Years ago, my beloved friend, CW, and I were sitting down to dinner.
We’d met not long before and were still very much in the ‘getting to know each other’ phase of our relationship.
Things were going very well. We were both quite fond of one another. Conversation was light, entertaining and quite enjoyable. We shared many things in common and were very much ‘on the same page’ when it came to most subjects.
One of the things we had in common was a love for Chinese food and this dinner featured several of our favourite dishes.
We were enjoying dessert. I began to tell her a story from my misspent youth. I looked down at my plate, marshaling my thoughts. When I looked up, judge my surprise when I saw my beloved CW sporting an orange smile.
(Not CW herself… but a reasonable facsimile of the Orange Smile)
She caught me in mid-sentence… which I suspect was her intention all along. I just sort of stared at her as she sat there, eyes twinkling, with her large orange peel grin.
For a moment or two, I didn’t know what to make of this turn of events. While CW had a wonderful sense of humour and could joke and kid around with the best of them, I had to confess that this little piece of schtick caught me unawares.
I burst out laughing. I couldn’t help myself. It was just so ridiculous… so hilariously stupid. How can you NOT love an orange smile, especially one sprung upon you so deftly as this one was upon me.
(Still not CW herself but this one is well executed. Note the coquettish tilt to the head. Excellent!)
CW later confessed that the expression on my face when I first looked up caused her a bit of concern. Apparently, rather than registering disbelief, the old mug had a ‘this girl’s a loonie’ aspect to it. Fortunately, CW is a bit of a loonie but in the nicest possible way.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever told her this but, to me, Chinese food is now inexorably linked with the image of that orange smile … so much so that I have been known to chuckle in the middle of having a spring roll or hot and sour soup.
When asked “what’s so flippin’ funny?” I can only shrug and shake my head.
The other day, I received a series of text messages from my son, Exhibit Two, asking some questions about preparing for The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse.
Me being a ‘Noted Zombie Expert’ (in addition to his dear old Daddio), it was only natural that he come to me.
I put this question to him… a question I ask most people who come to me with ‘Zombie Preparedness 101’ type questions…
Let’s say there is some kind of disaster in your area… a toxic spill or some nasty disease or chemicals get loose in the vicinity… and everyone is confined to their homes for one week, unable to leave their houses for 7 days. Could you survive?
Oh, and by the way… on the third day, the electricity goes out.
(Exhibit Two blending in with the Zombie Apocalypse background)
How would you manage? Take yourself through the process. Imagine the situation and what you would need.
First and foremost…always remember… you need about one gallon (approximately four litres) of fresh water per person per day. A person can go weeks without food… but no drinkable water at all? You’re looking at about three days… four at the most.
Some other simple things leap to mind. Non-perishable food items, preferably food that has a long or even an almost indefinite expiry period. This, by the way, is why Twinkies and Strawberry Pop-Tarts are the Official Snacks of The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse!
Think in terms of food that does not require any cooking (i.e. food that is ‘ready to eat’).
Here’s another food preservation tip… Honey is the only food that never goes bad. It may turn hard over time… but it never spoils.
Other good stuff to have on hand. Candles, batteries. You’re probably going to want to know what the heck is going on, so a hand-crank radio is a good idea.
You’re going to want to stock up the medicine cabinet with a lot of the basics and not-so-basics in case someone gets sick during the week-long shut down. A good first aid kit is another good idea. And not one of those chintzy cheap $15 jobs people stuff into their car trunks and never see again. I mean a proper fully stocked first aid kit with everything you will need for most eventualities from a broken or fractured bone to a seriously deep cut.
Everyone should now how to administer First Aid. Up here in The Great White North, the St. Johns Ambulance organization is a wonderful source of information. Everyone in the home old enough to do so should take basic CPR and other First Aid courses through St. John Ambulance or some other such service.
(THIS is the kind of cut I’m talking about!)
For the young ones, a good way to prepare them for The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse (or any other disaster or emergency situation) is to sign them up for the Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts or Girl Guides, or any one of the many military cadet programs. Up here in Canada, we always sea Air Cadets and Sea Cadets… teenagers who are being trained not only in military subjects but also, naturally, basic survival skills.
Also, over the course of one week, people in our fast-paced society are, even in a disaster, going to be really bored really fast. I suggest having some games on hand to while away the time. But I personally would avoid Monopoly. People have been murdered over Monopoly. Avoid it at all costs is my recommendation.
As I suggested to Exhibit Two, a nice place to start when one is preparing for The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse (or any other natural or man-made disaster) is the Centres for Disease Control & Prevention, especially their Preparedness 101 page for The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse.
One final word of caution. Depending on the nature of the disaster, it may be days or even weeks before authorities can bring things into line again. In a serious ongoing disaster situation, zombie or otherwise, the most dangerous risk to your personal safety, especially in the first few days, will most likely come from other humans. People panicking, looting, rioting or just being desperate and losing control. Just think of your neighbours and their kids, hungry and dying of thirst… and they know you have food and water. Only the thinnest veneer of civilization separates us from chaos and anarchy. Those who remember Hurricane Katrina and the Louisiana Superdome will know what I am talking about.
It’s pretty much common knowledge that when a guy gets sick, he turns into a big, kvetchy, insufferable sucky-baby.
Why is this?
Well, I have a theory that I developed this past week when I myself was down with a cold.
It started as a cough last Wednesday, then developed into a pretty darn annoying cough by Thursday. By Friday, it was a bad cough with sniffles. By Friday night, I was quite sick. I went to bed early and woke up Saturday morning feeling awful. This continued through the weekend with me spending a good chunk of it either in bed or sitting in my trusty leather wing back chair feeling miserable. Fortunately, I live alone so no one was subjected to my beasty society except me.
Suffice it to say that I had a lot of time to ponder this profound question. Why are guys such sucks when they’re sick?
We’re generally OK with putting up with the big stuff. Death, divorce, loss of employment, etc. We take in stride, to a large extent. But give us the flu or even a common cold and we’re quite pathetic. The whining, the whimpering, the kicked-puppy look. It’s quite sad, really.
I think it goes something like this…
Women are used to physical discomfort. Periods, pregnancy, morning sickness, swelling, child birth, bloating, water weight, cramps… the whole nine yards of being female. Guys, on the other hand, don’t have to go through any of that.
They way I try to explain it to women is as follows: Try to picture in your mind your best day of the month. The one day where you have no aches or cramps or swelling or anything. The one day of the month where you feel absolutely fantastic. Got that firmly in your mind? Good. Now imagine having that day every day for the rest of your life. THAT’S what it’s like being a guy. You feel great all the time! So when guys get sick, it seems like the end of the world because it is such a foreign feeling to us.
I try to keep things in perspective. It’s just a cold or the flu or whatever this thing is that’s making me feel so horrible. At least I can afford medicine and have a warm, dry place to live and a bed where I can lie down while I cough all night. On Friday afternoon, I made a big pot of chicken soup (thank G-d for Jewish penicillin!) and I have an entire library from which to choose what to read.
But the most sobering reality check came just after Sabbath when I turned on the computer and learned that about 150 rockets had been launched so far over the weekend from Gaza into southern Israel. Almost 300 in all over the weekend. My daughter, Exhibit One, lives in the seaside city of Ashdod, well within rocket range of Gaza.
Nothing like a nice dose of the real world to put one’s petty problems into perspective.