The BackUp — Always Be Prepared

The contingency plan, the data backup and the second string quarterback are alternates or replacements, also known as “backup” if something happens to the original. My dad is the ultimate in preparedness because no matter the situation he always has a backup. In fact, my dad is so prepared he has a backup for the backup.

Most people consider doomsday preppers, survivalists and boy scouts as expert planners who are ready for everything, but when preparing for travel, appointments, equipment, work, food and family, these alleged experts fail compared to my dad.

Travel: My punctual pop always allows sufficient travel time for any journey. He often leaves early enough to make the entire trip twice and declares that every responsible traveler should allow time for inclement weather, traffic delays, passing trains, migrating herds and two flat tires whether that trip spans 50 feet across the street or 5,000 miles across the country.

Appointments: Never fear your airport departure when my dad’s in charge. The airlines request check-in 1-hour before take off, but my dad scoffs at a 60-minute preparation and delivers you to the airport before the FedEx shipment. Bring plenty of entertainment when my dad is responsible for your appointment because he’ll ensure you have extra time to eat, poop, sleep, read, play and do it all again before the plane leaves it’s connecting airport. Once my dad delivered me a whole day early with an extra meal, a spare razor and a change of clothes.

Equipment: My dad will never suffer a dysfunctional equipment delay because he has a backup car, GPS, computer and yard equipment. Dad always keeps 3-cars fully operational. He has a work car, a daily car and a travel car. All the cars are interchangeable in any situation because dad must have a backup. He has two GPS units and uses them simultaneously. One must be male and the other female because the units disagree on the travel path, but indecisive GPS units don’t phase my dad because he has a backup called a map. He has 3 computers; all sit on the same desk. If one loads slowly, he uses the backup. If the backup malfunctions he has another backup. If all three contract a computer virus, he unloads a backup from the nearby closest. I think he spontaneously grew an extra arm to use all three computers at once. That third arm is also a backup for the other two. Dad is ready for the task on lawn-mowing day. If mower #1 loses a wheel, mower #2 is ready to go. If mower #2 is low on fuel, mower #3 finishes the job. Dad’s motto is, “Rain, sleet, hail or snow, the lawn must mow”!

Work: Dad is an industrious man with energy to spare. He has a full-time job and a hobby that could easily double as a full-time backup job. It’s the weekend and the office is closed, but dad starts one or all three computers to work his hobby. If he’s on the road, the laptop becomes his mobile hobby office.

Food: I’ve never seen the pantry bare in my dad’s home. There’s always plenty of food for a small family gathering or a cotillion to serve 200 sumo wrestlers because he has backup. Fast food? No problem, dad buys the 12″ sub sandwich because the second half of the sandwich is the backup. I haven’t verified this next thought but I secretly suspect he has a MRE (meal-ready-to-eat) stored in the car trunk to stave off starvation in case he encounters a slow sandwich clerk. Towels and toilet paper abound in dad’s home. If you finish the last square of toilet paper he opens a new case stored in the garage and replenishes the garage inventory with the attic backup stash.

Family: My dad is a social being and knows people all over the world. He sends Christmas cards to 200 people every year and that list grows annually. He has a friend in every single state. He travels often to visit friends and when he discovers one friend is busy, he calls the backup and the next and the next until he secures entertainment. One home town restaurant follows my dad’s travel schedule because if he’s out-of-town, they’re out-of-business. My dad even planned a backup for me in case I didn’t workout – my sibling. Despite being prepared for every real or imagined emergency there is one aspect of dad’s life with no backup – my mom. He knows he can’t handle more than one of those!

Unconfirmed: I suspect but have never confirmed the following:

  • To my knowledge, dad has no backup home but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he has an underground bunker with 10 cases of toilet paper and three computers in it.
  • Once I peaked in dad’s dresser and discovered several drawers packed with an underwear surplus. I won’t guess how many pair he has in the dresser or backup dresser and I don’t want to know how many pair he wears at the same time.

So for the professional survivalist who thinks he’s ready for everything, there’s one thing that stymies them and it’s my dad’s backup plan for home, work and play. I spent a few hours crafting this post. I don’t want to lose all this hard work. I think I’ll call dad and ask how to make a backup.