Column: Bad Karma

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Volume 1: Quaking in our boots

By P.J. D’Annunzio, Staff Writer, UnionvilleTimes.com

Every morning before she leaves for work, my mother pops a blank tape in the VCR (they still exist) to record her favorite soap opera while she’s away.

Imagine her disappointment when she comes home to find her stories interrupted by at least an hour’s worth of frantic newscasters, who in a breaking-news frenzy are reporting details on the 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Virginia that made its presence known all the way into the heart of the Delaware Valley.

I admit it was surprising—I myself was in the commode when I remembered that the porcelain didn’t come equipped with massage functionality—but was it really the apocalyptic happening that T.V. news would have us believe? I invite you to emerge from your fallout bunker and consider the following:

When our beloved leaders tell us during their campaigns about the “American Spirit,” that warm and fuzzy notion of true grit, stick-to-itiveness, and coolness under fire that we all allegedly possess as Sons (and Daughters) of Liberty, do they really mean it? Or is it just a fairy tale. I’m sure it’s true for some, like my father who eats rusty nails for breakfast, but what about others? I wonder how many people in this area spilled piping-hot lattés on their Dockers in a moment of trouser-soiling hysteria when they realized that their ability to text message had been knocked out of whack by the rumble in Virginny. Most people don’t realize that when the ground does the Bankhead Bounce, the immense volume of panicky calls will overwhelm the cellular relay stations, causing a disruption in service.

We live in an age where most media (except this fine publication) serve to inject fear into an already paranoid public for the purpose of garnering viewership. It’s a good business model for them, but what about you? How many times have you found yourself glued to the T.V., sweating bullets and waiting for eleven o’clock to roll around so you could find out about the common household killer in your laundry room? How many of ye matrons gathered your cubs inside the house and gave serious thought to bubble-wrapping the walls when hearing about a local child who was involved in a bicycle accident. More than are willing to admit. And while safeguarding your family is of the utmost importance, how much is too much?

My parents and grandparents regaled me with stories of playing with metal toys and splashing around in Darby “crick” (hardly the fountains of Lourdes), and an age before safety belts. And what’s more is that they lived through their formative years to tell about it. I look at my grandfather and marvel at this man whose leathery hide has survived The Great Depression, WWII, the turmoil of the Sixties, and everything since. This ninety-year-old out straps those a third of his age in terms of cajónes. Then I wonder if this durability is going to die with the Greatest Generation. If it does we’re really up the creek because we still haven’t learned from their example.

Let’s get a grip my fellow Americans. We can put the phones down, 911 is already inundated with calls. We can put the first aid kits back in the closet and go about our lives. Years from now when your bouncing your grandchild on your knee you can tell him how you were ordering gourmet cheeses on your iPhone when you survived the “big one” of ’11. But for now let’s take F.D.R.’s advice. Forget about the tremor for a bit.

Rock on America.

P.J. D’Annunzio is a local writer whose light-hearted cynicism and ability to rock far surpass his years.  He enjoys jamming, lovely ladies, and getting into (and staying) in trouble. His column, Bad Karma, appears weekly and he can reached at pj@kennetttimes.com

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