Watch the Weather

            Survival Sally poked her head into the room, her blonde curls bouncing off her shoulder.


            “Sam, it looks like it’s clouding up awfully fast in the West. Are they calling for any storms tonight?”


            “Not that I know of.”


            “Well, it looks pretty dark all of a sudden.”  She pulled back, then popped back in.  “Oh, don’t forget to offer John those malted milk balls on the counter over there.  I know how much he likes them.”


            “Sure thing, Honey Love.” Sam replied as Sally disappeared to tend to the steaks on the grill.  “She’s a real peach.”


            I didn’t say anything, but while Sam brought over the malted milk balls, I was thinking how he really lucked out when he latched on to Sally.  She’s definitely a blonde bombshell, but she’s brainy.  No dumb blonde here.  She reminds me a little of—


            “you know,” Sam said, handing me the malt balls.  “Sally brings up something that’s relevant for your blog.”


            “Oh, what’s that.”  Do you know how hard it is to talk and pop a malt ball at the same time?


            “The weather.  Natural disasters and such.  People need to be prepared.  You’ve heard all the talk about global warming.”


            “Yeah, but that’s just a lot of hot air, isn’t it? Pun intended.”  I said with my tongue glorying in malted chocolate.


            “Climate change is real, regardless of the cause or what the raging debaters say about it, and those changes have definite consequences.  I’ll give you some examples,” Sam said as he reached for a malted milk ball for himself.


            He continued after a couple seconds.  “A tornado could wipe a neighborhood or town off the map, just like what happened to Greensburg, Kansas, this past spring.  Or an ice or snow storm could immobilize a large area, like those that struck large parts of the country just this past winter.  Or drought could be sapping everything it encompasses, as in the West and Southeast in recent years.  They’re living with drought right now, every day.  Ask Californians about the devastation brought on by wildfires.  Ask residents of New Orleans and vicinity about what it meant to live through Hurricane Katrina and what they might do differently if it should happen again.”


            “That’s a lot to think about,” I said.


            “But there’s more.  It seems we’re often hearing about cyclones and massive flooding in Bangladesh.  Remember the earthquake and tsunami that inundated parts of Southeast Asia a couple years back?  Could something of similar magnitude happen here?  Who knows when California might experience “The Big One,” or when the New Madrid fault might break loose in the middle of the country.”  He stopped to sip his glass of ginger ale.


            “All these things you’re talking about have been in the news,” I said.  “They’ve all been big stories.”


            “That’s right.  It’s certainly not as if people don’t know that these things can happen.  But let’s go a step further.  What do you know about HAARP, chemtrails, or deliberate weather modification?”


            I stopped with a malted milk ball halfway to my mouth.  “I sure haven’t heard anything about those things in the news.”.


            “Do you wonder why that is?  Who’s holding back and why?”


            “You mean there are things going on to affect the weather that we don’t know about?  Can thos things you mentioned really be happening?”


            “You bet they can, and they are,” Sam said.  “Look it up on sometime as a start.  You might want to mention his site on your blog.”  He took another sip of ginger ale.  “As a practical matter, you should direct your blog readers to places where they can buy survival gear and survival supplies so they can buy what they need to prepare.”


            “Well, where should somebody start?  How do they know what to do or buy?” I asked.


            “I hear Quake Kare, Inc. has several checklists to help people start planning.  Other survival gear and survival supplies companies no doubt have them, too.  I’d say it’s a good idea to have a NOAA weather radio on hand.  It can sound alarms when there’s dangerous weather in the offing.”  He got up and walked across the room.  “In fact, I’m going to turn on our weather radio for a few minutes and see if there are any storms in tonight’s forecast so we can let Sally know.”


That Nasty Term

            While Survival Sam was out in the kitchen a couple minutes helping Survival Sally with some little chore she’d asked him to do, I munched more peanuts, sipped ginger ale, and thought.


            “Sam, I’m stumped,” I said when he strolled back into the living room, wiping his hands on his pants.


            “Stumped about what?”


            “That nasty term,” I said.


            “The only nasty term I know of is the semester I took trigonometry years ago in school.”


            I laughed.  “No, I mean the word ‘survivalist’ or anything that has to do with survival.  I’m afraid when people read my blog, they’ll mentally see images of a bearded, wild-eyed hermit living in Montana, with gold stashed in jars in his yard.”


            “Let’s think about that for a minute.  Ask yourself where such an image came from.  What was the purpose of whoever or whatever planted such an image in our minds?  Might it have been to vilify any sort of nonconformity?  After all, isn’t it much better to stick close to what is presumably normal? 


            “Good question.  But what is normal anyway these days?”  I asked.


            “I’m reminded of a laxative ad on TV years ago that said, ‘Normal is what’s normal for you.’”


            “Oh, good grief, Sam!”


            “Let me come at this another way.  What if I said my Aunt Barbara is a cancer survivor?  That puts a new spin on surviving and survival, doesn’t it?  We look at someone like Aunt Barbara as someone special.  She and others like her have endured a great deal.  They’ve no doubt learned many of the hard lessons  of life.  Even better, to say they’ve survived cancer means there’s hope—the hope they’ll continue living.”


            “Yeah, you’re right.”


            “To some extent we think the same of someone who wears a T-shirt emblazoned with words like, ‘I survived the blizzard of ’07.’” 


            “I think there should be an award for surviving family reunions,” I sneered. 


             “I know what you mean,” he chuckled, “but you get the point.  We think favorably of someone who has somehow survived some real or perceived difficulty.”


            “That’s true.”


            “Now, survival doesn’t sound so bad at all, does it?”


            “Not when you put it that way,” I said.


            “Don’t let anyone buffalo you with propagandistic language and images.  Survival is all about living through something, or outliving the situation that threatens you.  All you have to do is just think about things a little differently.  That’s what you want your blog readers to do, isn’t it?”


            “Exactly,” I replied.


            “Don’t be spooked by the term ‘survivalist’ or the concept of survival.  Every one of your readers is either going through difficulties now, or they one day will, and you’re there to help them think things through and prepare to face whatever life dishes out.”


            “Life can dish out some pretty tough stuff,” I said.  “What if some cynic comes along and says none of us gets out of this world alive?”


            “I doubt if many people like that will be reading your blog anyway.  You have a better audience.”

What’s In A Name?

            We were sitting in Survival Sam’s living room munching on peanuts, while his lovely wife, Survival Sally, was grilling steaks for supper.  We were brainstorming about how I should start a blog about survival.


            “How do I get past the notion that survival makes people think of images of a wild-eyed hermit living in a cabin in the hills with gold buried in a nearby cave?” I asked.


            Then Sam did a strange thing.  He got up and went to his bookshelves and pulled down a children’s dictionary.


            “What’s that for?” I asked, cracking another peanut shell.


            “Well,” he said, flipping through the pages, “how about defining words related to what you’re doing, and we’ll keep things real simple this way.”


            “Here we go…Destiny is a fate that has been decided or determined ahead of time.”  He looked up from reading.  “You know, I believe in what the Puritans called Providence.  Nothing happens merely by coincidence.  It’s the destiny of you and your readers to meet on”


            “Now, as for the survival part…” he said as he flipped more pages, “survival means to live through, to remain alive, to outlive.”  He put the dictionary on the coffee table.  “Live through what?  All kinds of adversities.  Outlive whom?  Those who aren’t as well prepared as your blog readers will be one day.  You know this already, but in a nutshell we live in a very unfriendly world, and you and I need to be prepared.”


            “Sounds great, Sam.  I wish I could think of stuff like that.  May I use it?”