Observations on Perseverance and Y2K Preparedness

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There is a thread below recounting a tale of weariness with Y2K worry and telling of dropping out. Hopefully the poster is prepared and will simply move on to other areas of life, as should be the case. There must be balance.

Dropping out of sight after preparing is one thing. Giving up on preparing because it is unpleasant and trying is another. Now if, Y2K is disturbing your family unity, I'm not trying to interject. Only you can sense that and make the necessary calls. But I don't want anyone to give up preparing for the wrong reasons.

When I started college, two out of every three males I knew were in "Pre-med." All had excellent high school achievement. Some were very smart. The winnowing process began in the first semester, freshman year. Some began to cut classes. Some stayed out too late and missed the first 20 minutes of chemistry or physics. These guys weren't serious and were out of the competition after the first or second semester.

As time went on, things got tougher. By sophomore year, only about 40% of the same guys were still aiming for med school. The class cutters had fallen by the wayside. Now the competition got serious. The guys who spent four hours on a lab report got better grades than the guys who spent two hours. More fell by the wayside.

By junior year, the only guys in competition were all smart and hard working. But the grading curve got tougher every semester. You were now competing against the best of the best. Moreover, organic chemistry and physical chemistry were not topics that were easily learned. It became a true test of will power and perseverance. Other students were drinking and watching ball games and these guys were in the stacks staring at organic chemistry notes.

All along the way, their less studious peers were encouraging these guys to lighten up. Enjoy life. They were given derisive nicknames names related to their bookish behaviour. All the pressure was to give up. Their peers who had given up were especially interested in seeming them fail.

In the end, a small handful of these students were accepted into top flight medical schools. They were motivated internally and did not give in to the temptation. No one was tempting them to continue their work. The only temptation was to give up.

I'll stop the story now, because it's easy to take an analogy too far. The point is that y2k is not an easy thing or a quick thing. You've got to make decisions internally and act on those decisions. If you decide to forego preparation or curtail preparation, just make sure your doing it based on your best decision making. Don't curtail preparation out of weakness or lack or perseverance. Hard things are hard.

I'll end by quoting Homer Simpson agreeing with Bart's decision to give up his music lessons: "That's OK son, remember, if something is hard, it's not worth doing."

-- Puddintame (achillesg@hotmail.com), April 02, 1999


Wow, another fantastic kick-off thread! An inspiration to all!!!!!

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), April 02, 1999.

The med students know that, eventually, assuming they perservere & get good grades, etc., they WILL be doctors. It's pretty certain they won't end up flipping burgers or pumping gas.

No such assurance exists with Y2K. Your year-long preparations are at the mercy of MANY factors you can't control or prepare for. (The neighbor's house catches fire; yours is too close; it burns down; all your preps are gone. Some of our boys with machine guns order you out of your house; they ransack it, & cart you away to starve in some camp. A group of hoodlems tosses a molotov cocktail on your roof. A chemical spill/radiation leak/race riot a few miles away forces you out of your home. The sewage backs up & your home is in 6 inches of stink, & there's no clean water available to clean up. Etc. etc. etc.) My point is that while preparations are a good thing, they're by no means any kind of assurance. A really good student who works hard has a fairly predictable future. We don't. It's a craps shoot; your future's on the table, & you're not allowed to walk away.

-- well (thanks@anyway.doc), April 02, 1999.

What if some o those hard working and talented premed students had to quit because their overly concerned parents had pulled them out of school to spend their tuition money on a Generac 4000 top of the line back up generator and a basement full of stored food? The decision to prepare is one thng and the effect it has on others is another.

-- QuietMan (QuietMan@rocketmail.com), April 02, 1999.

Well, That's the most assinine post I've ever seen. Your an idiot. Well, maybe that's too nice. Go crawl in your morbid hole somewhere and do something to yourself.

-- You're (An@idiot.com), April 02, 1999.

The last time I checked, the Generac 4000 was $499.00, not exactly the price of tuition at a high priced medical school.


-- ExCop (ExCop@excop.com), April 02, 1999.

Puddintame, Why did you have to remind me about my D in Organic Chemistry in college?!

Sincerely, Apple

-- Apple (villarta@itsnet.com), April 02, 1999.

Never quit. If you quit, they(whomever they are)win. I learned that while in the naval nuclear power program. In high school I'd skated along never studying and had a 3.5GPA(4.0 scale). When I got in the Nav I worked my ass off. I put in 18 hour days for 6 days a week and 8 hours on the 7th day.My class started with 351 students and graduated 143.This was for the 1 year school. Upon qualification as a power plant operator the minimum passing grade on the final board certification was a 2.5. Hence the jingle,"Two five, survive". I had a 2.57.And I'd never worked harder for anything in my life.

Was I the brightest? No. Most dedicated? No. Bookish? no. Motivated? no.

But I had something a lot of the people, who on the surface had a better chance that I had, did not have. I NEVER GAVE UP. They did. End of game.Bottom line, they quit.

In my gut and from talking to others who have had similar experiences that's a truism. The ones who never quit usually succeed.

I told my son last fall while we were Elk hunting on the 6th day of walking all day with rifle and pack and no luck, " If it were easy then everyone would do it." It's not, it's damn hard work and when when an animal finally gives the gift of it's self to you the taste of the meat during a winter meal is indiscribable. And you are so grateful.

Preparing for unknown events is the same. Damn hard work with detractors on all sides. If it were easy...

NEVER GIVE UP.(We never got a shot off but there's always next year).


-- nine (nine_fingers@hotmail.com), April 02, 1999.

"...we were Elk hunting on the 6th day of walking all day with rifle and pack and no luck.... when an animal finally gives the gift of it's self to you the taste of the meat during a winter meal is indiscribable."

Touching story, but a bit odd. Put yourself in the Elk's place. Someone hunts you for 6 days. Do you finally choose to "give the gift of yourself" to them?

The whole point of your post is NOT to give up. Something's amiss here!

-- just a (bit@lost.here), April 02, 1999.

It helps if you're naturally are a stubborn 'ornery cuss who doesn't give a ......

-- Chris (griffen@globalnet.co.uk), April 02, 1999.

By the time your child is in medical school he or she better be able to think for him(her)self. A year ago, I explained the ramifications of Y2k to my child who happens to be a medical student. Next September, she'll be taking a one year leave of absence. Her decision, not mine.

-- Dr. Roger Altman (rogaltman@aol.com), April 02, 1999.

But what do you say to the people who's "prepare mode," has been deflated by all of the recent happy face news reports as well as derision from neighbors/family who say everything will be fine and they're just paranoid and wasting time and money? This is April 1999 and--with the exception of the mess in Kosovo--all seems well in the world, spring is in the air, etc.

-- Gearhead (2plus2@motown2.com), April 02, 1999.


Excellent observations. In medicine (and in the military), you often have to make decisions on incomplete/imperfect data. The best clinicians (and the best military minds) make the best decision they can and then act. I understand the tactical situation with Y2K. I realize the intel is spotty. I choose action versus inaction. The price of being wrong for acting is far less than being wrong for inaction. In medical practice, if a 50 year old patient is having chest pain, nausea and shortness of breath, they will be treated immediately for a presumed myocardial infarction (heart attack). You do not wait until you prove the diagnosis. By that time, it may be too late. If you are wrong and it turns out to be indigestion and anxiety, you are simply grateful.

-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), April 02, 1999.

"Never quit. If you quit, they(whomever they are) win."

"I NEVER GAVE UP. They did. End of game."

Nice sentiment, 9, but THIS ISN'T A F***ING "GAME", okay? And it isn't about "winning", a concept which seems to be embedded so deep in the American anus that we have to kill innocents in wars every so often to reassure ourselves about our "winner" status. "We never got a shot off but there's always next year."

Nice, touching story, in a sick kind of way (animals don't "give themselves as a gift" to you - if they did you wouldn't be toting that rifle), but totally off the mark... there will be NO "next year" for those who haven't prepared.

-- sparks (wireless@home.here), April 02, 1999.

I suppose there was a cultural precept which I failed to notice. I keep forgetting that I as a mongrel might have a different point of view with regard to the life which is the world. I'm not going to get into the Native American thing regardless of what my maternal grandfather taught me. Let me just say for the benifit of those of you who might not understand, yes the animal gives itself to you if you prove yourself worthy of the gift. And since I'm too much bound up with the European way insted of my peoples way my hunting skills are not what they could be. So please blow off the part of the post which might offend your BAMBIness. I'm sorry my respect of the wholeness of life has offended anyone. Consider it a religious thing an leave it at that.

And since my words about end game also offended, insert end effort in that slot.

-- nine (nine_fingers@hotmail.com), April 03, 1999.

Thanks sparks.

-- gilda jessie (jess@listbot.com), April 03, 1999.

Are we so wrapped up in ourselves, in our own little fish bowl-like worlds, that we can't give consideration to posters who tell stories which are outside our own experiences?

Think. Use the imagination. Open the heart. Ignore a post if you can't deal with it constructively. Why the hostility?

There are always going to be posters who rattle our cages. Some serve each of us by stretching our cognitive abilities to their limits. Many of these people have left this forum, in part, due to the vitriolic nature of personal attacks against them by folks who can't/won't exercise civility.

Nine is a valuable contributor here. Yet attacks were perpetrated upon him. Why? Because you don't share his experiences? Because you feel that you're beliefs are right & he's wrong? Why put someone down just to build yourself up?

It's not surprising to me so many of the Yourdonites who are able to think outside the box, & poked & prodded us to do likewise, have moved on.

I defend everyone's right to speak out. I just wish some people would realize we don't have to agree in order to be friends. And friends don't treat one another with disrespect.

For what it's worth...

-- Bingo1 (howe9@pop.shentel.net), April 03, 1999.

I'm with you on this one, nine.

I don't mean any condesention to any of you with opposing views.

However, until you have dealt with animals through either hunting or raising them, slaughtering, cleaning, preparing and eating them you really might not have the entire picture.

Again, I mean this with no disrespect but a lack of knowledge may be the operative thing here.

I'm also NOT aluding to any so called "good" in doing these things yourself. Just hoping to make the point that there IS something more to it than there is to just shopping at the store. (Although MaMa bear does seem to enjoy some sort of religious experience in shopping.)


-- Got Salt?

-- Greybear@home.com (greybear@home.com), April 04, 1999.

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