Saturday, March 8, 2008

Doomsday Saturday!

Do you have a $20 in your wallet? Gas in your car? A 72-hour emergency backpack? A six-month emergency savings account? Working smoke detectors? Current passports? Current fake passports? Livestock? Assault weaponry? Ok, then, me neither. Emergency preparedness is a pain in the butt, particularly for the segment of the populace who would really rather be checking the latest celebrity mug shots on line. Yes, I’m one of you. Almost anything is more fun than learning how to preserve string beans, although I am aware that my grandmother thinks this attitude Sadly Shortsighted. Your grandmother does, too.

This is the first post of a feature that will appear every Saturday morning: Doomsday Saturday! Because you're doing all your errands today anyway, and because emergency preparedness is more fun when you do it in little bits instead of huge chunks. All you need to begin is an official Emergency Sharpie, and every week's Doomsday Saturday will take no more than $20 and 20 minutes.

Check your wallet. How much money do you have in your hot little hand? I mean cash, coin of the realm, legal tender. [Me: $61.11. Woohoo! I forgot I had those twenties!] If you don't have a $20 bill, go to your local bank's ATM and get one. Get out your Emergency Sharpie and write, in large letters: "I LUV K-FED! HOTT HOTT HOTT" and sign with your first name. Alternate possibilities include: "DUBYA IS MY HOMIE," for those living in San Francisco or New York City, or "WHAT'S YUR NUMBER BABEE?"

Something that will really make you think twice before giving that bill to the pizza guy.

Now put that money in an envelope and find a bookshelf or something else tall to put it on top of. Tape it there. (If you already have an alternate out-of-sight and out-of-mind storage place, put it there.) All done? Excellent.

Exception: if you have a cash fund of $500 or more on hand in your home, skip this week's Doomsday Saturday.

Why: In case of an emergency requiring evacuation (particularly one tied to weather or natural disasters), you may need to drive away. If phone lines go down, you won't be able to use your ATM, debit or credit cards. This $20 is for gas or other essentials.

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