A Backup Plan…Just in Case

Tomorrow…a risky bet. Take no chances. Prepare

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Look, it’s a fact…you won’t need something until you need it. Then you don’t have it. That’s the way things work. When we don’t need something, we have it. Sounds like a screwy way to live, right? It is.

I’m sitting here strumming this keyboard like a mad man while watching it rain outside. No, watching it storm.  The wind blows, the rain pours, the creek, or the ocean in our case, rises and beats upon our home.

Now, island homes are built on sand, not rocks. They’re prone to collapse, warns the Voice from Galilee. The warning didn’t include sandbags, only circumspection on the foundation. We took our chances.

The thought of imminent loss is mildly troubling, but today it doesn’t compare to the urgent grumbling in my stomach. Time to eat. I check the cupboard. Frighteningly thin. Well, not totally. Bush’s Barbeque Beans hides out next to a can of asparagus, not the best combo to ward off starvation, and starvation is no respecter of persons.

This reminds me of my fisherman father who was never unprepared for contingencies. Fishermen cover their bases. His tackle box doubled as a starving man’s cache of pork and beans, potted meat, Vienna sausages and Spam. Against such vittles there is no possibility of starving. But haute cuisine it ain’t.

Hunger notwithstanding, it seems we’re obsessed with devising fallback plans for every contingency. Must we have two or more of everything? Well, yes, if toilet tissue is in short supply. Hygiene trumps hunger, but only in certain instances. Small inconveniences speak loudly; great ones are silent.

Lately our obsessions are running wild with imagination that the supply chain will collapse and there’ll be a run on essentials. What’s stoking the fires of this obsession? And who alerted us to these supply-chain malfunctions, anyway? Conspiracy theories abound.

Some are claiming that the Teamsters are to blame. They’re demanding reparations to compensate for the disappearance of Jimmy years ago. Others blame it on a hair-brained scheme concocted by sore losers who seek retribution by embarrassing The Whisperer, the poor wimp who wanders incoherently the halls of Congress fixated on Franklin, Lyndon, and Brandon.

Still others claim it’s a Chinese shakedown to hold the Fed hostage by demanding additional collateral for the damage inflation has done to their vault of past-due T bills. Whatever. Private truckers are the next billionaire class. Get in early.

Lately a deep-throated fellow is on the radio hawking survival supplies and emergency preparedness gear and everything else necessary for backup when the supply chain completely shuts down. I take note of the MRE’s, ‘meals ready to eat,’ complete with miniature metal heaters for warming. Fear can empty a wallet almost as fast as a woman on a shopping spree.

Of course, there’s need for backup supplies of a host of things, things like reading glasses. Wisdom advises keeping a minimum stash of a dozen of the cheap, drug-store variety. And toothbrushes. Keep several. Fingers coated with Crest won’t do the job on spinach.

Shirts. Shirts define the man. Keep several new ones in the drawer. When you hear, “Cool shirt. Wasn’t it popular back in the 70’s?” it’s too late. Your reputation is tarnished. Shoes, too, but that’s another subject altogether. Women have that role perfected.

But hunger is today’s motivator. Not that you’d want to follow my lead, but here are some of the staple items I keep in multiple quantities:

canned everything, especially peaches and pears,

a year’s supply of coffee,

peanut butter, jelly,

yogurt and berries,

Mi Del cookies, York peppermint patties and Reese’s Buttercups (must-have’s),

cheese sticks, almonds and potato chips.

Our cupboard is an open house. Even so, my last resort supplies never mysteriously disappear. Preserved prunes and sardines are perpetually safe from pilfering. Only camels have worse breath than sardine eaters. There’s more, but you have your own preferences.

Are you thinking, hey, this is the ramblings of an old man, mired in the rut of routine and consumed with anxiety about tomorrow? You’d be wrong. Just a lazy old man thinking better safe than sorry.

A voice comes from the kitchen, “I’m hungry, and there’s nothing in here to eat.”

I consider answering, “For some,” but I’m not into sharing today.

“I’m going to the store.”

I smile, thinking about my backup plan, for just a time as this. It hides beneath the berries in the freezer:

Here’s to the continuing success of your own backup supply chain, just in case.


Bud Hearn

November 8, 2021