Yesterday I did the best I could, as a layman who understands this stuff not nearly as well as many of my readers, to persuade you to think — and act — now to prepare for the Year 2000.

Think of it as a hurricane with just a 20% chance of hitting. But potentially a very big hurricane. What would you do? Just take your chances that it will veer off into the ocean?

At its worst (which I am not predicting), imagine how you’d cope without electricity for a few weeks. This would also mean no elevators, no computers, no TV, possibly no gasoline (it’s pumped), no purified water, no ATMs.

You might want:

  1. A lot of canned food and a manual can opener.
  2. A lot of bottled water and canned or bottled beverages.
  3. An electric generator and some very carefully and safely-stored gasoline.
  4. A lot of matches and candles and Sterno and maybe Duraflame logs, depending on where you live.
  5. Some hand-crank-powered radio/flashlights (and solar-powered radios).
  6. A solar water heater.
  7. A lot of toiletries, paper goods, and, especially, any of the medications you normally take or might need. (Check with your doctor or pharmacist for expiration dates, and keep the appropriate ones refrigerated to extend their shelf life.)
  8. A good bike and a pump to inflate the tires.
  9. Some cash, and perhaps a bag or three of silver dimes (dimes minted before 1965, or thereabouts, when dimes were made of silver).
  10. Printed records of all your important computer files.

I’ve always dreamed of an exercise bike that would power a generator and recharge a big battery. I’ve even written letters over the years suggesting it to some of the mail-order firms. Has anyone seen such a thing? You’d eat your canned food, pedal off the calories, recharge the batteries, and get that computer up and running after all. (And what about mini-versions for the hamster?)

The time to begin listing this stuff, and acquiring it and finding a cool place to store it, is now. A year from now, let alone December 1999, some of it could be harder to come by.

Let’s assume there’s an 80% chance the Year 2000 hurricane will pass us by entirely. Not even a blip or a recession. Still, it makes sense to be prepared. Especially inasmuch as this hurricane, if it hit, would be global. You couldn’t necessarily expect help to come flooding in from the neighboring county, because the neighboring county could well be in the same boat.



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