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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Things to have by habit

This is Steven Petrick Posting.

One of the things that escapes many of us in this day and age is that we are always just one bad choice, and maybe not one in our own power, away from disaster.

We as humans have spread to many areas where, quite frankly, we do not belong.

By this I mean that we could not survive in these areas but for the fact of five pounds of matter located behind and above our eyes is able to manipulate an opposable thumb. From this we have master fire, make our own claws out of stone, and later various metals, torn the hides off of other (and often tougher) animals to keep our own fragile forms warm in the cold, before we learned to weave plant fibers to accomplish the same thing and . . . well that list goes on.

So you may be out driving in your high tech car, or in a plane or some other conveyance, and find yourself suddenly in the middle of nowhere afoot in the middle of a blizzard. Your shattered means of conveyance did its high tech job and kept you alive during the disaster that put you in this strait, but it will not shelter you now with its cabin torn open to the elements.

Sure, you can reach for the cell phone, but even if you have service in this disaster, that may just mean that you have someone to talk to as you slowly succumb to the elements.

The point to all of this?

Remember that you are fragile (however the human animal is frequently shockingly resilient), and take a little time to make preparations.

This does not have to be an all consuming passion, just a few little things that you may never need are useful to make a habit of sticking in your pockets.

Consider seatbelts. These have enabled many people to survive accidents, but in a very small number of cases what they do is allow you to survive that initial crash, only to drown or be burned alive because the buckle has jammed and you cannot get it to release. That alone should be reason enough to carry a small pocketknife and keep it someplace on your person where you can access it readily. After all, it may not be your own life you save by cutting away that belt, it could be your wife or child whose belt is jammed as the flames lick closer.

And remember that freezing to death scenario? Even if you do not smoke, make it a point to carry a lighter. Maybe even keep it in a plastic baggy. When you are in the middle of nowhere being able to start a fire to keep yourself alive could be all that is between you and death.

This is nothing to be paranoid about, and the odds are you will never ever need this or a number of other small things you might make it a habit to carry around (a pocket knife can include a few other tools that might be useful in a disaster).

That five pounds behind your eyes has a far better chance of keeping you and others with you alive if you just invest a little foresight in having tools for it to work with.