WINOOSKI – Now that Covid-19 is chugging along nicely, the country as a whole can get back to planning for its domestic survival in the face of infrastructure decay, public school chaos, banking crisis, creeping fascism, increasing militarization, unaffordable health care, catastrophic unemployment and apocalyptic debt.
Even readers of The Winooski, though relatively well-placed socio-economically, are vulnerable to the remaining dangers facing other Americans. We have therefore undertaken to investigate survival techniques potentially useful to the average Vermonter. Over the past year, preceding the virus, your author has helped survey homeless populations in four major cities; this is the first report of information gleaned from their years of human experience in exceedingly trying circumstances. It is hoped that as homeland political, social and economic circumstances continue to deteriorate, you may be able to take advantage of some of these techniques.
Optimal Integration of Food, Clothing and Shelter
Multiple uses of existing materials makes for economy in scarcity situations. Food, for instance, can serve as clothing, insulation, and even privacy. Consider for example the following not uncommon situation:
After a sleepless night in a public shelter or lavatory, exhausted by guarding your possessions, you will surely need a good daytime place to nap. In inclement weather, public libraries are ideal, especially for the well-educated. However, Fletcher Free Library policy has recently turned draconian, and anyone sleeping rather than reading is usually asked to leave.
Two slices of baloney can solve the problem. Choose a brand as close to your skin tone as possible. In the center of each slice, cut an eye-shaped hole. Choose a good book or journal, open it in front of you, sit well-propped in a chair, and place a slice of baloney over each eye. A cap or kerchief low on the forehead, in addition to your Covid mask, will improve the illusion. Then, off to the arms of Morpheus. It will take a sharp-eyed, highly motivated guard to catch you napping, and, what with budget cuts, such staff are in ever rarer supply. After your nap, put the baloney away for further use.
Soft white bread, such as Wonder Bread or Tiptop not only remains inexpensive, but is also an excellent insulator. Due to trapped air, its R rating is high, comparable to fiberglass or foam: a must investment, even with diminished funds. Slices can be stuffed in clothing, and in key body areas such as the small of the back or lower abdomen to maintain core temperature in hypothermic environments. Don’t forget the head! — 70% of body heat escapes from the scalp. Wonder Bread fits nicely under any hat or cap, or can be trimmed for a custom fit.
Once fast food restaurants open, you will invariably find packets of yellow mustard available for the taking. You’d be surprised at how well Grandma’s recipe for cold still works! Simply smear yellow mustard over your chest and abdomen, and along your sides (get up under those arms!) for long-lasting, bio-chemical warmth. It’s free — and it’s good for you, too.
Forget Kleenex from now on, and don’t keep Covid in your pocket with cloth hankies. Even the worst exposure-induced upper respiratory condition can be contained by blowing the nose into lettuce leaves, still available free in supermarket dumpsters. A day’s supply can easily be carried in pocket or purse.
Now here’s a trick: At the end of a long day, when the baloney is a bit soiled and the bread somewhat tamped, scrape a small amount of mustard from the small of your back, whip out a few lettuce leaves, lay meat eye-hiders to bread insulation, and voila — a classical baloney sandwich — utilizing three of the four major food groups — for your evening meal. Well fed, you can re-pack for a nighttime of maximum insulation.
This is only one example of efficient multi-use of food materials. Please write The Winooski with any ideas of your own, specifically in cases where baloney hoarding makes the previous suggestions untenable.