending disasters.  Much like the Y2K theory, remember all the talk about planes falling out of the sky the second the clock clicked over to midnight in the year 2000, I have given this round of end of the world jargon very little thought.  That is until I realized the world is coming apart at the seams.  Literally.

In general, human beings do not like change.  We get used to our lives and our daily habits and we do not like it when things get disrupted.  The end of the world would certainly count as one of these disruptions, and I for one do not think I would adjust well.  So if there is indeed going to be an end to the world as we know it, and not just in an REM song, I would like a little advance notice, please.  Since the beginning of the year, there have been five major earthquakes that I can remember.  Haiti on January 12th measuring 7.0, Chile on February 27th measuring 8.8, and three earthquakes in April in Mexico, Indonesia, and China all measuring over 7.0.  I also recall that there were news reports of earthquakes in Japan and Spain, but that they did not seem to be as devastating as the others.  We even had an earthquake right here in Illinois in the early morning hours of April 18th.  It was a measly 5.4 quake, and I felt absolutely nothing, but what the heck.  All this shifting of the earths crust can’t really be that good, can it?  And now there is a volcano erupting in Iceland that has been dormant for almost 200 years, and the ash cloud has disrupted air traffic all over Europe and the world. 

Hey. Mother Nature.  Is this your little hint?  Are you getting ready to take the whole bunch of us out?

This may seem like a funny thing for me to say at this time, but I don’t like the fact that I am divorced.  It was a major disruption in my life, and the lives of my children.  Looking back, I can honestly say it was one of the worst moments in my life, and the shock waves from that time will be felt by many people for years to come.  I am still attempting to put my financial life back together, having spent more than $20,000 over the two years it took to get divorced, and the timing of the current downfall in the economy certainly didn’t help matters.  It upsets me to know that I failed at something, and that my failure had such a devastating effect on the people I love most.  My relationship with my oldest daughter was crushed in the process, and we are only just beginning to work our way through things.  But given all of that, I can’t now sit here and say that I regret what happened.  I really do like my life now.  Sure, as with anyone, I wish there were things I could change or fix, but I also know that I have built a new life with Maureen and the kids that in many ways is much better than the one that was destroyed.

A little bit of research and a quick visit to the United States Geological Survey web site  showed me that the current trend in earth moving phenomena is not very unusual.  Every day, somewhere around the world, the earths crust moves in some way.  Many shifts are small, and others are quite large.  Of all of the earthquake that have been in the news recently, the one that struck  Haiti was actually one of the smallest, yet it seems that the devastation in Haiti was much greater than all of the others.  The simple answer is of course the infrastructure.  Haiti is a very poor country, and they were just not prepared for the events of that day.  The recent earthquake in Chile ranks as one of the top ten earthquakes in recorded history, but it is not the most devastating one to ever hit that country.  On May 22, 1960 the biggest earthquake ever recorded struck in Chile with a magnitude of 9.5.  This along with a long history of very large earthquakes, gave Chile an infrastructure that was more prepared for the movement in the earth than Haiti was.  Chile had learned from the past, and had raised it’s building standards to accommodate for this and future earthquakes.

The current divorce rate in the United States stands at 43%.  It raises to 60% for those who get married for a second time.  Obviously there are too many people who have not learned from their own mistakes, and have not rebuilt there lives to accommodate the tough times.  When I got married the first time, I was only 23 years old, and the woman I was getting married to was only 19.  I remember a number of people telling me that we should wait.  That we were not ready for the lifetime commitment of marriage, and it pains me to say so now, but they were right.  When problems occurred, I ignored them.  They sat under the surface and heated up, until our world finally cracked open and all the problems of the past came to the forefront.  Our infrastructure was one that was ill-prepared for the major events that were shaking our world.  The marriage crumbled. 

Maureen and I have been dating for almost four years now, and we have had our share of problems.  There was one point when I really felt like we were not going to make it, but we managed to work our way through it.  We are not a couple of kids, although she is much younger looking than I am.  We have built a strong foundation to our relationship, and I am confident that we can survive any of the tremors that will attempt to break us down.  Earthquakes happen everyday in all of our lives.  Some are small, some are large.  The most vicious of them will try to collapse the world in on us, and unless we are prepared to deal with them they will succeed.  I would like to think that we can beat the odds, and that we have learned from our past mistakes.  I am pretty confident that we can survive even the very worst of the quakes.

Go a head, Mother Nature.  Give it your best try.  See if you can rock this world!

I’m betting we will beat you to it.