When the Tuesday night earthquake hit, I was among many Maine reporters a small handful of miles away from its Hollis epicenter covering a police standoff with an armed man near the Dayton-Lyman border. Because the suspect in that case allegedly set fire to a home on the property where the standoff was taking place, everyone’s eyes shot to the treeline in the direction of that property when the ground began rumbling.
We weren’t close enough to see the building or the fire from where we were, and the consensus assumption was that something had exploded — a propane tank, perhaps — at the scene.
Workers and customers poured out from the Goodwins Mills General Store, in the parking lot of which all the media trucks were stationed, to share in the scuttlebutt of what we soon learned was a quake. And outside of one woman from a neighboring home, who seemed legitimately upset about the relatively brief “natural disaster,” it didn’t take too terribly long for the jokes to start rolling.
In the aftermath, combing through social media as 21st century journalists are wont to do, I came to the realization that just about everyone in the Northeastern United States came up with more-or-less the same joke.
And yes, we’ve all seen the Waterboro selectmen’s meeting video.
OK. We get it. It really didn’t do that much damage. Those follow-up tremors you felt were from people hammering on their smartphones and laptops in a feverish attempt to post a picture of a tipped over lawn chair before it got stale.