Disaster Preparedness by Heather Havrilesky


Growing up during the ’70s, I found it hard to avoid the specter of disaster. On every movie screen, airplanes plummeted to the ground, earthquakes toppled huge cities, and monster sharks ripped teenagers to bloody bits. But more disturbing than the catastrophes themselves was the utter lack of foresight demonstrated by the adults in each harrowing scene. As meteors hurtled toward Earth and gigantic dinosaurs crushed cars under their feet, grown adults either ran screaming or stood in confused clusters, gasping and shrugging over what was to be done.

Why wasn’t there a plan? I always wondered. How could so many adults stare blankly at each other as everything went to hell?
Once I asked my mom what we would do if a meteor crashed into the house. “The chances of that happening are very slim,” she told me.

But it could happen, I told her, and I needed to know what to do if it did.

Reprinted from Disaster Preparedness by Heather Havrilesky with permission of Riverhead Books, a member of The Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © 2010 by Heather Havrilesky.