Emergency measures

This Saturday at Townshippers’ Day, I will officially launch my debut novel, A Hole in the Ground. Set in the fictional town of Beaverly, the plot hinges on a local disaster. And turtles. I can verify there are stampeding beavers. But mostly the disaster.

At any rate, the disaster calls into play various emergency response measures. In celebration of the launch, I am wearing a party hat and have draped myself in streamers — that’s it. What can I say, that’s how I celebrate. But also in celebration, here are some other emergency measures you should be aware of.


What to do in the event you have to remember what to do in the event you meet a bear

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Try to recall that poster you saw at a state park that one time after a few beers and you made that “beers/bears” joke that seemed hilarious at the time but not so much now.
  3. Make yourself as big as possible and shout loudly.
  4. Or maybe it’s make yourself as small as possible and remain quiet.
  5. No, wait, make yourself into a medium-sized person and whimper cluelessly.
  6. Do not make eye contact with the bear. Or maybe do. Whichever one works, keep doing that.
  7. What was the name of the girl you were with at that state park?
  8. Now’s not the time!
  9. If you have any on you, fling beer at bear.
  10. In retrospect, this may be what to do in the event you meet a cougar.
  11. Seek medical attention.


What to do in the event you crash-land in the Andes with a plane load of vegetarians

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Seek shelter.
  3. Keep remaining calm.
  4. Really, you have nothing to worry about.
  5. Don’t bother rationing food.
  6. Enjoy the irony.


What to do in the event of fire at a meditation retreat

  1. Remain a little less calm.
  2. Seek within yourself the answer to the true nature of fire, whether it is mere energy beyond our earthbound notions of good or evil or whether it is consuming the drapes beside the Tibetan singing bowls.
  3. Remember the The Four Noble Truths: the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering and the truth of the path that leads to the nearest emergency exit.
  4. Move from the cross-legged sitting position to the standing fleeing position.
  5. Be mindful of the moment, especially as the flames are at the moment very nearly singeing that robe you’re wearing.
  6. Be one with 9-1-1.


What to do in the event you’re at the grocery checkout with your husband-to-be, and the clerk asks how many corn-on-the-cob you have, and you answer, “Seven,” and your fiancé sings out loud, “Seven cobs a-swimming…!”

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Do not make eye contact with the clerk.
  3. Do not worry, because she is not making eye contact with you either.
  4. Slowly exit the store.
  5. Find the nearest telephone.
  6. Carefully phone the caterer and the band to see if you can get your deposit back.
  7. Silently resign yourself to a single life where you can never again look at a cob of corn.


What to do in the event you meet an author launching a book at Townshippers’ Day

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Do not make eye contact with the author.
  3. Do not engage in social media with the author.
  4. Do not for one minute believe the author when he says he doesn’t care how many copies he sells as long as even just one person enjoys it.
  5. Do not startle the author by making sudden movements or saying he looks like Terry Fallis.
  6. Do not be Terry Fallis.
  7. Slowly reach into your pocket to retrieve a 20-dollar bill.
  8. Wave the bill in the air to distract the author.
  9. While the author is busy rationalizing the virtues of self-publishing, retrieve a book from the over-optimistically tall pile of books for sale.
  10. Make yourself as big as possible by standing on the book.
  11. Slowly back away as the author ponders whether this might be a metaphor for something.


What to do in the event you wake up and you’re a mollusk

  1. Remain clam.
In case of emergency, sit on stock.

In case of emergency, sit on stock.


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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22 Responses to Emergency measures

  1. Best wishes on your launch, which is a funny word because it brings to mind catapults and yachts, both of which might be preferable to sitting at a table with a pile of books you’re trying to hawk. Will expect amusing after-action report. Your book is now sitting on my desk and is, as of yet, the only thing on my desk to ever be published. Good luck and have fun!

  2. pinklightsabre says:

    Small fish in an even smaller ponder. “Hi!” I like how you brought the bear thing around at the end with standing on the book to make yourself appear larger, that’s nice. All of it, classic Murray. Congratulations! Big days ahead for you, remember to look natural as you float on the other side of the glass blowing bubbles, blinking.

  3. Liquor would enhance all these scenarios, particularly the post-launch party when you are deciding what to do with all that money.

    Answer: Apple Crisp Cocktails

    1 part brandy
    2 parts apple cider
    2 parts champagne
    thin apple slices floating

    Remember, champagne is gluten-free.

  4. I just saw a play that takes place at a silent retreat. There’s very little dialogue between the characters, but the playwright was able to convey a plot and distinct personalities with just gestures. Pretty ingenious.

    As you may have read, Bruce Springsteen is also publishing a book this month. He’s doing a little promotion. At his books signings–and I’m not kidding–you are not allowed to talk to him. You get a signed book and . You can have your picture taken with him. It sounds harsh but I get it. Can you imagine if every single person had to sing his praises?

    Are you willing to talk to people?

  5. I will need some pictures of you in your competition gown, or did I misunderstand the purpose of Townshipper’s Day? Good luck on this adventure. I have my copy sitting on my bedside stand.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      You do misunderstand, but it’s forgivable. Townshippers are people (traditionally English-speaking people) in this part of southern Quebec called the Eastern Townships. An English support group (they don’t like lobby group) holds this event annually in different towns. Basically a fair but with no booze. Did I mention that Townshippers are conservative? I plan to warn them to prepare themselves for a curse word.

  6. byebyebeer says:

    Watched Revenant last night so your bear tips feel useful. Hope the signing goes well and you come away feeling good about it. Your book is next on my nightstand queue and I’m really looking forward to reading (and leaving a review).

  7. Paul says:

    Hilarious Ross! I’m behind in my reading – sorry. I wish you the very best in your book launch – may it break all records (positively). I had to laugh not only at your lists but at a memory from decades ago that came roaring back. I used to load gasoline at Suncor in Toronto. There was a small plexiglass 3-sided room at each loading station and in it were the loading meters, card swipes, emergency shut down, fire alarm and suppression button, and a small stand up desk that could be used for calculations or paperwork. The scourge of any hazardous materials loading platform is a spill. Each loading pipe ran at about 1,000 liters per minute and we were permitted 4 pipes at a time. That’s 4,000 liters per minute or a loading time for a B-train (two trailers) of about 14 minutes. You could put a lot of gas on the ground very fast if a mistake were made. The eventual outcome of a spill is often determined by the first acts taken when it starts. So, in the kiosk was a black lettered list prominently displayed of what to do in case of a spill. It looked just like one of your lists and started with:

    1. Engage Emergency Shut-Down of Plant
    2. In case of fire engage fire alarm and fire suppression system
    3. Secure site and ensure no engines are started or running
    4.Deploy spill containment materials
    5. Report to Facility Spill Officer

    One day I was loading and realized that someone had added to the list:

    11. Immediately after completing the above report to the nearest Unemployment Insurance Office.

  8. I’ll admit to spending a lot of my life thinking up detailed strategies for how I would deal with completely unrealistic emergency scenarios. If I’d known somebody else was going to cover all these scenarios I could have spent less time in class daydreaming and I’d probably be an engineer right now.

  9. calahan says:

    As a result of my dyslexia, I read Step 1 for each of these as ‘clam ramen’ and now I’m hungry. Is your book edible?

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