This week’s earthquake in Chino Hills (a suburb of Los Angeles) reminds me of a scene from the movie Groundhog Day (Ramis, 1993). In the movie, Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) goes to bed each night on February 2 only to find that he wakes up on February 2 again. After an initial period of hedonism, Phil falls into a depression, but finds that suicide doesn’t release him from the cycle. Finally he confides in his coworker Rita:
PHIL: I am a god.
RITA: You’re God?
PHIL: I’m a god. I’m not the God. I don’t think.
RITA: Because you survived a car wreck?
PHIL: I didn’t just survive a wreck. I wasn’t just blown up yesterday. I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned.
RITA: Oh, really?
PHIL: Every morning I wake up without a scratch on me, not a dent in the fender: I am an immortal.
RITA: Why are you telling me this?
PHIL: Because I want you to believe in me.
RITA: You’re not a god. Believe me. This is twelve years of Catholic school talking.
So why does an earthquake remind me of this? Because I missed it. I moved to Los Angeles six months after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and I moved away one month before the 2008 Chino Hills earthquake. The whole time I lived in L.A., we never had any significant quakes. I felt a couple of brief wobbles, but I never really got to experience a real shaker. It’s kinda sad, really. Maybe I’m some sort of good luck charm. Maybe I’m a god like Phil Connors.
I wonder whether the tornadoes would stop if I moved to Kansas or whether the hurricanes would stop if I moved to Florida. As we learned from Spider-Man: “With great power comes great responsibility.” What should I do with my new-found superpower? I am Calm Man! No earthquake may shake me!