Van E. Harl


By now if you have read more than a couple of my columns you will know I can be a bit gloomy when it comes to the future. In fact, some people who know me too well will head the other way on the street when they see me coming, for fear I will demand to know how much non-perishable food and ammo they have stored up. I admit it, the Boy Scouts got me started on being prepared, and an adult lifetime of military and law enforcement work has reinforced my opinion that the sky could fall in at any moment. Just the other night, my daughter started to hand me a glass of milk when she took it back and asked me if it was half full or half empty. I told her if I could store it without refrigeration it was half full, otherwise it was half empty. As good as that half glass of milk is if leaving it out in the open will cause it to sour, then it is only partly useful to me. So she proceeded to drink my glass of milk and told me now I would not have to worry about it.

The predictions for 2010 are not all that good. I just read an article about a former Israeli agent, Juval Aviv, who predicted the London subway bombing on the Bill O’Reilly show a week before it happening. Aviv also gave information to the US government a month prior to 9/11 that the attack would happen. Now Aviv is saying that he expects multiple small, but very disruptive, attacks in the US in the next few months. By the way, I understand the US has at least wised-up and hired this man to work for us.

Okay, so now you understand why some people go the other way when they see me coming. During Christmas I try to call old friends and family.

I have been working very hard on my kid sister for years to get her ready for the big one. My older sister is planning of going to my folks’ house if bad things happen. I am in doubt about what she will do when my folks are gone. But the younger sister does pay attention and has acquired some of the basics for survival in an urban setting, in the event of a disaster, manmade or otherwise. I called the kid sister during Christmas. Of course, I could not help myself, and I segued right into emergency preparedness with my sis. She told me she did not want to hear it; she only wanted to hear perky things for Christmas. So I said, “Have you bought any perky boxes of ammunition lately?” I then started telling her about how the firearms industry makes handguns and some rifle stocks in pink just for women. Smith and Wesson even have a line of handguns called Lady Smith. They have pink grips on them. Now is that perky or what?

I was telling the sister about this new item I found called a waterBob and it is a $20, 100-gallon plastic container that fits in your bathtub to meet your emergency water needs. WaterBob in itself is not perky, but it will allow you to flush your toilet and wash yourself. Now that will go a long way to improve your disaster perky-ness. I know a new, thousand-dollar, flat screen TV will help brighten your life, or so you think. But that same $1000 will buy a lot of emergency readiness items that will make the difference between total misery and a little hard time adjusted perky-ness.

So as you look over that cash of gift cards from big-box stores you got this year for Christmas, you have to ask yourself, do I feel lucky? Do I buy a new I-pod or do I get a new mega first aid kit and some over-the-counter medications I may need in time of upheaval? Perky does have different levels of perky-ness depending on your situation. A warm sleeping bag could be a waste compared to a new cell phone, until you pulled the bag from your vehicle trunk one night when you car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Your cell phone is out of range for getting help, but a warm night’s sleep in your vehicle’s back seat can make for a perky morning person. Come on, let’s go out and have a great perky day but keep your powder dry.