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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

East Coast Earthquake

I didn't know they got earthquakes up in the Virginia/DC area, and judging by how everyone's reacting, neither did they.

Being a native Californian from the Bay Area, this is basically the perfect day for me to act like a complete, stuck-up asshole to all the locals who are sitting on the cusp of an all-out, mouth-frothing panic attack.
"Oh. Did you feel something?"
"I'll be honest with you: I've slept through bigger earthquakes than this one."
"Yeah. It's no big deal for me. I'm from California, where we aren't a bunch of fucking pussies."
Stuff like that.
I'm having a terrific day.

Oh! I totally remember something that happened to me back when I was eight years old. It was October of '89 and Super Mario Bros 2 had just come out a few months ago, so you can guess where I was.

What happened on that day was one of those ridiculous, against-the-odds coincidences you only see once in a lifetime, if ever.

And it had to do with Super Mario Bros 2.

I was alone in the living room, sitting about three feet away from the television and making my way through the first level of SMB2, totally oblivious of my surroundings.

I might've been playing as Luigi, but that part I don't remember too well.
Luigi was definitely my favorite character, though.

Have you ever played Super Mario Bros 2? They've got POW blocks, something carried over from the original Mario Bros single-screen game. When you hit one of these blocks the screen shakes and all the enemies get knocked around.

In SMB2 you can pull POW blocks out of the ground like radishes and chuck them with all the wrath of a Norse god, which is what I did.

And when that block hit the ground and when that screen shook, that was exactly (exactly!) when the earthquake of '89 started.

The following two-three seconds were extremely disorienting for me because I honestly couldn't figure out what the fuck was going on. I mean, obviously it was an earthquake, but wasn't the earthquake just in the video game? My head-space, devoted almost entirely to absorbing an NES game, felt as if two trains had collided together.

And this wasn't a sissy earthquake, either. This wasn't like some t-rex shaking your cup of water. This was the quake of '89! Foundations came apart. Buildings fell down. People died. Shit hit the fan.

And I know it's a coincidence, and I know that, statistically, something like this has to happen eventually (I did play a LOT of SMB2, so maybe the odds weren't that ridiculous), but the irrational side of me totally believes that I caused the quake of '89 with a POW block.

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