On Oct. 29, 2012, just 18 minutes before the start of WWE's Monday Night RAW, the lights went out in East Brunswick, New Jersey.
The "Garden State" coastline was making its last stand against Hurricane Sandy while I, like many other East Coast denizens, assumed the role of collateral damage in a war against mother nature.
In 39 years of existence, the longest I've ever been asked to subsist without power is 48 hours, thanks to a woman scorned (her name was Irene). News outlets and town criers, naturally, filled my ears with doomsday scenarios while peddling foreboding phrases like "Act of God."
While the paint hasn't peeled and the chrome still shines, there are plenty of miles on this Hulkster's tires. Life experience is a lump sum payment, directly deposited in times of fight or flight. So what if I don't have power? I studied for this exam.
And if patience is to be my shield, then sensibility will be my sword.
That's one of many reasons I opted against trading in one month's salary for a portable generator, a noisy and high-maintenance tourniquet with a shelf life directly proportionate to the size of my gas can. Rafael Reyes, a New Brunswick senior who lived eight minutes from my house, died of carbon monoxide poisoning after using his indoors.
That's not all.
Deepak Singh, a mere shouting distance from my front door, chuckled when I declined use of his spare generator, in what I must imagine was the same way Noah laughed when his neighbor passed up a seat in the Ark when the rain began to fall.
Good ol' DPS was out of gas by Tuesday night.
Those are the kinds of results you can expect when your sucklings tether their Xbox 360 to a Briggs & Stratton, instead of plugging in a refrigerator or portable heater. Sure, he managed a trek to the nearest gas station after 20 minutes of pounding the pavement, but it was boarded up and roped off.
Welcome to the digital age.
Hurricane Sandy brought life as we, and probably (whoo-whoo-whoo) you know it, to a halt. I couldn't leave the house because there was nowhere to go. Streets were cordoned off by fallen trees and severed power lines. Lauren Abraham, 23, thought she could simply maneuver around them, minutes before she was killed by way of electrocution.
And then there was the darkness.
Some of you Northerners may be familiar with a night void of light, but growing up in the Tri-State area, optically scarred by years of an artificial glow, will leave you deficient in your understanding of what true darkness really is. Even the moon, our last beacon of natural light, slept under Sandy's blanket for days.
There was nothing to do but sit on the couch and wait.
Sound easy? Try it sometime. Turn off your television, shut down the computer and lock up your cell phone. See how many days you can last. Then, try to do it with a spouse and nine-year-old daughter, who depend on you to get them through any and all hardships.
Piece of cake.
In hindsight, it really was. Because after we played our 642nd game of UNO, which came after running "charades" into the proverbial ground, I looked around in a fit of desperation and blurted out, "I wonder what happened between Ryback and CM Punk last Monday night on RAW."
My daughter, a self-professed WWE "mark," lit up like the Times Square Christmas tree. That's because the young lass dreams of one day becoming a professional wrestler, and Daddy is an expert on what a life inside the squared circle has to offer.
Except I'm not.
That's okay, because as most of the other dads out there will attest, the role of patriarch grants you an honorary doctorate in well, just about everything. It's kind of like having Tank load the [insert program here] for any and all questions asked.
And in my house, nobody falls the first time.
Hurricane Sandy left us without power -- or mobility -- for six days. We ate food from a can and drank water from a bottle. We shared a bed to stay warm at night, but more importantly, shared our love for pro wrestling to keep the demons at bay.
Both real and imagined.
Talking shop, upon reflection, was as much as an escape for me as it was for my girl. Lying in the dark, enveloped in silence, I would ape promos from superstars past to help drown out the sounds of wolf packs breaking into nearby cars. I even called her teddy bear an "egg-suckin' dawg full of whiskey," earning a kick from my wife and a laugh from my tot.
Yesterday was the first full day we had electricity, and we ended it the same way we started it the week before, hitched to the sofa while counting down the final minutes before the start of RAW. And I paid attention, too, because we're supposed to get a Nor'easter tomorrow that could once again leave us in the dark.
We'll be ready.