SALT LAKE CITY — There I was, sitting at home in the family room, when for the first time in my 27 years in Utah the earth rocked in a way that rivaled what I experienced during nearly a decade of living in Los Angeles.
As a sports radio host for The Zone Sports Network, I was on the air detailing the slew of events involving the NFL — Tom Brady leaving New England for Tampa Bay, Philip Rivers to the Colts, Teddy Bridgewater to Carolina, etc.
Each one qualifies as major sports news on any day of the year, capable of leading the news cycle. Not in Utah on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
My daily morning update at 7:09 a.m. was rudely interrupted by the nasty sound — any with Los Angeles roots can relate — of the housing shaking. It takes no more than two seconds to figure out what is happening.
Here in Sandy, my original thought misguidedly turned to wind. It must have been an outrageous wind gust, I figured. After all, this doesn’t happen in this sleepy suburb.
For almost 30 years, I’ve heard about the possibility of a major earthquake along the Wasatch Front. Nothing but hot air, I scoffed internally, believing all those things were contained to the whacky world of California.
But, sure enough, my adopted hometown was shaking. All of a sudden, I was back in L.A., petrified as ever. As the shaking continued, having been in several earthquakes, my thought turned to deity. Please, God, make it stop.
But as it continues, the only thing stopping is my breathing. An earthquake as it occurs literally is breathtaking.
Being live on the radio, I immediately turned to the obvious and uttered that we were having an earthquake. From there, the power on my remote equipment went out, knocking me off the air in the process.
“Are we having an earthquake?” my wife asked, emerging from the bedroom.
Also living in Los Angeles during the early years of our marriage, she knew full well that this was, indeed, another earth rattling.
“The world is coming to an end,” she said, with me barely questioning the audacity of the her statement.
Normally, as I’ve done with David James for the last 18 years, I would be in the studio. In this case, the studio is on the fifth floor of Vivint Smart Home Arena in downtown Salt Lake City.
But, as you know, these are not normal times.
Related to the coronavirus, I have been doing the shows remotely from my living room. The point, obviously, is to practice the social distancing to limit contact between us.
On this day, with DJ needing time off, I was doing the show solo. Soon after the initial shaking, we got knocked off the air and nobody was doing the show. More than one hour later, as I write this, the arena still has no power and we are off the air. Who cares, right?
In these cases, replete with the numerous aftershocks, safety is what matters the most. Alive and well takes priority, everything else can be replaced.
For hundreds of thousands living along the Wasatch Front, this was likely their first experience with an earthquake. And it will resonate for the rest of their lives.
Exactly like it did with me.
Sometime in 1986, while living about 20 miles south of Los Angeles in the harbor community of San Pedro, my wife and I endured our first earthquake. It hit early on a Sunday morning, with both of us in bed sleeping.
As the bed began to bounce, my wife called out to me to stop shaking the mattress. Rustled from a sound sleep, I was clueless to the situation.
But then I saw a potted plant hanging on a hook from the ceiling swaying from right to left. A second or two later, I assessed the situation.
It was an earthquake. And we were scared witless.
Just like you were this morning.