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If you read those supermarket tabloids with the sensational pictures and articles, or if you watch some of those mind-numbing cable television shows, you probably already know that the world as we know it, the very world some of us have become fond of, could soon come unglued. That's right, unglued. It could happen before you finish reading this column. It may have already happened - in which case I wrote this brilliant piece for nothing.
People like me who've had more experience with glue than with supermarket tabloids aren't the least bit surprised about these dire predictions. I even expected it would happen eventually. Why should the glue that holds civilization together be any better than the glue that holds anything else - like kitchen chairs - together?
Not to belabor the point, but anyone who has ever glued anything knows that eventually, no matter how carefully you read the complex directions offered in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, German and sometimes even English, and no matter how well you wipe all surfaces with a clean, dry cloth, and no matter how painstakingly you apply the glue, ALL GLUE will eventually stop working and whatever you glued will become unglued.
I hear you ask, even Crazy Glue? Yes, even Crazy Glue.
Anyway, the reason some supermarket tabloids are saying all kinds of scary things about the world coming apart is because of something called “circulation.” They want to sell newspapers and writing scary stories about the world coming unglued is the best idea they've come up with so far.
I got to thinking about all this the other day when I heard a public service announcement on the radio telling me that my family and I should be making plans for a disaster. The cheery message was from something like Maine's Emergency Readiness Task Force. I'm not surprised if you don't know that Maine has something called a Readiness Task Force; I didn't know about it, either, and I thought I was well informed. Kinda makes you wonder what else our state has up there in Augusta that we have no knowledge of, doesn't it?
All this getting ready for something awful that's bound to happen first became popular around the end of the last century when computer geeks started talking scary about Y2K - a scare that had to do with the possibility that some computers or computerized devices would fail or malfunction on New Years Day when they misinterpreted the two-digit date "00" as meaning 1900 rather than 2000. The problem was made a tad worse, said the geeks, by the fact that computer experts didn't even know for sure which numb computers might fail.
I never worried much about Y2K because I didn't know enough about computers to be worried. You could take all the knowledge I have of computers, roll that knowledge into a ball and you'd be able to fit that knowledge neatly into the navel of a flea, and still have enough room left over in that flea's navel for six caraway seeds and a human resources director's heart. That's why after Y2K came and went without a disaster to speak of, it was hard for me to believe that other disasters were right around the corner.
The people on Maine's Emergency Task Force aren't so sure and so they continue to remind us through broadcast messages that we should be prepared by stockpiling bottles of water, and batteries and portable radios and such.
I'll get going on my emergency supplies as soon as I finish re-gluing the legs on our kitchen chairs.
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly
throughout New England. John’s e-mail address is mainestoryteller@yahoo.com.
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