Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A crush of helpful information

I'm just back from San Diego. Plenty of observations. Lots of ins and outs, lots of what-have-yous. But the one that was most striking was the realization that I was in Earthquake Country. I came to this realization when the hotel where I was staying put me on the fifth floor of the tower section of the hotel.

Opening the "Guest Services Directory", ostensibly to find out if the place had a business center (it didn't, from what I could ascertain), I was greeted by a page promising "Helpful Earthquake Suggestions". Now maybe it's because I've spent most of my life in the midwest and the northeast, but the first Helpful Earthquake Suggestion just baffled me:

I'll agree that the prospect of an earthquake might cause me to retreat into my shell, but my big fear would be that the ground would shake, and I'd start thinking of the world's oldest living mollusk, the Ocean Quahog, and then I'd start puzzling over whether it's pronounced QUAY-hog, or COE-hog, and then I'd remember that I once adopted a quahog at the National Zoo in Washington with a girl on whom I had an enormous crush, and by that point the room's ironing board would have an enormous crush on my head and that would have been that.

It also got me thinking about why a hotel with a thousand rooms, but one in which I seemed to be the only guest, would have put me in the middle room in the middle floor of their tower section. Perhaps they decided my massive 150-pound frame needed to be in the middle to properly balance the structure in the event that an earthquake struck. And as I surmised, the middle room of a floor is the best place to be if you're a clam. That, or the Pacific Ocean.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I pronounce it caw-hog, but I'm from Boston and we're known to mangle pronounciations. I've actually never come across a quahog except around Boston, do they exist elsewhere? Well, I guess there must be at least one at the National Zoo. Does anyone really say quay-hog?

Mitch Teich said...

Well, of course I'm still not sure about the pronunciation, but as I recall, the quahog is the Official State Mollusk (or something) of Rhode Island. I'll grant you that's not far from Boston. Also, I seem to remember this same girl on whom I had a crush ran across a scratch game from the Rhode Island Lottery called "Quahogs for Cash", so she bought a couple of tickets, which netted us $10. What she was doing in Rhode Island and what we did with the ten bucks remains a mystery for the ages.