What If?

What caused me to consider writing this article today was because I was in a long conversation with one of the residents of Mason City this afternoon. He is retired and worked for the railroad for thirty some years in different positions. He mentioned he was glad that he retired when he did because the company was becoming more and more computerized and he believed he didn’t have the skills to learn something so drastically new. He said during his many years on the job, nearly everything was done with pen and paper. I as well mentioned my very early years working in an accounting department and experienced the evolution of what many would consider borderline primitive to state-of-the-art at the time. I winked at the gentleman today and said, “Fear not, the human mind is still ahead of the computers.” When I step back in time to a part of my accounting job a hundred years ago, I found myself over the months being able to add large sums of numbers listed on journals faster than any of the other workers could do it with a full keyboard adding machine. The mind worked faster than the “grind” of a machine. The more we become dependent on computers, the more I encourage people to at least know what to do if something should happen in our community or even our country. Do any of you have alternative heating and light sources? Do any of you know how to store fruits and vegetables as well as salt away meats? Can anyone “make do” for at least a week or possibly a month with enough provisions to physically survive without going to the grocery store or restaurant? A survivalist I am not. I prefer not to cut wood for wood burning stoves, not go out and hand pump water from a well head, and for sure not want to run to an outhouse in the middle of winter. I am finding that more and more of the young have absolutely no clue about how to make do if something would happen with the “grid”. I believe all schools should have mini courses each year for students to at least get a glimpse of what alternative measures can be taken to carry on with life. During the days of the flood of 2008, I did my paying forward good deed when our city’s water supply was shut off. Fortunately I had access to a well that provided fresh drinking water to whomever needed it. So, I guess we should not be fearful of the days ahead but at least be a bit knowledgeable when the “what if” does happen.

Joe Chodur

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