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Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.

Richard Hooker, 1593, as misquoted by Dr Samuel Johnson, the "harmless drudge," in the Preface to his Dictionary of the English Language, 1755


Psychobabble 101: transference. Did the collapse of her town, and the very ground on which she stood, lead Annie to bulldoze her relationship? Or to see it for the shaky structure of unstated assumptions that it was? Or to examine the foundations and by staring begin to undermine them, like a subatomic physicist or the baby Supergirl testing her laser eyes?

Was it the quake that make her look at her crazy dissociated society, or government, or world? Question her values (again) or re-evaluate the compromises of ordinary existence? Yearn for children to carry her genes along or insist once more that this world was no place for kids? Call for peace or declare a truce with her self-appointed administrators?

Was the quake a wake-up call?

Or was it just a way of letting the San Francisco Giants drag out a World Series they were destined to lose? The first proponent of this theory was Baseball's Master of the Malaprop, Ron Fairley, the then KNBR radio commentator (along with the incomparable Hank Greenwald, himself more temperate if not more lovely than a summer's day at Candlestick), at roughly 5:10 p.m., six minutes after the first big temblor and about twenty before the third game of the Series was due to start. Ordered to fill in while the producers found out what the hell was going on, dear Ron began by telling his expectant audience that, after two disappointing defeats, "Manager Roger Craig decided to shake up his team a little bit." The trouble was, no one knew if he was joking.

When Mao called for a constant revolution, a periodic rattling of the cages of the senior government officials, what was wrong with that idea? It's fairly obvious that it was a mistake (it didn't work for the Giants, either), but why?

Is it just as bad to blow things up deliberately as to sit rigid as a brick wall when you need to sway? Is it in fact the same thing?

The great turtle on which the earth depends does not care. The turtle sways as it sleeps and the people forget at their peril, and remember at the cost of constant fear. No win, no lose, no point in keeping score. But perhaps it's useful to know that you're in the game. Maybe it helps to keep your balance.

What help? What balance? What you?

What next?