While much of the following is geared towards us older folks who can no longer remember the day of the week nor find it on the calendar without reading glasses, much of it also applies to young geezers and anyone else trying to get their life and/or their preps more organized.
I wish I were making this all up or just trying to be helpful, but most of these are things that I do to make my day-to-day psychological survival possible by avoiding little frustrations caused from not seeing, or remembering, what this or that thing is, or what’s in the box or bucket, and where the heck did I put that info after I went to all the trouble to figure it out?
Hopefully some of the ideas in this article will help you, inspire you to come up with some of your own, and maybe brighten your day a little at the same time.
Every year I go through a lot of Sharpies, those pointy permanent markers that come in almost as many colors as that big box of crayons you dreamed about as a kid. I used to have a great memory, but then Late Onset Mental Retardation (LOMR) set in a few years back and now I can’t even remember my phone number. Here are some of the ways I put Sharpies to good use while waiting for medical science to find a cure for LOMR and general cognitive decline.
Food Storage Buckets – We wouldn’t dream of actually writing anything on our precious food-storage buckets after they set us back 8 bucks apiece! And certainly not with something permanent like a Sharpie. Being a person who enjoys thinking outside the bucket, I write on mine with Sharpies. The two times since Twinkies were 12¢ a package when I needed to change what was in the bucket, I took a piece of white duct tape and made a new label to cover the Sharpie writing. The buckets look so much more professional with the writing right on the bucket. You can always put that tacky piece of tape over the name of the old contents if you ever change what’s inside. On the other hand, roving hordes have been known to pass up pantries with ugly tape labels in favor of better-organized larders with increased eye appeal, so I’m going to have to rethink this one.
Refrigerator – Like me, you’re probably cleaning the dust bunnies from under the refrigerator every month like the owner’s manual recommends so the cooling coils can work more efficiently. So this is for that friend of yours who isn’t. You know the one I’m talking about. Tell your friend they keep the coils on the bottom now and not on the backside of the fridge like in the olden days. He’ll swear he looked on the back and not seeing any, thought the miracles of modern science had done way with them and that’s why he hadn’t cleaned them. Every time you’re down on your hands and knees in front of the fridge trying to figure out what socket size that is, you usually get it on the third try. That’s excellent because it usually takes me four just to figure out it’s metric, then another three to find the correct one. Instead of torturing your well-traveled geriatrified knees by taking 20 minutes to accomplish the task, write the socket size on the face of the plastic coil protector where the only one to see it will be that mouse the cat keeps missing.
The mouse won’t notice because his English-reading skills are almost as bad as today’s students in the ECLB (every child left behind) teaching programs. Pass this along to your friend so that next month cleaning out the dust bunnies will be much easier and by knowing the socket size from the get-go he, and you, will have fourteen extra minutes of your life each month to do something more useful. Over a three-year period, this will amount to 8.4 hours, giving you enough time to read Patriots for that sixth or seventh time (who’s counting?), although you may forget the drift of the plot by reading it only 14 minutes per month.
le Recipe – You’ve been using the same waffle recipe since the late Cretaceous because it’s the one that’s been handed down in your family ever since Wally Waffle won the Nobel Prize for inventing the iron which immortalized not only his name, but also those boots which are used for extinguishing rapidly-combusting, smoke-belching, overcooked waffles. I realize you have your recipe memorized but just in case you develop LOMR like me, go ahead with your Sharpie and write the recipe right on top of the waffle iron. Once you realize this is the best idea you’ve had in the past three months, aside from that one about never again voting in a presidential election, go ahead and take the leap and write it permanently with that $11 metal engraver you bought on Amazon last month.
Tire Pressure – As soon as we win the lottery, you and I are both going to replace those riding-mower tires which, no matter how much Slime we dump in, keep losing air between mowings. Take your Sharpie and write the tire pressure right on the rim. You can never remember it because the back and front have different pressures. Last time you got it backwards and the back tires ended up with enough pressure to level the chicken coop if they exploded and the front tires were so gooshy the right bead popped off the rim after that sudden hard left turn when a new groundhog popped up to see what the commotion was all about. When writing the tire pressure with your Sharpie, be sure to write it right next to the valve and 180° opposite that for those times when you’re putting the air in from the topside.
You could write the required pressure on your truck rims too even though you’ve been putting 32 psi in all your vehicle tires since you bought that old beater Ranchero in high school in 1967. But if you’re that far gone that you can’t recall the 32 psi, I don’t think the Sharpie will help and you should probably stay off the roads and eat more Brussels sprouts with a turmeric chaser until your temporal lobes get back up to speed.
Since you’re at the mower anyway writing the tire pressure on the rims, put the cap back on your Sharpie and take a seat at the steering wheel. You need the rest anyway after all that hard work. While you’re sitting there, try not to ponder the state of the union over the next 12 months. We’re on a rollercoaster, just reaching the pinnacle of that first hill before Joe Biden takes over and sends the country down the tubes quicker than that roller coaster will reach the bottom of the hill with everyone screaming their heads off and barfing their guts out. It’s just an analogy but the screaming our heads off and barfing our guts out will be for real. Once you recover from that vision and you’re rested-up from writing the air pressure on the rims, on the portion of the mower hood just under the steering wheel, write the things you always forget to do before you start mowing. This will save you from having to restart the mower five times which is really hard on the battery. Write on five separate lines, “Gas Up, Check Oil, Water Bottle, Tire Pressure, Ear Muffs.” Then go cut the lawn. It’s really looking haggard and the neighbors are starting to talk.
Forehead “I” – This one is in jest: It really comes in handy as you get older and is a real time and face saver. When people ask me, generally with a higher volume and coarser tone than ordinary, things like, “WHY did you do that? WHAT were you thinking?!” I point to the “I” on my forehead and reply, “See that? It stands for ‘Idiot,’ that’s why.” You know you’re not really an idiot because you lost your whetstone three and a half years ago so you really are the sharpest knife in the drawer. Anyway, with the “I” on your forehead, people will cut you come slack, quit yelling so much, and your quality of life will improve immensely. You’ll probably want to start with a dry-erase marker first instead of going straight for the Sharpie just to be sure you really do have LOMR and not just having a bad day/week/month/year/decade/life.
If your health insurance doesn’t cover LOMR testing, your spouse will be more than happy to diagnose you. They probably already have.
Once you’re certain you’re hopelessly in the beginning stages of LOMR, go ahead with the Sharpie. I recommend a light-brown colored Sharpie with the “I” written in cursive or some stylized font so that strangers and mere acquaintances will think it’s just a birthmark. If they find out what the “I” stands for at the same time they discover you’re a prepper, they’ll no doubt be whispering to their friends behind your back, “This explains SO much…”
(To be continued tomorrow, in Part 2.)