Chattanoogans felt the season's first serious cold snap this week, and with it came news of our first possible snowfall. The fact that the snow was characterized as only a chance of flurries by local meteorologists is of no importance. The Tennessee Valley takes its snow very seriously, whether it is in blizzard form or invisible.
Back in January, I praised local residents who had learned to not come unglued at the first mention of snow. But a few months have passed, and some comments from locals I've seen posted online and overheard in the checkout line serve as a reminder that some folks remain determined to freak out, no matter what. These people want to be prepared, and they want to feel safe. And I want to help them.
If you are going to freak out at the mere thought of snow, do it properly.
Here are a few tips:
—Panic. Meteorologists are just human beings. They can be wrong, and you can't take that chance. Fear the worst, and instruct your friends, family and co-workers to do the same.
—Proceed immediately to Walmart. Most everything you will need is there. But hurry, the store will be crowded, and everybody will be freaking out, just like you. The lines will be huge. Grab a cart and quickly gather the following: Milk (several gallons), bread (several loaves), bottled water, pork and beans, Vienna sausages, beef jerky, batteries, candles, toilet paper, a first aid kit, diapers, baby formula, wipes, extra medication and any pet supplies you might need. Use the self-checkout. It's faster.
—Ask yourself, "Do I have enough ammunition?" If you don't, buy some. If you've never purchased a gun, now is the time. You are going to need to protect yourself and your family from the desperate folks who didn't take the proper precautions. Again, Walmart can help. Ask them if they have any flares, too.
—Gather your loved ones at home. Your kids were probably let out of school early and have already taken the bus home. If not, round them up. Call and tell your spouse to come immediately. Storm into his or her place of employment and grab him or her if you have to. He or she might be a little embarrassed at first, but this is serious.
—Board up your windows. Any scraps of wood will do. Your goal is to keep wind-blown objects and thieves out. Make sure to leave a little space between a couple of boards so you can check on the status of the storm—and aim your shotgun.
—Organize your supplies. Make sure you know where everything is. Light all of your candles. Start making milk and bread sandwiches, and don't stop until the storm passes. (If it ever does …)
—Instruct every member of the family to take a shower. Who knows how long the electricity will last or when you'll be able to bathe again? The more people you can fit in the shower at one time, the better.
—Make sure your will is up to date. If you don't have a will, use the last remaining moments of electricity (and your life?) to create one.
—Get huddled and stay huddled. Bring every blanket and pillow into the smallest, most uncomfortable room in the house. Squeeze the entire family in there. Get close together to stay warm. Hug each other a lot. Cry. Overreact to every little noise.
—Start keeping a horribly depressing journal of your ordeal. Years later, some documentary crew will want to tell your story. And what better way to tell it than with your own words? Shoot some really shaky video, too. They'll appreciate it.
—Shoot your pets. Who knows how long your supplies will hold out? You can't afford to be feeding your pets if they could be feeding you.
—Ever heard of the Donner Party? Well, let's just hope it really is just flurries.
This piece is satire. Or is it? Bill Colrus writes about (in no particular order) news, culture and media. You can find him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or reach him at email@example.com. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.