Tom Purcell, 9/12/2011 [Archive]

Taking Rural Refuge

Taking Rural Refuge

By Tom Purcell

I'm torn about it, if you want to know the truth.

See, the world has been pretty nutty of late. We've had an economic calamity that wants to keep on calamatizing.

We've had hurricanes, earthquakes and more hurricanes.

And some are predicting that overactive sunspots could wreak havoc on our electrical grid and computer systems.

Sheesh, how far behind can a plague of locusts be?

So I am happy to spend most of my time living in Pittsburgh's countryside, rather than Washington, D.C., where I spent most of the past year and still visit plenty.

Though I'm torn.

Washington is a fun place. I have friends from all over the world there.

Then again, I'm better off in the country if a real catastrophe occurs.

In D.C., people with master's degrees think they have the city covered in the event that the unimaginable occurs.

They have contingency plans in place that are supposed to establish mobile command centers and organize police, firefighters and Homeland Security types.

They have cots, blankets, water and canned goods at the ready, and mobile lighting they could fire up if the electrical grid were to go down.

Though too much lighting in Washington is not necessarily a good thing. It only gives the muggers more visibility to work in.

I delight in watching white-collar people create plans they think will help out other white-collar people.

But the truth is that if something calamitous did happen in D.C., most people there would have little idea what to do.

This is because most of the residents of that town are white-collar people who are completely dependent on the blue-collar people who maintain their water supply, electricity, smartphone signal, etc.

Unlike the sophisticated folks in Washington, however, my country neighbors are resourceful and clever. They rely on no man.

My neighbors know how to grow, trap or shoot their own food. They know how to make their own alcohol. No matter what might happen, they will stay relatively comfortable and safe.

If all heck broke loose, my country town would be fine. I could still amble down to the local pub and take in some karaoke -- I'd sing some Willie Nelson tunes and enjoy a shot and a beer, which you can still get for a few bucks (the same costs about $15 in Washington).

There is no need for contingency plans in the country.

If the electricity shuts down, all my town will lose is one stoplight and a couple of streetlamps.

If the water stops pumping, few will mind. A lot of folks have wells.

If there is a food shortage at the supermarket, country folks are prepared. All of my neighbors have deer meat stashed somewhere within their houses.

Even if an electrical glitch stops everyone's car from running -- late-model automobile motors are computerized -- my neighbors will be fine. Their 1976 AMC Pacers -- and other pre-computerized cars that so many country folks keep on blocks -- will be put to good use.

So I'm torn.

On one hand, I want to be in Washington among the sophisticated people.

But on the other hand, I like having the peace of mind that no matter what happens, I'll be fine in the country. I can sing Garth Brooks tunes on karaoke night and know that if the world goes to hell, I'll at least be able to have deer meat for breakfast.

Decisions, decisions.

© 2011 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a freelance writer is also a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For more info contact Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Email Tom at

RESTRICTIONS: Tom Purcell's column may not be reprinted in general circulation print media in Pennsylvania's Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Westmoreland Counties. It may appear only in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and its sister publications.

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