Not an earthquake where anyone dies, not one that causes the cataclysmic collapse of the California and U.S. economies. We need a metaphysical shock to the system, an earthquake that bears witness to our symptoms so that we may provide the cure.

I took a class at USC on earthquakes from Professor James Dolan, so I know the basics. I know that there are a myriad of essentially invisible, unpredictable blind thrust faults beneath Los Angeles and that the “Big Bend” of the right-lateral strike-slip San Andreas Fault poses a constant, albeit more distant, threat.

I know that the true cost of a quake could be thousands upon thousands of deaths and billions of dollars of damage throughout Southern California. I know that we are overdue for “the Big One.” But I also know that we are overdue for a lot of other things as well.

I wish for an earthquake whose shaking would tear down every parking meter on Hollywood Boulevard. I wish that all the cable wires would get scrambled so we could finally have some conversations at the dinner table.

I wish that empty freeways would collapse and strand every gas-guzzling car in its garage and pull every pair of running shoes from the closet. I wish that every celebrity stranded in the aftermath at the Four Seasons would have to actually drink their Evian water rather than wash their hair in it.

Imagine a city scarred with deep trenches by a massive seismic event, now divided by geography rather than racial and religious lines. How inconvenient if neighborhood gangs couldn’t get to each other to brawl, how horrible that a busted gas main forced West Side glam to get their groceries in South Side slum.

I don’t mind telling you that I’d lose a hell of a lot of sleep over those poor Malibu residents that now have to share beachfront status with the new multimillionaires on Jefferson and Crenshaw as the whole edge of the city cracks and floats out to sea.

This isn’t some Hand-of-God, Gomorrah-redux, socialist-upheaval thing. Consider it a reality check for a city that’s made a living on the surreality of Hollywood and the bottomless irreality of California Dreamin’.

Los Angeles is so precariously perched on the abyss of its own making that it’s quite marvelous that the sun bothers to show up at all. Every day here is truly a gift, but it’s gilded, ornamental chaff on the very best of days.

The city burned when 12 people said three police officers were innocent of beating one black man on the ground. What chaos would ensue with four million harried, displaced and distraught citizens and no functioning law enforcement or judicial system?

Los Angeles needs a big earthquake. It needs a bloodless calamity fantasy like a gut-check.

Every Los Angelino, when being fully honest with themselves, has at least once wished while bumper-banging on the 405 that every single other God-awful person on this STUPID ASININE road would just disappear. And it’s on those hot, horrible days and those beautiful, cool nights where a few stars poke through and nothing could go wrong in the world that we must bow our Evian-cooled heads to offer a bit of blue-state atheistic prayer that we live in a city with four million people, in a county with maybe 20 million, that sits at the edge of a maw of the earth that could at any time make each and every one of us disappear from that life we never even thought to appreciate.