October 17, 2009

Hatchet Job

My brother has a saying, A M F YO YO, it means Adios, My Friends, You’re On Your Own. When the Big Bomb drops, when it all ends, when it all turns to nuclear ash, my family will truly will be on our own.

The mumbling has already begun about the next Big Date -- December 21, 2012. In case you didn’t catch wind of this through the hype of the new movie “2012” the Mayan calendar supposedly ends on that date, meaning something catastrophic for our world. I am not sure of the significance of the Mayan calendar ending -- my 2009 kittens playing with yarn calendar from the credit union ends December 31, this year. I’m not worried about that.

Catastrophic, eh? As if we aren’t in enough trouble now with wars and rumors of wars, Taliban resurgence, earthquakes, tsunamis, melting ice shelves, a nuclear Iran, China and Russia plotting to remove the dollar as standard currency, American unemployment nearing ten percent, AIDS and other diseases making a continued deadly swath through Africa, shortages of water, banks teetering on the edge, violence in our cities, And my personal favorite: millions upon millions of people with no health insurance, and millions more who cannot afford what diminishing benefits they have.

So, 12/21/12, bring it on, baby.

We’ve been through this apocalyptic hysteria twice in recent memory. In our part of the county, on December 3, 1990, the New Madrid earthquake fault was supposed to erupt. A scientist named Iben Browning predicted a vast earthquake all along the fault line from central Illinois through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas. For weeks, this potential disaster occupied the news cycle (OJ had not driven his white SUV to Brentwood yet, and Monica Lewinski was still sippin' sodas at the Sweet Shoppe.)

The hospital where I worked beefed up its disaster preparedness plan, which is always a good thing. On that day, we all wore business casual clothes to work. Didn’t want to be in pumps and hose if the Big One came.

December 3 came and went. Nothing happened, not a rumble. from the famous fault in New Madrid, MO.

Then we partied like it was 1999. By partying, I mean society acted like a bunch of paranoid nut jobs over the next impending disaster.

What was it? Too many digits for our computers. When computer code was first written, nobody had the foresight to think beyond 1999. Years were categorized as two-digit numbers in the digital world. What did this mean for organizations that had old computers, the government, our banks, Taco Bell?

My organization had a task force to look at the Y2K problem from all angles. Personally I behaved like a paranoid nut case myself and read too many apocalyptic articles in the paper. I made a Y2K kit for our family which had: powdered milk, a case of canned tuna, a case of Campbell’s tomato soup, a Kerosene lantern and oil and extra wicks, a manual can opener, waterproof matches (I actually went to the survival store), and a hatchet. Oh, and lots of kitty litter.

Now let’s go over these items. Have you ever tasted powdered milk? It really will have to be The End for me to drink this stuff. Now the canned tuna and the tomato soup, fine. That’s what I normally eat for lunch. The Kerosene lantern was probably extremely dangerous, and there’s a good chance Husband or I would have burned down the house. Thankfully I bought extra wicks so we could have a really big accidental fire.

I guess my thinking with the manual can opener was that I could open the tuna and tomato soup. The waterproof matches? Not sure on that one either. Guess I read it somewhere, maybe The Lutheran Guide to Armageddon for Housewives.

Now on to the hatchet My beautiful, leather-encased sharp as can be hatchet. Was Husband going to turn into some Shakespeare-quoting Paul Bunyan and chop down trees for wood for his family? Was I going to even touch the damn thing? I’m afraid of my own shadow.

Let’s review. Would you want to be a small space with people who cannot find their way out of a paper bag (with directions), a nine-year-old who doesn’t like tuna or tomato soup, two cats, and a hatchet (held onto tightly by a crazy peri- menopausal nut case?) I think not.

Adios, my friends, we’re on our own. Quoth the raven.