The Emergency Pack

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Photo by Qearl Hu on Unsplash

I live in New York City. Why did I mention it? Simple. It is a BIG city, a busy city. It is the kind of place where one can get lost very easily. If you want to live in New York City and you are always on the move, you need something. You need one particular unit to help you. You need the EMERGENCY PACK!

I consider myself a city soldier. No, I am not saying that I am a fist fighter. I do not carry any fatalistic weapons. The only dangerous weapon I carry on a daily basis is my brain. I am not claiming any combat skills like our brave fighting forces. No, I am claiming that I have some skills that can get me through some rough times until I can get some relief.

In my daily travels to and from work, to and from a friend's house or simply just riding around town, I discovered that I needed an additional item in my 92 Jeep Cherokee Laredo (See how I slipped one of my essential devices in here?). I took my Bell & Howell Tac Light (Darn, am I good. See how I slipped a second device in here?) and located what I call my EMERGENCY BOX.

What is an emergency box? Well, do not panic. It is a rather simple device that has evolved from my grade school days. In fact, my grade school days inspired me to create the emergency box. In short, the emergency box is merely a highly refined, custom-made lunchbox that has all of the super modern essentials to sustain a life in a given amount of time. Whew! All I can tell you is that if you have one, you can go anywhere without worry. Putting one together is a piece of cake (Bad pun intended). Let us start putting one together.

1. The Box:

The first thing you need is a nice carry around box. I would strongly suggest that you get yourself a nice one called the Polar Pack. A nice bag was made to take to sporting events like a baseball game. It can hold a six-pack of beer and a couple of sandwiches. It even has a mini-lid on top that works like an engine hood. You do not even have to unzip the whole top. Just open the little lid, reach in and enjoy some nutritional delight. At first, when I bought mine, I thought that it was too big. When I started packing it, I saw that it was just right. Besides, I am not carrying it around every day like a briefcase. It stays inside of my car when needed. The best part is that it costs around $20 at most and it is a great investment.

2. A Drinking Container:

Notice what I just wrote. You were probably wondering why I did not say Thermos. There is a great, but confusing reason why I say so.

When I was a little one going back to my first and second grades of school, we little ones were trained to bring a lunchbox to school. Some of my classmates went home for lunch and came back to school when lunch was over in some cases. The rest of us ate our lunches in school during the lunch period. I usually ate my lunches in school. Parents like mine went shopping and bought us a two-piece unit called a lunchbox. One part was the metallic lunchbox while the other contained a device called the thermos that was invented by a company called Thermos. On a good day at school, you opened up your lunch box, ate your sandwich, drank libation and topped of the snack by devouring the candy treat if you had one. Notice that I said, "On a good day..."

Sometimes, we had a few bad days. What was a bad day? I am a male who used to be a boy, a boy who liked to play rough games with the other boys. Such games included but were not limited to, football or, if we did not have a football, tag. Both games involved us boys who just had so much energy to get out of our system. I honestly do not remember what the girls did other than play jump rope. We people had to do our manly games.

After we ate our lunch in the school cafeteria, we gently repacked our lunch boxes. Some of us threw our garbage out. Others may have repacked their half-eaten meals and locked the boxes. Then, we all waited for our directions in order to go outside and play. Once we were taken outside, we placed our lunch boxes in the designated locations and the headed to our games. Now, here is where it gets interesting.

Picture the heat of the moment in a very intense 12-year-old's football game. The score is tied and the atmosphere is very intense. The two opposing teams line up waiting for the hike. The ball is hiked and the play begins. The two teams scramble-the offense looking for an opening, the defense trying to ruin the offense's opportunities. The quarterback flicks the ball quickly before he can get sacked. The ball sails downfield towards its target. However, the target re-scramble leaving the ball to continue its journey to-you guessed it-an area filled with lunch boxes. A receiver attempts to catch the wayward object before it can hit the area, but now he is off-balance as well. Now, ball and receiver are set to land in the same area. CRASH!

There are many scary sounds that one can identify without seeing what happened-a car crash for example. You can tell that a car has crashed based on the sound it makes. You will not know which model is involved or its color, but you can tell that a car that was moving was suddenly stopped by something other than its brake pedal. The only thing you did not know was how much damage there was at the scene. Therefore, you went over to see. When a football or another moving object slammed into a lunch box, you knew immediately what the sound was. You did not need anyone to tell you what it was. You just knew automatically. The ONLY thought that went through your mind was, "OH NO! I hope that wasn't my lunch box!" For 95% of us lunchtime lunch box disaster victims, it WAS our lunch box that made that hideous sound. The only thing left was to go examine the possible damage and be very prepared to cry.

I remember the first time my box was totaled. Ironically, I was not playing football when it happened, but it was a victim of an errant football play. The ball hit my box and a few others dead on. Three of my friends and I saw it and ran over to check our boxes. I was in seventh grade at the time. We picked up our boxes and opened them. Tommy opened his box and the first thing he did was to take out his thermos, shake it and then he put it back into his lunch box and cried. I followed suit and did likewise. I shook my thermos and heard a sound that was unfamiliar to my ears. I shook it again and the sound did not change. It sounded like a marimba. I immediately opened it and discovered why Tommy cried about his thermos. The inside, which WAS made of glass, was now completely shattered. It was no longer a usable device. There were shards of glass where a complete lining should be. It was done. My thermos, in the most practical sense, was a victim of schoolyard damage. I became a thermos widower. The tears started to form.

I have had too many of those type days until I graduated in 1970, the end of my eighth-grade year. In high school, thankfully, I did not need a lunch box because I relied on cafeteria food and soda dispensers. I even kept to the same activity all throughout college and my working life, too. Yes, I ate at home, but I also enjoyed eating out a bit more. I discovered McDonald's, Burger King, White Castle, Arby's, Wendys and a few more places, but those were always my favorite. Nevertheless, I needed something else. Suppose I needed another item. That is why I created my emergency box. Still, I needed something to replace my thermos. It had to be practically indestructible. Enter Dunkin-Donuts.

One day while I was on the line getting ready to order my crueler, I figured that I needed something to drink, but a coffee cup would not do. For one, I do not drink coffee Two, I needed a container to put my orange juice, lemonade or whatever I wanted to drink in it. I looked around and saw exactly what I wanted-a thermos!

I performed a drop test where I wanted to test a fully filled container and watch what happened after it hit the ground. The DD thermos did not even lose a drop. When I replaced the juice with soda in the same DD container, it did drip a bit, but the lid stayed on. The DD thermos won consistently. I could see the DD container withstanding a football. I am sure that the Thermos would also withstand the football because there was no glass lining in either device. I did find but did not purchase, a Thermos with the same type of glass liner from my earlier days. I feel sorry for the kid who does not want a marimba-like the one I had.

I settled on a white, metallic model. As far as I am concerned, it is the ultimate thermos. It is clearly marked with the DD insignia, but I do not care. It is a highly valued member of my emergency box.

3. Bowl/Plate:

If one is literally going to eat out—out of the house, out of Mickey D’s, eat out of White Castle (you get the point)—one needs to get a bowl or a plate. You will need one constructed of an unbreakable plastic. Think of the schoolyard football game. Need I say more? I am assuming that you are still not carrying a lunch box around like a briefcase and getting together with your friends who still cannot throw a football correctly. Go to Modell’s and you will find a nice one in the camping section. In fact, you might find some other items for YOUR emergency box that I have not listed here.

4. Utensils:

I HAD a friend (who shall always remain nameless here because she is an ex-friend) whose husband worked at a nearby airport. She used to come to work occasionally with some leftover but sometimes useful items. One day, she brought in a few eating knives and sporks (spoon & fork combination). I grabbed a few pairs and kept them with me. They are nice. Guess who has them in his emergency pack as well as in his fanny pack. I never leave home or car without them. If you cannot find a metallic set, you could always use a plastic knife, fork, and spoon as well.

5. Containers:

I honestly do not know which store I found them, but I came across two miniature Tupperware containers. At this point, I do not know how I want to use them. I could fill them up with salt, pepper or sugar. I do not know at this point, but they are in my emergency box at the moment when I figure out how I want to use them.

6. Food:

Now, this is another enjoyable part of my emergency box. Before I go on, remember that whatever you add to the box is going to stay in the box until you open them. Once you open them, they have to be devoured right away. Remember that the emergency box is a storage box, not a refrigerator. It is not something that will keep the following items fresh or free of bugs. Therefore, if I were to open a bag of potato chips, I am going to finish the bag, not put a half-eaten bag back into the box, letting it become the eating zone for ants and other tiny creatures. So, the following items will not be found in the refrigeration section of the store.

What do I frequently put in my box? Okay. I will put in a small bag of jelly beans, a bag of Ranch flavored Bugles, Jack Links’ bacon strips, and other related JL products, beef sticks, roasted (unshelled) pistachios, yogurt raisins and anything else. Can you see where I am going with this? These items can stay in the emergency box as long as I want. For freshness, I will change them out on a 6-month or 12-month cycle so that I know that the items are fresh for when I need to consume them. When I shop, I will always buy extra items. When I buy a bag of Bugles, I will most likely buy two bags—one for the box and the other for my mouth.

7. Miscellaneous:

Now that we have all the other items ready for the emergency box, what could possibly be left? I have come across disposable juice containers. If I wish to share my drinks, I could prepare a container and hand it to my company. I could also use them myself if I wanted to do so. They could be reused and put back in the box. Lately, I have not used any.

I also found liquid juice mixes. My favorite is the raspberry Kool-Aid. Just pour a few squirts into a glass of water and you have a semi-tasty drink. The only problem I have with it is that they contain an ingredient called sucralose. I am a bit wary of this substance and I hope that it does not present a cancer scare later on like aspartame and saccharin did. I guess that we will see. I do not drink the stuff on a daily basis. That is why it goes straight into the emergency box. The juice bottle is up to you.

I also keep a small pack of tea bags in case I can get some hot water. It does come in handy on those cold days. That is why I will also carry around sugar packets as well. I don't drink coffee, but if that is your preference, that's fine.

Conclusion:

That is it! That is what makes up my emergency box. Depending on what you may want to carry in your box in terms of food items, you should be good for two days if you just eat to quell your hunger. Remember, it was not meant to be a seven-course supper. It is only for getting through a slight emergency. In my case, after I have dealt with an emergency, I refill my box at the next opportunity, which is usually the next day. I also refurbish my box each year whether it needs it or not. That way, I am not eating old food. Keep in mind that even though the packaged food likes the dried bacon strips do carry an expiration date. Note the expiration date and you should be fine. Other than that, all the other parts of your emergency box should be fine.

Take care! Happy motoring and let’s be careful out there.

Liquid Lunch!

Photo by Braden Barwich on Unsplash

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