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If you read too many of those supermarket newspapers hanging in front of you at the checkout counter, the ones with the sensational pictures; and if you also watch too many mind-numbing cable television shows, then you’ve probably already learned that the world as we know it, the world many of us have become pretty fond of, could soon come unglued. It could happen before you finish reading this. It may have already happened – in which case I wrote all this 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 and even expected them to show up eventually. Why should the 'glue' that holds civilization together be any better than the glue that holds anything else - like kitchen chairs and bed-side tables - together?
Not to belabor the point but anyone who has ever glued anything knows that eventually - no matter how carefully you read the complete set of complex directions offered in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, German and sometimes even a form of English, and no matter how well you wipe all surfaces with a clean, dry cloth, and no matter how expertly you apply the glue and all the rest of it - ALL GLUE will eventually fail and whatever you glued will eventually become 'unglued.'
Even Crazy Glue. John? I hear you ask. Yes, as 'crazy' as it sounds, even that wild and whacky stuff known as Crazy Glue will eventually come 'unglued.'
Anyway, the reason some supermarket tabloids are saying scary things about the world coming apart is because of something they like to call ‘circulation.’ They want to sell newspapers, and writing scary stories about the world coming unglued is one of the best ideas 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 called Maine's Emergency Readiness Task Force, or something like that. I didn't even know that Maine has something called a Readiness Task Force - and I bet you didn't know about it, either. Makes you wonder what else the state has 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 saying scary things 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 1900 rather than 2000. The problem was made a tad worse - said the geeks - by the fact that computer experts don't even know for sure where the numb computers that might fail were located.
I never worried much about Y2K back then 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 about to happen.
But according to disaster experts there are giant large meteors that might hit the earth, earthquakes ready to quake, mega storms ready to blow and volcanoes around the world that are just itching to explode and one of them could blow at any minute. Are you going to tell me you're prepared if one one of these unfortunate events occurs?
Just to be different, there are other experts - who have no chance of ever getting a job with a supermarket tabloid - say such dire predictions are wrong and the earth's future looks 'just fine.'
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 boxes of batteries and portable radios and at least two weeks supply of nonperishable food.
But first things first. I'll start assembling my emergency supplies for when the world comes unglued as soon as I finish re-glueing the legs on this kitchen chair.
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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