(Continued from Part 1.)
Vitamins and Drugs – Remember the good old days when a bottle of vitamins which held 200 capsules was good for 200 doses? Those days are long gone and the low-integrity makers of gummy vitamins now label the bottle with, “Contains 165 with 15 freebies! 2,000 I.U. per serving.” They know your antiquated brain and eyes aren’t working any better than communism did so they’re certain they can take advantage of you knowing that you left your reading glasses on the dashboard before walking into the store to buy vitamins. Therefore, all you’re going see is the large “Contains 165” and miss all the nonsense in the ultrafine print about “per serving.” The print is so small the only thing that could read it would be a literate yeast cell fluent in English. And that would be with his reading glasses on. You won’t even notice it for three weeks so when you finally do, call their 800 number to complain about their predatory marketing practices, then take your Sharpie and write “2/Day” in very large letters on the bottle on at least two sides.
Before hanging up, tell them you’d feel much better about their company if they sent you a coupon for a free bottle of vitamins to help you forget about their unsavory marketing tactics as well as to help you remember to take two per serving. Then remember to take your vitamins. On days you forget, go look in the mirror to be sure the “I” on your forehead hasn’t washed off in the shower. Now that I’m past the dry-erase stage, I have to redo mine weekly while I’m waiting for Sharpie’s “tattoo formulation” to be released.
Are you tired of trying to read the small print on that bottle of pills in the medicine cabinet that you never use but are saving for an emergency? Even though you pick them up and look at them weekly while standing there bored brushing your teeth, you still never remember what they’re for and have to squint at the label to remind yourself. Sharpies love to be of service when they can help you write “PAIN” on the top of one and “Kidney Stones” on the top of the other. Now you can read them even while flossing and don’t have a free hand to pick them up for the umpteenth time. Sharpie will also work for the medications which you take daily and the Sharpiefied cap can be transferred to a new bottle. By transferring it to each new refill you won’t have to keep going to the trouble of prying that top part off the child-proof cap so you can actually get it open when you don’t have a five-year old handy to do it for you.
Food Storage and Other Preps – No prepper worth his freeze-dried stroganoff would think of putting those buckets of rice, gallon jugs of oil, or #10 cans of textured vegetable protein into the storage room without writing the date on top. Not only will that help you calculate usage for planning future prepping quantities, but also keep your stuff rotated since you can’t read that fine print they use on those use-by dates even with your new reading glasses or that literate yeast cell that reads your vitamin labels for you. Dates will also help calculate at what point your beans have turned to stone and can be used for various masonry projects around the homestead, or turned into AR-15 ammo and assorted other projectiles after lead is no longer readily available. “Whoa, Bill! What’d you take out that roving horde with?” “Well Sam, nowadays I use .30-06 organic legume-skin-jacketed pintos with weevil-bored hollow points.”
As a side note, don’t waste popcorn in your Red Ryder shooting those little tweety birds when they’re the last remaining source of animal protein, not counting the Donner Party. Once the kernels attain a velocity of 800 fps the heat generated by the air friction causes them to pop, totally messing up the aerodynamics and causing them to prematurely terminate their ballistic bliss. Then the birds eat them instead of you eating the birds, leaving you no option but to go home empty-handed again and tell the wife and kids to cook up some more plantain and get them yummy cattail roots a-boilin’. The second reason for not using Orville Redenbacher in your Red Ryder is to avoid your wife’s worn-out joke: “Don’t pop your eye out!”
Propane – Regardless of your propane tank size, write the date and quantity on the tank when it gets filled so you can accurately calculate what your usage is. Then determine how long that will last after the Big One hits and decide now if you need a bigger tank or more smaller ones. If we get TEOTWAWKI-ized next Tuesday and the propane man becomes just one more sweet memory of yesteryear, you can also calculate how long your remaining propane will last and make changes in your usage accordingly. Like turning off the water heater to save your precious propane for cooking.
Milk – Be sure to write the date in Sharpie on your store-bought milk jugs when you get them home. The ones you buy six at a time because Daisy’s on a dry spell and it’s so far to the store. The best-by dates are meaningless and, as we’ve already established, are too darn small to read anyway. Writing the date on the jugs will also have entertainment value as everyone places bets on just how old the milk can get before it has curds floating in it. Use your five senses to determine when the milk has reached its various stages but keep in mind if you can actually hear the milk speaking to you it’s a good indication you should get your rye bread checked for ergot.
Fresh milk is great with Cap’n Crunch or dinner, sour for pancakes and biscuits, and once the curds are floating, assuming you don’t have a tuffet handy, screen them out and press them with a little salt for poor man’s cheese. You can mix in some moldy bread crumbs before pressing to make your own DIY bleu cheese, but probably best to wait for your mycology certification before giving that a shot. Next time the grid goes down be sure to have lots of rennet in your preps. Remember, a little goes a long whey.
Engine Oil – On the underside of your vehicle’s hood, preferably near the top, use your Sharpie to write the oil filter number so you don’t have to stand there at the auto parts store while the guy looks it up. You’ll feel your muscles bulge when you walk straight up to the counter and say, casually, “I need a PH8A oil filter,” and you’ll probably get the good-ol’-boy discount they generally give to real mechanics. Then below the filter type, write the oil-plug wrench size unless you don’t mind crawling under there with four different wrenches and greasy dirt blobs falling in your eyes as you try each one to see if it fits. Next, write the type of engine oil it uses and beneath that, begin recording the mileage and date every time you do an oil change. If you forget one and go an extra year between changes, write in a false date and mileage to keep up the vehicle’s resale value and to reassure the next owner that not only did you do regular oil changes, but undoubtedly all other routine maintenance as well.
Having the date written there will impress the next mechanic who looks under the hood should you experience the devastating, ego-crushing embarrassment of having to resort to one, and he’ll think you’re well organized and efficient. If you’ve never in your life changed the oil and thought dipsticks referred to gun-control fanatics, open the driver-side door and find the oil-change sticker there or possibly in the upper left-hand corner of your windshield. Look for the oil type. It’s going to say something like “5w-30,” “15w-40” or “canola.” Just for giggles, pull out your Sharpie and write the oil type on the underside of the hood to give the mechanic the false impression that you know the difference between a crescent wrench and a crescent roll.
Small Engines – Since you can never remember if you used what the manufacturer recommended for your 5 HP Briggs & Stratton or if you just filled it with that 10w-40 you had on hand in the garden shed, go ahead and write the oil type right next to the dipstick. Be sure to wipe the area around it first so you don’t send your Sharpie to an early grave.
(To be continued tomorrow, in Part 3.)