Thursday, January 16, 2014


Twenty years ago tonight, my world was quite different.

I was employed as an Associate Creative Director -- most meaningless title ever -- at Team One Advertising. Struggling, like the entire creative staff, to come up with Lexus ideas that would suit Mr. Chikuma. A non-English speaking CMO who looked, and acted, remarkably like Colonel Saito from Bridge over the River Kwai.

Our two story home was merely a one story 1100 square foot California bungalow.

And our two daughters had not yet arrived.

In fact there's a good chance my wife and I had already started our fertility regimen. And the ovulation kit had already been laid out on the bathroom counter. If all the indicators were positive, the morning of January 17th would have been prime baby-making time.  But I'm here to tell you nothing takes the joy out of sex like the temperature-controlled, calendar-driven burden of procreation.

Of course none of that was to be.

Because on January 17, 1994 at exactly 4:31 AM, the previously undiscovered Northridge Thrust Fault decided to start thrusting somewhere along Reseda Blvd.

I literally rolled off the bed as it felt like a train had barreled through my home. A real train, with 4 locomotives and tank cars filled with flammable fuel.

Not one of those light rail sissy trains.

It didn't last long, 20 seconds at most, but long enough for me to believe an atomic bomb had gone off in our all too tiny bathroom. And that we were all going to die. And that I wouldn't get to show Mr. Chikuma the newest concepts.

It should be noted my brain does not function well at 4:30 in the morning. Particularly when I'm huddled with my wife under a doorway for protection and the only thing separating us from the eternal dirt nap is some 1/2 inch plywood and crumbling stucco.

It was only a 6.7 quake but the ground acceleration was one of the highest ever recorded in North America. Causing major damage throughout Southern California.

We were luckier than others. And thanks to FEMA relief money we were able to build a new chimney and replace the ugly sliding doors in our dining room with some previously unaffordable French Doors.

Right now, I'd love to put an office above my garage however the remodeling costs are quite prohibitive. But maybe there's still some life left in that Northridge Thrust Fault. And maybe the Federal government will come by with a blank checkbook. And maybe I can get those soundproof windows that will silence my neighbor's pit bull and my other neighbor's bi-polar late night power tool usage.

A man can dream, can't he?

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Thrust Fault. The Whiskey, '97.