A little darkness doesn't scare us Y2K vets

Protect your loved ones for the coming phenomenon. Stock up on food and water and make sure your car has a full gas tank. Be prepared to use cash. Have an emergency kit set aside and an emergency plan to get you through the crisis. Let your friends and family know where you'll be when the time comes. Be prepared for communications issues and the possible loss of phone service.

Preparation for The Big One? For a North Korea missile launch? Sasquatch attack?

No, it's worse than that — it's THE ECLIPSE!

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to get that Y2K feeling all over again. Helplessness, hopelessness, as the clock ticks toward that inevitable moment when the world as we know it will be changed forever. ...

... Or maybe it will just get dark for a few minutes and then we'll all return to our previously scheduled lives.

The full eclipse will make landfall at 10:15 a.m. between Lincoln City and Newport, where there will be total darkness for two minutes. For some reason beyond the comprehension of those of us with liberal arts degrees, the total eclipse will last 2 minutes and 41 seconds by the time it nears the East Coast. (And then there's the question of why the eclipse moves from west to east while the sun is moving from east to west — again, don't ask me.)

I will apparently be safe from the Y2K ... er, eclipse ... threat because, sadly, I will be ensconced here at the Mail Tribune, filling in for an editor who is venturing into the heart of the beast. We won't entirely miss out on the event — the sun will be 93 percent obscured in Medford at the peak of about 2½ hours of reduced sunshine for us. (Hey, I'm good with whatever it takes to cool things off.)

But for those of you who are throwing caution to the darkness and heading north for the event, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management has helpfully provided a list of things you can worry about. (OK, before we get into that list, let's get the required vision warning out: Don't be a dumba-- and stare at the sun without the proper eyewear. There, put a check in that box.)

The OOEM, however, says there's plenty else to worry about, including:

  • Make sure you have snacks, water and first-aid supplies on hand.

  • Bring an emergency kit and an emergency plan (they don't say for what, but it probably should make you nervous).

  • Businesses should be prepared for an influx of campers who want to use their restrooms.

  • In addition to the aforementioned restrooms, expect gas stations to have lines.

  • Businesses should also be prepared to handle more cash transactions — and not just from marijuana growers.

So there you have it: Follow a few simple safety rules and you, too, can survive the eclipse. Remember, we ancient ones survived Y2K just fine, with our Windows 95 computers still able to download almost any file in a day and a half.

— Bob Hunter is associate editor of the Mail Tribune.

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