“What’s your plan for the day?” Red asked the Disaster Guy.
“It’s a quiet day, Red,” he said. “I’ve got to put the new insurance cards in the trucks, change oil in one truck, get a birthday present for my daughter, change batteries in the flashlights, and make some trophies for the Outhouse Race at the Grand Saline Buzzard Festival.”
“Pardon me, but how do you know you have to do all that?” Red asked.
“They’re on my ‘To-Do Checklist,’ and I haven’t done them yet,” the Disaster Guy said.
“You use a checklist?” Red asked. “You sound so professional!”
“Red, I’m a pilot. I use a checklist every time before I fly to be sure the airplane and I are in good enough shape to get off the ground,” the Disaster Guy said. “It doesn’t take much brains to figure out that if a checklist can make my flying safer, checklists would help for other things in my life, too.”
“I understand where you get a checklist for an airplane,” Red said. “Where do you get checklists for your life?”
“You make your own, of course,” the Disaster Guy answered. “Each day has different things to do. So every day’s to-do checklist is different.”
“So how did you know you needed to change the oil in the truck?” Red asked.
“I have a book in the glove compartment, and I write in it every time I change oil, get gas, make repairs, and so forth. Each entry includes a date and an odometer reading,” the Disaster Guy said.
“It isn’t hard to look back to when I had the last oil change, check the current odometer reading, and see if I’m due for another oil change,” he said. “Anybody can do it.”
“Hummmph! Anybody who’s tremendously organized can do it!” Red said.
“Not really! All I have to do is write a line in a book after I get gas or repairs,” the Disaster Guy said. “Over time, it gives me a good record of how well the truck is holding up.”
“How did you know to put new insurance cards in the trucks?” Red asked.
“The insurance company e-mailed new cards to me, and I printed them on the computer printer,” the Disaster Guy said. Then I put them in the trucks and crossed that item off the checklist.”
“And making trophies for the Outhouse Race?” Red asked. “If there is such a thing as an outhouse race!”
“I assure you, there is an outhouse race. We build a frame with wheels, put a mocked-up outhouse on the frame, put a toilet seat inside, find a volunteer to sit on it, and push the outhouse as fast as possible down the streets of Grand Saline during their Buzzard Festival in February,” the Disaster Guy said.
“I get to make the trophies because the ladies don’t have a shop,” he said. “Then I check it off my to-do checklist.”
“I’ve gotten along without a to-do checklist for my whole life,” Red said. “Why should I have a checklist now?”
“I find that as I get older, I forget more easily. If I write something down on a checklist, I’m a lot more organized,” the Disaster Guy said. “I don’t waste as much time trying to remember what I was supposed to be doing.”
“My to-do checklist is also useful when my wife asks me what I was doing all day,” he said. “I just grab the day’s checklist and read everything I completed. It makes me sound tremendously efficient.”
“What’s this about changing flashlight batteries?” Red asked. “None of your flashlights work anymore?
“Every emergency flashlight gets new batteries every 6 months,” the Disaster Guy said. “It’s almost my daughter’s birthday, and I try to change the batteries around that time.”
“Changing the flashlight batteries isn’t a big deal. I buy flashlight batteries in bulk to save money,” he said.
“Well, I’d rather just kick back, pop a couple beers, and watch sports on TV,” Red said.
“Sounds great, but you’d sure disappoint your daughter if her birthday came around and you hadn’t gotten a birthday present for her,” the Disaster Guy said.
“And how did you know you needed to get a birthday present for your daughter?” Red asked.
“I know when she was born!” the Disaster Guy said. “What would you do?”
“I’d ask my wife!” Red said. “She remembers when all our kids were born.”
“’Corporate memory,’” the Disaster Guy said. “That’s what wives are for!”
The Disaster Guy says he remembered to write this story because it was on his to-do checklist. You can find almost 160 emergency preparedness and disaster survival tips on his website, www.DisasterGuy.com. He’d welcome your comments on this article by e-mail