Earthquake Hits Sock Capital Of World. World Yawns.
News agencies (and my husband) are reporting that a 4.9 earthquake delicately nibbled at the toes of northeast Alabama just before four a.m. local time. Initial reports from news agencies contained the phrase "seismic event," prompting many sleepy Alabama residents to call 911 to inform the local police "There weren't no size-mic event - would you please tell my neighbor to quit playing with those damn explosives he stole from work last week? If he don't stop I'm gonna shoot his redneck ass."
According to Misty, the messages scrolling beneath this morning's Today Show included the simple phrase "Do Not Call 911."
Comforting, isn't it?
Those of you who think I'm kidding should check this news report from the Knoxville News-Sentinel:
Huntsville police answered 115 calls within the first minutes of the tremor, including one from a person who thought an intruder was breaking into the house, The Huntsville Times reported.
"I think ever[y]body in Crossville called," said police dispatcher Al Clemons. "I didn't keep count but we have 1,400 people here and I think every one called."
CNN proved yet again that it was incapable of publishing the name of any small Southern town unless it was flattened by a F5, citing the epicenter of the quake as Fort Payne, Alabama. A check of a more local news site indicates the epicenter was actually Mentone, Alabama. However, it's easy to understand how news agencies could get these two illustrious cities mixed up in news reports. Let's have a breakdown:
Elevation: 850-900 feet above sea level
Nickname: "Sock Capital of the World"
Slogan: "Alabama CD free with purchase of socks!"
Population: 467 (down seven people since 1990 - seriously)
Elevation: 1700-1800 feet above sea level
Nickname: "Alabama's Only Ski Resort"
Slogan: "Oh God. Send snow. Please."
Now true, Fort Payne is the county seat for (oh hell what IS the name of that county I drive through so quickly on the way to Atlanta) County, but as anyone who has ever been here can tell you, Mentone is not just a lap dog for Fort Payne, oh no. Fort Payne may have the county governmental offices, but by God, if the residents of Mentone ever wanted to secede from the county, they could. All they'd have to do would be to barricade the one road that leads up into Mentone and they'd have their own little fiefdom at the top of the mountain. Fort Payne could keep all their museums and honoraria for local-band-made-good Alabama. Mentone would keep … whatever it was that they had.
Oh. Yeah. An earthquake, and a ski resort that doesn't get any snow.
I wonder if they'll replace their city signs with new ones that say "Epicenter of the Great Alabama Earthquake of 2003." That's a little long for a sign, though, especially on those high and twisty roads Mentone specializes in. (Better suited for the flat straight roads of Fort Payne.) Perhaps they could just tack on hand-written signs that say "We've Got Your Earthquake Right Here!"
Every little town has to have something to be proud of. While I'm fairly sure this isn't what Mentone should latch onto, the fact that Fort Payne has latched onto "Sock Capital of the World" tells me that there's not much good for the latching-on around that side of Alabama.
Me, I'm just disappointed that I slept through it. Jeff said the bed shook, and the house (and its contents) rattled, but that might just have been my snoring. There is, however, one bonus: for once, Alabama has had a natural event that did not create vertically-challenged trailer parks with half-awake Southerners standing out front, insisting for the camera that "it sounded just like a freight train."
That's scheduled for next week. Spring in Alabama is always interesting. Stay tuned.
(Gareth gets credit for the entry title and reminding me to post on this subject in the first place.)