Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Stories of survival such as this small collection have fascinated me for almost as long as I've been able to read. I remember a specific book of stories from second grade.

I've long prepared mentally for all sorts of disasters - finding the gap in a pi-cross-sectioned concrete garage form if an earthquake hits Boston, not going gently in a terrorist situation, finding the exit in a plane crash (yes, I do read the cards and orient myself to all the exits), swimming down an avalanche, getting lost in the mountains, preventing hypothermia, surviving if shipwrecked or cast away.

Much of it is the romance of imagining myself in danger, but I have gotten lost in the mountains. Since it was in familiar territory and there was no immediate danger, I quelled my rising fear, took off my cotton sweatshirt to keep it dry in case I had to spend the night out, and sat down to think. Panic, says Time, can be useful. The trick is not to panic when that would be counterproductive.

Preparation also makes it easier to help others caught in a disaster. Unlike Rick Rescorla, I'm no hero, but I am ready enough to help that I'll never be classified with Kitty Genovese's neighbors.


Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds good. Playing out these mental scenarios is ingenious! Do you have a series of instructions to help with mental exercises? It can help others get prepared for a natural disaster or terrorist attack? - I look forward to blogs.

lovable liberal said...

Really it's more like Walter Mitty.