Don't come knocking on my door
Posted: May 22, 2010
1:00 am Eastern
On Thursday I made a severe error in judgment. I logged onto the Drudge Report, where these headlines jumped out at me:
Stocks drop most in a year on economic reports, European debt crisis
Roubini: Stocks to tumble another 20%, cash the safest place
Fed official: Europe's crisis poses risks to USA
Confusion over regulation moves trigger sell-offs
These headlines got me worried because they coincide with a couple of entries I recently posted on my blog: "Predictions for the rest of 2010," and "More cheery news." I'll pause while you go read those items.
Now that you're back, can you understand why I find myself nervous about the future?
Don't be caught unprepared! Order Gen. Russel Honoré's book "Survival: How a Culture of Preparedness Can Save You and Your Family from Disasters"
When I'm nervous, I tend to can food. In the last two days I've canned 33 pints of mixed vegetables and 14 quarts of chicken breasts.
Because, you see, I expect the bleep to hit the fan within a year, possibly less. Mother hen that I am, I want to gather my chicks close and protect them. The frustrating thing is, those of us with concerns about the economy can't help but wonder how much of it is orchestrated. Whatever the cause, things appear to be spiraling out of control. So I'm doing the only thing I can do, and that's to prepare for hard times.
Of course, most people aren't preparing. History is full of people who ignored warning signs and put their heads in the sand (and their rumps in the air). These are the folks who derive great amusement at us who prepare, smugly calling us conspiracy nuts or lunatics. Then they'll calmly inform us of their contingency plans: "Well, we'll just come live with you if things get tough."
These are the Grasshoppers of society, and I've written about them before. These are the people who still have their jobs and homes, but seem incapable or unwilling to look beyond the shallow concerns of everyday life to read the headlines or see the storm clouds gathering on the horizon.
This attitude makes Ants very, very nervous.
One woman posted on my blog: "I live on 1 acre in town, and we have 48 relatives within walking distance of our house. If only four people show up to be fed and cared for, my six-month supply is cut in half to three months. The more people who show up for help … well, just do the division! I'm trying to build my stock and some nights I don't sleep well just thinking about how quickly it could be depleted. This is not fear talking; this is wrapping my brain around reality."
This woman has tried warning her friends and family, but when she saw them "taking cruises and trips to Florida," she knew the message wasn't getting through.
Grasshoppers, every one of them. Grasshoppers are not people who are unemployed or facing eviction or dealing with medical bills. Grasshoppers are people who have jobs and are perfectly capable of preparing, but who deny that hard times could ever happen.
Whenever I address this subject in a column, there's always someone who "jokingly" announces that he'll just come live with us if the bleep hits the fan. My standard reply is, "Stand in line. There are dozens ahead of you." The honest truth of the matter is, "Why is it MY responsibility to feed YOU when you've had plenty of warning that times are going to be tough, and you've just been too stupid or stubborn to listen?"
And the trouble is, the woman with 48 relatives shares a major concern with other Ants: We love our Grasshoppers to pieces. They are our friends and family. So the question arises – how do we decide who comes to live with us and share our supplies? How many Grasshoppers can one Ant support?