Coaching legend Howard Schnellenberger, a veteran of many of life's literal and figurative storms, shares this week's very special top 25 hurricane survival tips for jittery Mid-Atlantic and Northeasterners unaccustomed to nature's whims and doing the hard work of real living.
1. Suspenders. Instant, snappy poise in any situation. Can also tether you snugly to any nearby flagpole.
2. Singapore Slings. Good enough for the typhoons of the unairconditioned Orient. Good enough for you.
3. Manhole covers. Keeps your pizza from blowing away while serving as the medicine ball of frisbees to keep morale up during recreational time in your hurricane shelter.
4. Maglite. Keep it in your front trouser pocket before using it to highlight your emergency shelter love encounters. Fleshlights are a nincompoop's way out.
5. The greatest hits of Slim Whitman. Melodic country/western whistling is the distress call letting rescuers now "We have survivors. Survivors with taste."
6. Moist Towelettes. For my mustache. You never know what manner of detritus will accumulate in even the most fetching of damegroins during times of natural disaster.
7. A pipe. Keeper of fire; periscope for a he-sub on the move.
8. My parakeets. The gilded cage can be traded for food or weapons in the event of societal collapse, and the birds make impressive appetizers with just a little plucking and skewering.
9. Penthouse Forum Letters, Vol. 1. If society capsizes, we will rebuild it with these sacred pages.
10. Crowbar. You cannot believe the circumference of petroleum jelly jars available at Sam's Club. Also relieves the constipation commonly resulting from overconsumption of dry and canned goods.
11. The Chuck Norris Total Gym. I'm not saying torture will happen in a new world. But I'm saying a gentleman needs to prepare for just that eventuality by keeping this portable but effective home rack around just in case.
12. Two steno burners. I turn them to the lowest setting and insert them into my sleeping bag. Toasty feet are leechless feet.
13. Turfman's Blinding Powder and Seasoning For Various Streetfowl. Great on pigeon. Better in the eyes of some looting churl stealing brandy from your thinking cabinet.
14. Lemon-scented bleach. I like my purified water to replenish with style.
15. Condoms. Not for intimate use, as you'll need strength, but for use as an improvised diving helmet in salvage situations. Five used properly can construct an entire wetsuit. Note: use ribbed for deep dives, and flavored for the locals. Sunfish like a nibble.
16. A battery powered 45" player and Bob Wils' "Good Old Oklahoma" There's nothing good about Oklahoma, but the Texas Playboys aren't featured on this one. Don't trust playboys; never will.
17. Moon boots. Hang them on the sturdiest rafter of your home. Climb into them. Wait for high winds, and then enjoy the free hang glider ride of your life.
18. Fire extinguisher. You want every item in your bugout bag to serve at least two purposes. I enjoy its frothy renderings as both a flame retardant and a dessert topping.
19. A map of the city you live in. Not one published before 1937, however. They can't be trusted.
20. An orange tree. Bottled orange juice is how the doomsday cults activate their kill switches.
21. A Very Literal Barrel Of Monkeys. Allies, meat, flotation, and friendship, all in one economical package.
I prefer bonobos. Reliable, if a bit on the sensualist side.
22. A hammer (to smash your glasses with). On the other side of the storm, they won't find your spectacles a sign of intelligence. They'll see weakness. Make a dramatic gesture to garner and secure respect. Can't see? Try harder.
23. Flare gun. Illuminates the darkest night. Clears the congested nasal passages with impressive force.
24. A sturdy and reliable bathysphere. Some insist on fighting Mother Nature. I prefer to seal myself into a cozy steel ball and let the winds and tide toss me like a lottery ball. Bring supplies: during the great storm of '72 I rolled on the seafloor for three pleasant weeks before bouncing onto the shores of Barbados. We went undefeated that season. I've trusted bathyspheres ever since.
25. SMU. We'll need cash and college football in the big world. Thus, SMU.
***BONUS HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER TIPS FOR SURVIVING AND EVEN THRIVING AMIDST THE HOT UNRELENTING BREATH OF THE TROPICS THEMSELVES*****
- Make sure you have all the necessary medications you and your family will need for an extended period. Once you've gathered them all, put them in a bag and drop them down the nearest storm drain. This is an opportunity to fight chronic disease with will alone; polio wasn't cured with coddling, and asthma won't be either.
- Keep an eye out for skittish landholders. The threat of hurricane winds and a handful of Sturdivant's Original Imitation Sapphires go a long way - just ask the minority shareholders of Biloxi Regional Medical Center who they've answered to since 1985.
- Travel light by only packing food that floats. I stick to the 3 C's: cassava, cassowary jerky, and carpenter's glue.
- Plan ahead to stay with friends or family. We rode out one storm with Barry Switzer after he promised us he had plenty of room. Sleeping in an airport shuttle with the seats ripped out taught me the value of proper lumbar support.
- Your less-worldly neighbors may not know that the difference between a typhoon and a hurricane is purely longitudinal. Exploit this ignorance by altering roadside signage, and you'll find that your trip along the "Typhoon Evacuation Route" is a smooth one.
- A man without a moustache comb is not a man who can be trusted to share your shelter.
- Certain states do not consider wages earned during a state of emergency to be taxable income. Show initiative and offer others your services as an unlicensed midwife.
- Conserve your tobacco by dividing what you have in half each time you pack the pipe. Tip your cap to Archimedes for the resulting infinite supply.
- Bachelors, try to keep quarter with commercial pilots. Their wives will thank you, for no one is more impotent than a flightless Pan-Am captain. Penguins of the bedchamber.