OK, just how harmful was preparation anyway?

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As an old platitude teaches, when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.

By now, it seems the Preparers' Official Position is that lemonade is good stuff, and therefore we didn't really start with lemons after all.

From my reading, some of our preparations were smart, some were dumb, and some remain sincerely debatable. And some of this is a matter of degree.

Smart: Paying off credit cards and/or vehicles. Putting some money away for a rainy day (and in the process not being locked in to a job we might want to quit). Stocking bare cupboards. Learning to buy what we know we'll consume in quantity when it's on sale, rather than the previous just-in-time purchasing. In general, the Smart category includes responsible things we always intended to do someday, and y2k provided the motivation.

Dumb: White elephants -- anything we bought that we're highly unlikely ever to need, especially if they were *expensive*. This category also includes unnecessary decisions with which we're unhappy -- like now living out in the sticks with a long commute to anywhere and wishing we were back where we left. And those who abandoned more realistic spouses, or who drained their retirement accounts, were *really* dumb.

Debatable: This is where things get interesting. This is in many cases a matter of degree. An oil lamp and a few days' worth of oil isn't dumb. Twelve oil lamps and a couple of dozen gallons of lamp oil is dumb. A dozen cans of tuna isn't dumb. Five hundred cans of tuna is dumb. Starting a small vegetable garden isn't dumb. Having enough non-hybrid seeds to plant 40 acres is dumb.

Viewed a bit more abstractly, y2k altered the decisions many of us made. Since most of us aren't stupid, there was always at least *some* justification for everything we did. In other words, most of the choices y2k motivated us to make were not bad choices at all. They just weren't necessarily our first choices.

The dividing line between a good solid justification and a self-serving rationalization is extremely hazy. It's simply human nature to want to define whatever you did as "good". You bought 6 months worth of food? *Therefore*, 6 months is about right! Never mind that it's nearly impossible even to conceive of a situation where this might be appropriate. You bought an expensive collection of non-powered hand tools and learned to use them? Well, someday you might just *need* to build a garage or something, and power just *might* be out at the time! You drilled a well in your back yard? You never know when the municipal water supply might become contaminated. You spent big bucks installing a wood stove? Great, it turns out wood heat is much more comfortable than central heat ever was. Isn't it? You bet! You bought a gun? It sure is comforting to know you can defend yourself, and if you ever decide to take up hunting you have a head start. Etc.

Were these wise choices? The urge to define them as such (and NOT to think about how you might have spent the time and money better) is overwhelming. Were you harmed by making them? Of course not! Are you better off for having redirected your resources, perhaps drastically? Damned right you are! This is the Preparers' Official Position.

From here, of course we work backwards. We have all this stuff of (in some sense) marginal utility, therefore it's what we *should* have. Since it's what we should have, our total misjudgment of y2k was a blessing in disguise. Since it was a blessing, we didn't misjudge after all -- we made *informed* decisions!

Well, no. We made mistakes we can live with, or adapt to easily. The choices we made, while not painful at all, were not optimal either. We'll make the best of them. Those of us who can talk ourselves into believing we could not possibly have done better are probably the lucky ones.

And let's face it, one common source of serendipity is that those who talked themselves into the need for major preparations tend to be the same ones who can talk themselves into believing nearly *anything*. If this is harm, it's so diluted as to be nearly indetectible.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), June 27, 2000



I dont really talk about this stuff much, because my decisions were mine and everyone elses decisions were theirs; who am I to judge them. OK, one last time.

I did nothing special for Y2K. Did, I move to a rural area? No, I already live in a rural area. It is a 20 min drive to work. Did I store gasoline or diesel for Y2K? Nothing special, just what I keep for my tractors. Did I buy a generator for Y2K? Nope, I already had one; I need it for chores around the place. Did I install wood heat for Y2K? I have had a wood stove and a fireplace insert for a decade; I also have my own wood lot. Did I drill a well? No way. Did I start a garden? I have been growing stuff for 25 years; I use a lot of non-hybrid varieties because of quality considerations and I never save seeds; these things are mostly segregating populations. No oil lamps; fire hazard. No 500 cans of tuna. Food? Since we raise so much we normally have food through August of the following year. It was that way in 2000. Did I buy guns? Already had guns. After a lot of study, I decided to do nothing to my many computers; Windows, Unix and Mac. Sysman agreed with my decision; no MS patches. They all still work. I even purchased a new G4. How is that for confidence [man what a gig of RAM will do for you]. It goes on.

Now to the question. Did I try to oppose the folks on the Olsite? Not really. You didnt seem to be having much luck. Besides, what did I know. I could verify that all of our infrastructure would be fine [and places where I need to work, like the Northwest]; I could verify nothing about China, Russia and, even more exotic places, like New York. It wouldnt have been responsible to advise people on hearsay. I did advise folks locally.

Just got back from DC and am dead tired. Leave for CA tomorrow. Need sle

-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), June 27, 2000.

Preparation for possible emergencies isn't wrong. I've said over and over tha I have been prepared for years for an earthquake or any other possible problem. I was surprised at how many people didn't have at least a weeks worth of food in their house or flashlights etc. But then I like to save money by buying things in bulk at low prices. I think a what a lot of people did in preperation was not much more than what a lot of other people did normally.

Now as for the extreme preps, where people gave up homes and lifestyles for one they normally would not have, it depends on each individual case.

-- Cherri (sams@brigadoon.com), June 27, 2000.

Z and Cherri:

That's fine, but I'm not addressing those who were comfortable with their lifestyles and saw no reason to change them. I more talking to those who (like myself) did things different *because* of y2k, and how we now go about assessing the relative utility of such differences.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), June 27, 2000.

Ah, Flint, Thank you posing a question, to which I have knowledge (and experience to respond). I prepped, as long as money lasted, every payday. I had Family with small children who had no experience of hardship, from fifty years ago. I prepped food and water, as long as money lasted. Tried to get into the Solar Panels, but money prevention, hindered final action. I did not spend 10K, because I did not have it $ wise. I went with all I could physically perform. I bought seeds for formation, to feed a hungry crowd, I who, kill house plants on a weekly basis. But preparation was assaged, (misp) for a belief. After this I intend to load up Salvation Army, and the City Rescue, with Grains and Grits to feed the unfortunate. My Sister, was once one of them, shall see my concern and love. Shit! This must mean I am still duped because of the language. Love ye, One Another.... Want to see my preparation at Gun Fire? This Country was built on Fire Power. My Story, and I'm Sticking.

-- May Heaven (help@.etall.com), June 27, 2000.

We all make decisions everyday,minute decisions that can potentially affect us in very dramatic ways for the rest of our lives.I doubt that our reasonings or justifications for these decisions are nearly as scrutinized as this worn out old topic.

Is the horse sufficiently pulverized yet?

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), June 27, 2000.

Now I know what people meant when they said that date problems aren't just Y2K. When I opened my Yahoo email site today they tried to download a cookie set to expire on December 31, 1969. Should I prepare for that. LOL.

Sorry to interupt the thread. I just thought it funny.


-- Gregor (Gregor10001@yahoo.com), June 27, 2000.

Well said, Flint. Truly, you and Ken Decker provide a reasonable outlook that is refreshing.

-- WD-40 (wd40@squeak.not), June 27, 2000.


I suppose that depends on how those decisions ended up affecting your life. I admit I've made some incredibly awful decisions (and ignored wiser heads advising me against it). I've scrutinized *those* decisions for many years. You probably have too, if you've ever made serious mistakes.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), June 27, 2000.

Gregor, as Those before you java stated. Many hard times have come, before. I say this for those who follow. Ye will weather the Hardship, as long as you believe.

-- Jeuus (Liked@dancing.orf), June 27, 2000.

Yes, I will echo WD-40's kissing up. It was nice to read some thoughtful comments without having to wade through cpr's rantings and Steve Heller's obsession with himself.

As I have said on other threads, I personally benefited from y2k preparations. It gave me the motivation I needed to pay off a $6000 credit line on my card, and to salt away some emergency cash. It also got me into new hobbies of gardening and target shooting. I probably spent too much initially on my garden, and I bought one shotgun too many, but that was part of the learning curve. We are still eating the BJ's canned food and using cheap gasoline. I have enough wheat, beans and rice in sealed buckets to easily last through hurricane season.

The only regret I have was alarming a few friends needlessly. I got too caught up in the "doom and gloom" even though I never really expected more than a recession. I learned to be a little more skeptical of "software" experts and perhaps to keep my mouth shut. (a lesson that some on this discussion board have not yet learned). I am glad that I stayed away from the solar panals.

-- JoseMiami (caris@prodigy.net), June 27, 2000.

Bold off please.

-- FactFinder (FactFinder@bzn.com), June 27, 2000.

Jose Miami, when will your ass WAKE UP to your fellow suffering I did not dream this, it happened

-- My Story (andI@dticking.toit,com), June 27, 2000.

Flint, what you say is all well and good. However, a few threads back, when I said that I had used my money to retire debt vs. buy things, Andy Ray (who even a charitable person would have to describe as a supercilious asswipe) responded that I was a stupid deluded person who had been "sane" enough to stumble into doing something right.

-- Curious (curious@bout.this), June 27, 2000.

Well said Flint and a good question as well.

One aside regarding overprepping. When it came to the basic preps a lot of people considered family and neighbors who were unconcerned. y2kPro won't like that angle but I know it's true.

-- Carlos (riffraff1@cybertime.net), June 27, 2000.


Very few pay attention to Andy Ray. You shouldn't be one of those


-- DB (Debunker@nomore.xxx), June 27, 2000.


Your post prompted mine. Andy Ray lives in his own little world, of course. The single largest "expense" for us was to retire debt, and we're very glad of this. We've made some boggling contributions to food drives, and we don't mind this a bit. In a sense, we ARE feeding our neighbors. Our preparations were basically complete by the end of 1997 when the outlook was nowhere near as clear as Andy Ray's hindsight now makes it appear, and we used a lot of them up during 1999 as it became increasingly obvious to us that the problem, once fully addressed, was of easily manageable scope.

We're also making the best of decisions we'd not have made otherwise, and the best turns out in most cases to be quite excellent. We're glad we didn't burn any bridges.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), June 27, 2000.


Most definetly,I have made some horrible decisions in my time and when I have I learned from them quite well.Maybe my mistakes weren't life altering enough that I couldn't dust myself off and keep on keepin' on.Yes,I have thought about those mistakes,but only to a point before it was time to concentrate on matters more closely related to the present.

Reflection and thought are one thing,but self flaggelation is quite another.

There DOES come a time to say (for lack of a better word)FUCK IT!!!

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), June 27, 2000.

My preparations were not too harmful, I saw y2k as an insurable event and went for the middle case. Surviving a ten would have been more about luck than preparation I think anyway...

Wondering about what was going to happen proved the most costly part of y2k for me. The physical cost of what I'm not using is only a few hundred dollars. I consider those few hundred dollars as insurance cost.

-- Will (righthere@home.now), June 28, 2000.


Well said !!... there Does Come A Time... I just wish the most strident People wlll take your hint, and just say FUCK IT... Chuck... are you lisrtening?

-- Netghost (ng@no.yr), June 28, 2000.

CPR and Andy are right, preparations are very dangerous. I started eating all of my beans during all meals every day because I was worried that they would go bad and I didn't want to waste them after I spent my life savings of $30 on beans.

Well, after a couple of weeks I became extremely constipated but I could feel all of the gases brewing and churning inside me. One day I was bending over to tie my shoelaces and suddenly the buttplug came loose. The resulting torrent of gases emitted from my rectum shot out at our fireplace and exploded violently.

The explosion blew the chimney off of our house and a little old lady driving down the street in her Dodge Dart was killed on impact by one of the flying bricks. Her family and insurance company sued us for millions so I will be working on a prison chain gang for the rest of my life to pay them off. I wish I would have never prepared for Y2K.

-- Bubba Limbaugh (Rush's @ huge ass. brother), June 28, 2000.

Thank Flint, I've pondered my choices many times. The biggest mistake I made was listening to financial advisors, who it turned out didn't know there asses from holes in the ground. I lost a bundle in the stock market--A HELL of a lot for retired folks. Even worse, my husband had more sense and tried to talk me out of it. We make our stock choices independently, so I didn't listen, and now and then I get a dose of "have some more crow." Gawwd, how could I have been so gawwdd damned dumb to listen to those idiots. Down with FUD!!!

But what I thought was one of our worst and most expensive decisions, has turned out to be a really smart move, which we would never have made except for fear of Y2K. We installed, at great expense, two 750 gallon underground tanks for water storage. My husband bought a hand pump, but also plumbed them into our our outdoor water lines. Last month when the heat was scorching and we were having to water almost every day, these tanks were wonderful. Our well pump wasn't having to run continually; it's closer to the garden; and since the water was captured from run-off from the roof, it has organic matter from leaves and tree blooms. Recently we had a good rain and our tanks are full awaiting the next scorcher.

We've used most of the stuff we really like. My home canned beans and tomatoes are delicious. But I'm sick to death of rice. I given away boxes of noodles, and other stuff we don't care for. And I need to give away the powdered milk, as I don't like using it.

My solar shower hangs on a limb near our garden and heats in the sun. When I'm hot and sweaty from gardening I just strip and have a good rinse, it's great. When I don't use itafter gardening, I open the valve and the birds bathe and spash and enjoy it, and we get a kick out of watching them.

The generator? Who knows? Maybe someday we'll need it.

capn, you're right. I've beat myself purple over my stock fiasco. Enough!!! Folks, I'll never mention it again. What the hell, my wants are few anyway. And besides, it gives my husband a chance to say, "I told you so," which gives him so much satisfaction. He isn't nasty about it, just grins from ear to ear.

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), June 28, 2000.

My marriage of 13 yrs ended due to arguments about the severity of y2k.

Some here have suggested that a breakup was likely, and that problems existed in the relationship already. To them I say No shit, Sherlock. Who here has a perfect marriage?

The truth is if I hadnt listened to people here, I would still be married. No one tried to talk me out of preparing. All i read was how bad it was going to be. I thought I was protecting my famly from starving, my husband didn;t think it was going to be bad. We argued and split. He found someone else more "sane" in his words.

I didn;t know about computers. I lost everything, and its because people lied to me.

-- anonymous (anonymous@for.now), June 28, 2000.

Anonymous, you did not lose everything. You got shuck of self-centered person who could never imagine and prepare for a hardship of any kind. Remember, the agony on the faces of those people from Kovoso? Guess this leaves hurricane and volcano prepardedness plenty stupid also. Perhaps you are a shill, trying to stir up things, but maybe you are a real human, trying to second guess. Some of us knew "Bad things can happen to Good People", and we prepared, as best we could. It has been an oddesy that was written in my Lifes' Book, unique to me. I could not and would not have done it differently.

-- My Story (andi'm@sticking.com), June 28, 2000.

ZzzzZzzzzzzzzZzzzzzz zzzzzZzzzzzzzZzzz zzzzzzzZzzzzz zzzzZzzzzzzzzzzZzzzz

-- andy (2000_fl_oz@prodigy.net), June 30, 2000.

Hi Flint,

By now, it seems the Preparers' Official Position is that lemonade is good stuff, and therefore we didn't really start with lemons after all.


I can sort of identify with this. But not really, as I shall explain.

First, about preparations (er, "Preps"!). Like you, I am surprised and very pleased with some of them. Other preps like better earthquake preparedness here in SoCa, are simply sensible, and overdue. And... other preps are a hoot in their uselessness (two 200-gallon water bags - SCREECH!!! BWAA HAAAA HAA!). Also, as Ken suggested was possible in his "Sturm und Drang" thread, there was for me an element of fascination with the "gear" of self-sufficiency, which is a certain small part of what propelled me into this.

From here, of course we work backwards. We have all this stuff of (in some sense) marginal utility, therefore it's what we *should* have. Since it's what we should have, our total misjudgment of y2k was a blessing in disguise. Since it was a blessing, we didn't misjudge after all -- we made *informed* decisions!.

While some of my acquired knowledge about preps is priceless (as Eve said somewhere), I don't really take this to the next step by saying "that it was all worthwhile." (And I see that where you have taken the Preparers' Official Position, Flint, just by writing this you've heaped a liberal dose of salt on it too. :-) ) More likely, I may just shake my head about the whole thing, just sit back and enjoy "serendipity" the spoils of a thinly-rationalized, hog-wild, massive shopping spree.[grin]

On the flipside, I can at times get this sinking feeling about all the time and energy I spent, and shake my head at that too....

The dividing line between a good solid justification and a self-serving rationalization is extremely hazy. It's simply human nature to want to define whatever you did as "good".

Once again Flint picks up the coconut and rattles it...!

Where self-serving rationalization is concerned, my thing is not the preps I acquired. It's the knowledge "about life" that I acquiredor hope that I acquired. I've noticed that this type of thought is likely to follow immediately upon allowing any suspicions to creep into my consciousness that Y2k was nothing more than a godawful lot of wasted time.:-| The thing I'm most likely to say is "I learned something." [as I've belabored on other threads] "And not about preps." And I actually DO believe that I have, you see. :-)...

In sum anyway, it's not the 5 grand I spent, nor what I spent it on, which I feel the need to justify. That, I can take or leave. It's the time and energy that I spent on Y2k, which I did not plow into other productive things I could have (like keeping up to date with software and hardware knowledge to advance my lagging career, to name just one). AND THE WORRY. Will said, Wondering about what was going to happen proved the most costly part of y2k for me. Well said. That's it in a nutshell....whether I rationalize it, justify it, and genuinely learn from it, or NOT!

Explain to me one thing though.

If this is harm, it's so diluted as to be nearly indetectible. Explain what you meant by this, for people who talked themselves into preps. Meaning that the rationalization has been so fully incorporated into one's world view as to become invisible, and has actually become a pillar to build on ? that is how I took it... but maybe I am just feeling perverse. [grin]

-- Debbie (dbspence@usa.net), July 11, 2000.

I'm proud of myself. I saw a threat to my family and I took action. No apoligies. I didn't freeze when frightened. It doesn't matter that nothing happened. I know how I will react to a threat. My mettle has been tested and I did well. I'm pleased to have been part of the panic. Yes it was a small group of people. And they cared!

-- 2cents (123@456.com), July 12, 2000.

Y2K was really great fun! I wish it had been a huge disaster, but getting ready (foreplay) was almost as good as the finish (climax). I wish Russia would send some nukes over, or we would get a hurricane that covers the entire planet or something. I enjoyed getting all panicky and going nuts at the stores, reading all kinds of survival ideas, watching people get all nervous, getting ready to waste the looney tunes, etc. Even though I knew it was only a longshot that the world would come unglued, it gave me something to look forward to.

-- Doomster (and@loving.it), July 12, 2000.

this is the most sensible thread I've seen on this forum

-- richard (richard.dale@onion.com), July 12, 2000.

richard, was your post meant for doomwhatever or 2 cents? See how the language gets confused?

-- 2 cents (123@456.com), July 13, 2000.

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