Mother Nature has been flexing her muscles of late, most notably with Hurricane Sandy in the eastern U.S. threatening to wipe out New York (the Yankees fail to make the World Series and now this!) and here on the wet coast: not one, but two earthquakes up in the Haida Gwaii near Prince Rupert.
These shakers have produced the usual outpouring of warnings about the "Big One," the mother of all earthquakes, that is bound to hit the Lower Mainland sooner or later - hopefully before Harper sells the entire country to the Chinese and we have all to learn Mandarin and do tai chi during breaks at the bicycle factory.
Which would seem to indicate that there is no better time for Yours Truly's top 10 things you should have in your earthquake kit:
1. A battery-powered radio is all well and good, but hey, how about a battery-powered TV so you don't miss all your shows, plus updates on the devastation and whether or not your favourite pub has been affected: "Is that the Shake and Shingle floating down the Fraser?"
2. A gas-powered generator would be handy so you could make your smoothie in the morning and brew a latte, but barring that, how about a stationery bike rigged to produce electric power for all your important appliances such as the computer and the microwave?
Good for staying in shape, as well, and giving the kids something to do when they cry boredom.
3. Cans of vegetables and fruit, sure, but that can get awfully dull over the course of three or four days. How about some snacks - crackers, cheese, pepperoni sticks, devilled eggs?
4. And beer. Water does get a little boring after a while. That means lots of ice in the freezer and an earthquake cooler, which can also hold some of the snacks. They can't expect us to watch the sports without a brew and some nachos.
Pedal faster, kids.
5. It could get lonely wherever you are, be it in the crawl space or under the bed, so you may consider buying a puppy if you don't already have a dog, or if you're really lonely, one of those life-size rubber dolls.
You might also put in some hand lotion: it can get pretty dry down there in the basement.
6. If you have the family with you and the kids get tired of riding the bike while you watch TV, tie a rope around their waist and send them out to check on the damage or to see if the local paper is there with the mail.
7. It can get a bit tense in an enclosed space, and if you find the wife complaining too much about the "mess" and the TV and your general lack of initiative during the 'quake, you may want to take along that bottle of sleeping pills from the medicine cabinet and slip a couple into her tea.
8. Your collection of Playboy and Penthouse, just in case you have trouble blowing up the rubber doll. For the articles, of course.
9. You may want some pepper spray on hand, in case local wildlife approaches looking for food, and also if the sleeping pills in No. 7 don't do the trick.
10. A copy of this newspaper to display in your photos of the quake for the TIMES Travellers collection.
Names will be drawn and winners will receive a deluxe, professionally-prepared, earthquake kit, courtesy of Maple Ridge Search & Rescue, for the next "Big One."
Writer's Note: Please don't think that I am in any way downplaying the possibility of a major earthquake here in the Lower Mainland.
I have already moved a small television and several cases of beer into the crawl space.
Having said that, I prefer to take the position that it's never going to happen.
Besides, the world is going to end Dec. 12.