Barry Smith: Additional things to have on hand as we await our fate

Oh, how I’ve waited for the day when duct tape would become a national punch line.I’m a longtime fan of duct tape, pronounced “duck tape,” and I would be the first to argue for its lifesaving potential AND its punch line qualities. As the saying goes, “If you can’t duck it, f@&* it!” Hey, I once wrote an entire column about duck tape. Seriously.However, what’s killing me is that my government came up with a funnier joke about it than I did: In case of terrorist attack, or supposed threat of such, duct tape your head securely inside a black plastic bag and await further instructions. Clearly they’ve hired some sit-com writers down at Homeland Security.And speaking of that fine organization, have you checked out their Web page? It’s the duty of all patriotic, pronounced “paranoid,” citizens to do so. It’s at, and it provides you with exhaustive lists telling you what to stock up on in the event of chemical or biological attacks, nuclear blasts, radiation, explosions or diaper rash.I’ve studied the Homeland checklist and find it to be harmfully lacking in some items which I consider essential. Just to prove that I’m not bitter at my government for coming up with a better joke than me, I’ve expanded on their list a little, because when it comes right down to it, I just want to help.DISASTER PREPAREDNESS ESSENTIALS* Quarters – for parking. Just because your town has been leveled by a nuclear blast is no reason to assume that parking laws will not be enforced. Especially in Aspen.* Post-it Notes – Think these things are handy in your usual, non-terrorist-attack life? Well, imagine how useful they’ll be once the terror hits the fan.* Copy of “The Clash – London Calling.” – This is a fine, fine album, and I can’t imagine a situation so extreme where this album would not be a welcome soundtrack.* All the prescription drugs you can loot from your local drug store – You may be holed up in a sealed-off room for quite a while, so you’ll want some variety. You may want to avoid the Viagra, though, depending on who you’re holed up with.* Gum – Who wants gum!?* Dish sponge – One of those that’s soft on one side and scrubby on the other. Those really are the best.* Percussion instruments.* About a dozen pairs of reading glasses – did the Twilight Zone teach you people nothing?* Q-Tips – Not even nuclear war could rival the living hell of having an itch deep inside your ear and not being able to reach it with your pinky. Sure, you could use your car key to dig around in there, but then the terrorists would have won.* A printed out copy of this poem, which I wrote last summer, one morning at a coffee shop in Seattle – “Kevin reads the morning news and sighs a dozen times, I sit and smoke my cigarette and make up little rhymes.”* Matches in a waterproof container.* Water in a match-proof container.* A death-proof container large enough for you and your sleeping bag.* Postcards – “Armageddon is beautiful, wish you were here.”* Stamps.* Black light and posters.* “Sex and the City – Fourth Season” on DVD.* Coffee cake.* Relevant quotes from the book of Revelation – You’ll want to be able to bellow some of these when, say, the moon turns black as sackcloth, stars fall from the sky and the blood runs high in the street.* Tarot cards, yarrow stalks, I Ching coins, tea leaves, chicken intestines, Magic 8 Ball.*A kazoo.* An unwavering, childlike trust that your government is competent and has your best interest at heart.[Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Mondays. His e-mail address is, and his very own Web page is at]


Foodstuff: What are you doing for New Year’s Eve?

It’s almost time to ring in the new year and if your holiday schedule is shaping up to be as packed as mine, I wish you a well-deserved rest in 2024. In the meantime, it’s our chance to party, and party we shall.

See more