Service of What If III

July 2nd, 2015

Categories: Contingency, What If

Photo: frontlinefirst

Photo: frontlinefirst

I wrote the last “What If” in 2010 so while this one’s the third it’s not exactly a series.

I told a friend about a potentially dicey situation where I might have been left behind on a railroad platform upstate with no money, car or house keys, mobile phone or ID because the train could have taken off without me. On the train were my handbag, luggage and husband.

Photo: etsy

Photo: etsy

Her reaction to my story surprised me. She  didn’t ooh and ahh as I thought she might about the circumstance but instead she said, “What would you do if that happened?” and reminisced about how when she was little her grandma would sew a secret pocket in her dresses where she could tuck emergency money. “What if,” her granny would say, and then mention some possibilities of how the stash might come in handy. [This thinking ahead characteristic could be one reason the friend is a crack planner, trends forecaster and tactician.]

So first I strategized about how, if abandoned on a railroad platform in the relative middle of nowhere, I’d get hold of some money so I could catch the next train: I’d walk to a gas station, ask to borrow someone’s cell phone and call a friend to rescue me. But playing the grandmother’s game, I also told myself that I should remember to always carry some money on me which in summer is tricky if I’m not wearing a jacket or clothing with pockets, which is most of the time.

In your personal life, do you think of contingencies or do you relax and deal with something that happens when it does? Do you treat your work the same way or do you try to anticipate and parry potential hitches? Do you squirrel away mad money and if so, where?





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2 Responses to “Service of What If III”

  1. Septimius Said:

    My favorite “What if…” time is before I go to sleep at night. Usually I’m asleep before I get past the fifth verse. But occasionally I come up with what I think is a bright idea, get hooked on working out the details and I’m up all night.

    This happened a few years ago when I dreamed up a practical, common sense solution to the country’s healthcare problems. I fell so in love with that I spent weeks, night after night, awake tying all its loose ends together to make my idea compact and doable. At last, I decided I was ready and tried my idea out on a doctor friend.

    He told me that it was a great idea and would work, but to forget it because it would put too many people like lawyers, investment bankers, lobbyists, politicians, drug company salesmen and executives, and insurance paper pushers out of business. They’d never let you get away with it.

    Now I stay awake wondering, “What if, like Donald Trump buying the presidency, I had enough money to sell my plan to the general public?”

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Holy smokes! I wonder how long that list is of great ideas that don’t get implemented because it would put special interests out of business.

    Note: Ideas that put poor people out of business are gleefully adapted such as technology and sending jobs overseas. Corporate heads benefit in both cases. Ironic.

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