Milk, Bread, Toilet Paper: The Coming Storm

Like most of the native peoples of the Potomac Valley region, I spent much of the weekend in search of milk, toilet paper and white bread.

Local TV weather persons, clad in raincoats, our version of witch doctors, warned us that an approaching hurricane from the south and a cold front moving west to east could easily collide right over Washington, D.C., destroying civilization, as we know it.

As in previous weather emergencies, we took to the streets in a frantic search for the basics that — should we survive the impact of the storm or storms — would allow us to recover so we could continue to lead the nation and the world. Those tools of life and the basics of civilization are, of course, white bread, TP and milk. Thus, it has always been.

Transplants to the D.C. area from remote places like upstate New York or Minnesota joined in the panic. Although for some of them the search for survival gear included batteries and cans of Vienna sausages. A coworker from Buffalo, N.Y., said beer (and lots of it) contains all that is necessary to sustain life. Whatever…


The next couple of days, should we survive them, are going to be rough. The government will have to make decisions as to whether to tell people to come in early, leave early or don’t bother. (Click here for a full list of federal closings.) Lacking guidance from the government some workers may even decide to take a vacaton day or days to say home and guard their families. Or catch up on daytime TV — assuming there is power. Or if the power fails, which it does a lot, suck up to the weird neighbor who has a generator and a shed full of dried meat.

While the mid-Atlantic climate is mild compared to some places — like Death Valley in the summer, Minot, North Dakota in the winter or St. Louis anytime — we have our moments. Last year we had a 5.8 earthquake which cracked the National Cathedral (two blocks from Federal News Radio’s world headquarters) and closed the Washington Monument for repairs. That was followed by a couple of days later by a hurricane. This year we had stinkbugs, but don’t get me started…

The point is that in addition to summertime humidity and permanent self-generated political hot air, D.C. can be a danger zone. We are tougher and more threatened than most people beyond the beltway give us credit for.

Here’s hoping we ride out this storm. You too.

Meantime, must run. We got a tip on the police radio that there is a market in Annandale, Va., that is bootlegging white milk. Also, a place just outside of Frederick, Md., where white bread is going for only $9 the loaf. Best of all, there is a Wal-Mart in the suburbs that is said to be awash in TP. I’ll pass on the location. After I have stocked up.

Good luck to all of us.

By Jack Moore

As of January 2012, 1,157 of Picasso’s paintings have been stolen making him the most stolen artist of all time, according to Life’s Little Mysteries.


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