Tag Archive for: public works

Dystopian Games

You’re stuck in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with 8
strangers and no food or water, who do you eat first?
Dystopian novels have held a prominent place on our National
reading lists for the last few years and while I occasionally enjoy a jaunt into the
horrific futures that we could create for ourselves they don’t really speak to
me.  To me they frequently seem like the
ultimate lifeboat game. While occasionally it’s fun to work through the logic
of how to survive in a treacherous situation, the real answer to any lifeboat
game is to not get stuck in the lifeboat in the first place. 
I was reminded of this principle recently when I visited a
conference for my day job (graphic design). The conference was for public works
personnel (AKA everyone who keeps your city functioning) and their lunch
speaker spoke on how their department had handled an earthquake.  From personnel rotation, calling in
reinforcements, clearing roadways, reviewing housing safety, clean up – this department
moved swiftly with the goal of maintaining safety and returning their town to
normal in the shortest amount of time possible (and they did a great job).  But having just read a dystopian novel I was
struck by the realization that not one person in the room was thinking… “Bob, I’d
eat Bob.”  They weren’t playing the game –
they were strategizing about how to not get stuck on the lifeboat.

All of this led to four thoughts.  One – I’m incredibly grateful for our public
works personnel.  From sewer maintenance,
to bridge engineers, to water management, they deserve more recognition than
they get.  Two – All of you great public
employees are screwing up a perfectly good dystopian plot line RIGHT NOW.   We’re not supposed to be coming together to
overcome a natural disaster and working for the common good!  Come on, people.  Where is the divisive hatred and the reaching
for the shotguns? That’s it; I’m breaking out the zombies.  Bob is going to be dinner if I have to have
three plot contrivances before breakfast.  Three – We as society need to invest more in
infrastructure.  And four – Because we
don’t invest more in infrastructure we all need to have 3 days to 2 weeks of
supplies on hand depending on where you live. 
Be prepared. Don’t let a dystopian novel happen to you.
Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie
Mae Mysteries
, Wild Waters, Tales
from the City of Destiny
and An
Unseen Current
You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video
or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.