When the decision was made by headquarters to ship all of our paper files that were five or more years old into underground storage, I thought, well, we’ll never see those files again. On occasion files were pulled from storage, alleviating my fears about them being gone forever.
Later we shifted to completely electronic filing and the days of my lifting armloads of heavy files and placing them into their slots in the big metal file cabinets had ended. That really simplified my job so that all I had to do was to scan a document and then name it, and put it into a client folder on the computer, and after reviewing it to be sure it was a good scan, readable and clear, send the actual paperwork to be shredded. We can put as much material as we like into a file and it will never fill up a space too much, unlike our constant problem with the paper files. The reason is that all of these files are in cyberspace, so they are not taking up physical room in our office.
Every now and then I have pangs of dread about shredding important papers, even though they are scanned. What if a coronal mass ejection did a number on our magnetic fields and disrupted the electricity that we are so addicted to in today’s society? What if some cyber- attack from some insidious super creeps threw our grids out of whack?
Toby, one of the advisors that I work for said, “They learned a lot from 9/11 and even more from the damage done by Hurricane Katrina…there are back up copies of all important data, and not in big cities and business hubs…” That was a relief to hear. I said, but what if a grid was out for ten years, would they be able to retrieve the data and know what to do with it? He just shook his head and quoted some comedian saying, “… what if all the smart people left?” Then we’d be in real trouble. It reminded me of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which indicated how quickly people backslide into less than civilized behavior.
Still, modern cars all run via computers, even pumping gas is computerized, and never mind the actual business of getting food and other necessities. Once upon a time I preached about stocking the larder, just in case. However, what I have found in recent years is that the quality of food in cans does not hold up the way it did a few generations ago, so it is almost pointless to try to keep things long term.
Worrying in advance is certainly an exercise in futility, though it makes sense to try to brace for what may happen in the future. If nothing catastrophic occurs, then one just has a full pantry and needs to use things from oldest to newest to make best use of the purchases. I could live with that.