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Ren and Stimpy and the 8.1 Magnitude Earthquake


I'm a child of the 90's. I love the 90's. (Did you sing that to the tune of that one VH1 tv show? I hope so.)

As a child of the 90's, I can tell you that I was all about "Ren and Stimpy." It was crude, it was edgy, it was silly, and it made me crack up. Not sure why my parents let us watch the show, it was riddled with gross out humor and a weird emphasis on butts, and the characters came off rather deranged and kind of dumb. I think my parents thought my older brother was mature enough to handle the material and that I was not, but I begged my way into being allowed to partake in watching. Classic Nickelodeon. Orange gooey amoeba-looking logo and crazy graphics galore. Nick Nick Nick N-Nick Nick Nick. Nickelodeon.

I mean, POWDEREDDDDD TOASTTTTT MANNNNNN! And also, "Log. It's better than bad. It's good."

To this day, when I see a log, I quietly think to myself, "Log. It's better than bad. It's good." It's so poetic.

On August 8, 1993, I sat upon my couch, all set up with a pouch of gushers, a glass of high pulp orange juice, and cartoons on the TV. Hanging with my boys Ren and Stimpy. This is prime childhood. Ren, exasperated as always, "You ee-dee-ot!" Stimpy, causing more harm than he means. I was in maximum chill mode.

Something super riveting must have been going on in the show, because I was fully absorbed. I faintly heard my name. I slowly came to realize that someone was calling me, trying to get my attention, drawing me away from the naked-looking rat dog and the red jellybean-shaped cat on the television.

It was my mom. She was shouting my name. She was PANICKED. She was yelling at me to come. I popped another gusher in my mouth, and I was like, "Mom, dude, I'm watching cartoons right now. What's going on?"

That's when I realized that everything around me was shaking. I couldn't stand up without losing my balance. We were on the 9th floor of a condominium. I was a wobbly girl in a wobbly world.

I ran as best as I could toward the rest of my family. We went down nine flights of stairs, all shaky and terrified. You can get down nine flights of stairs way faster than you think. Especially if you're in the midst of an earthquake. The fear of being crushed alive is really, super motivating.

We reached open ground, huddled together with our neighbors, not feeling safe, because we were still in the proximity of a swaying tower. Nothing to do but wait it out.

When the earthquake finally subsided, we slowly made our way back upstairs to our unit. We found out later that it had been a magnitude 8.1 earthquake. That's what they call "violent" on the Mercalli Intensity Scale. Luckily, there were no deaths reported as a result of this earthquake, but it definitely rocked our island. Tectonic plates be trippin' ... into each other ... and causing seismic waves and stuff.

And you can guess what I did when I got back upstairs. I helped put things back upright. Absolutely. I tidied up what needed tidying. And then I plopped my butt back onto the couch, gathered the gushers that had fallen out of the pouch from off the floor, dusted the carpet fibers off of them, and let myself get caught up in the magic of Ren and Stimpson J. Cat, these characters who had transfixed me so much that I literally did not feel the biggest earthquake of my life.

I was so shook, and I didn't even know it. You guys, be aware of your surroundings and the earth beneath you. If your island is shook, you need to stay calm. Have a safety plan. And for goodness sake, don't be so shook by cartoons that you don't know that you're shook in real life.


thank you, love you, xoxo ✨

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