Happy Birthday Jackie Chan!

Do I really need to tell you who he is? He’s…he’s Jackie Chan.

His movie career started as a stuntman in movies starring some guy named Bruce Lee. After the untimely death of the world’s greatest Martial Arts movie star, studios were wanting the next big thing. Actually, they just wanted a carbon copy of Bruce Lee. But instead of the next Bruce Lee, Jackie gave them the first Jackie Chan. And the world is a better place because of him. Celebrate his birthday by watching one of his movies!

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The Cigarette Lighter

The weirdest experience I’ve ever had with a lighter was when I was eating breakfast at Braum’s (which is never a good idea) and a woman came up to the table where my friend and I were asked if either of us had a light. I said “yeah, I do, actually.” So she took it, promising to return it as soon as she was finished smoking her cigarette outside. It was like in the old movies when the gorgeous woman asks for a light and the properly prepared gent with the lighter offers to light it for her in the fancy nightclub…except nothing at all like that. This was at Braum’s.They serve greasy food and messy milkshakes. The floors are always dirty, the tables are always dirty, the air is dirty. I’m not a fan of that place. I do like their milkshakes. Back to the story. This lady wasn’t the diamond wearing doll-faced gal either. She was a customer at Braum’s. I didn’t want the lighter back. So my friend and I left.

That doesn’t really have anything to do with this post, except, perhaps, the fact that I don’t smoke. No one in my family smokes.

So why do I carry a cigarette lighter?

Fire has been vital to humanity since prehistory. Now that anyone can buy this power for a couple of dollars, everyone underestimates its significance.

Survival is impossible without fire. Like my last post states, I think having a handkerchief is important for survival. But you won’t last long at all without fire. I just saw Bear Grylls on television last night and he said to build a fire before searching for food and water. So I feel validated. And remember the Goofy Movie? If their car didn’t have a cigarette lighter, that can would’ve stayed cold. I don’t think they even make cars with cigarette lighters anymore. Another reason to have one in your pocket like me. And don’t think the wilderness is the only place you’ll ever need a lighter. Every year in most American states and most countries of the world, there’s something called winter. It gets cold. I’ve read stories of people getting stranded on highways during harsh winter nights and all they could do was take shelter in their broken down car until daylight. Fortunately, some of these people had emergency candles (which I also recommend) and cigarette lighters. That one little flame, with a window slightly cracked for oxygen, kept those people alive in temperatures well below freezing. By the way, I also keep a heavy blanket in my car at all times, and recommend you do the same.

I’ve had a few splinters in my life, and will get many more before I exit. To dig them out of one’s flesh, they need something small and sharp. Those small sharp objects need to be sterile. Running it through a flame is a great way to quickly purify the needle. Were you thinking of Lindsay Lohan in Parent Trap just then? I was. Sterilizing a needle is good for emergency surgeries in survival situations too, like when Jedediah Smith was mauled by a bear and his buddies had to sew his face back on. I hope that never happens to anyone reading this.

Maybe this was too generalized. I can’t think of anything else. I was hoping to have more for you.

If you happen to hear some beautiful music and you’re just moved to do it, you could pull out the lighter and wave it around to show your support…? I have no idea why people wave lighters at concerts. I did that one time when I was singing with a group of college students and got in trouble by one of them. She was an RA (I don’t know what they’re supposed to do. I think they’re hall monitors for college) and informed me that lighters were not allowed on campus. She could’ve fined me for having it on campus. I’m even allowed to carry a lighter onto an airplane. They don’t let me take fingernail clippers on the plane, but the lighter is okay. So I think I should be allowed to have a lighter on a college campus. But that’s not your problem. I place my paranoia of apocalyptic survival at a higher level of importance than their paranoia of my lighter.

I’m surprised by the numerous times I’ve used my lighter in everyday situations. Lighting birthday candles, revealing invisible ink, burning messages from secret agents, igniting fuses of smoke bombs, burning witches at the stake, burning copies of Twilight, etc. You’d be shocked by how much you use a lighter if you decide to get one yourself. I hope you know I was joking about all of those things in the last sentence. It’s hard to joke on the internet.

But almost every time someone sees my lighter, they ask “why do you have a lighter?” like it’s a bad thing.

Let’s recap. The reason for a lighter is for fire. Fire warms, protects, illuminates, cooks, boils, purifies. Fire is a foundational need for humanity. We have fancy gas-powered and electric lights and ovens and heaters, but these are less stable than we want to admit to ourselves. Having that little lighter in my pocket gives me a survival advantage that I won’t easily give up.

So the question should not be why do I have a lighter, but why don’t you?

The Handkerchief

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In my case, it’s usually a bandana. I keep one in my back pocket at all times.Do you want to know the best reason to carry one? Most people don’t. You don’t want to be most people, do you? I didn’t think so. It’s a simple addition to your accessories to help you live life more prepared than your peers. There are so many uses for a handkerchief/bandana. A gentleman should always have a handkerchief in his pocket. But apart from chivalrous etiquette, you may find yourself in a survival situation—either in the wilderness or on the streets—that calls for the wonderfully diverse tool that is the handkerchief.

Here are the top 7 survival uses for a handkerchief:

1. Straining Water

In case you’ve never been in the great outdoors for any extended amount of time, you may not be aware that water doesn’t come bottled in the wilderness. But it does come with dirt and sometimes parasites that can make you sick or even kill you. Before boiling water from a river, creek or lake to make it safe for drinking, straining it with your handkerchief will remove the debris and larger particles that make it yucky. I was camping by a river and used a handkerchief to strain the water for boiling and drinking. It was a little less brown than it had been. Still wasn’t thrilling to drink, but the handkerchief sifted out most of the stuff that made it brown. I repeated the filtering process a couple of times and the water was clearer every time. You can strain to your heart’s content.

2. Protection from the Sun

I’ve gotten a sunburn on the back of my neck more times than I can remember and it is a prime spot for skin cancer in the future. I often find myself in the sun for long periods of time without any warning, so the handkerchief provides a great layer of protection from the sun. If you don’t have hair on your head, it’s good for that too.

3. Sweat Band

Don’t you hate when sweat is dripping down your face and burning your eyes? Well, there’s a handkerchief for that.

4. Tourniquet/Bandage

…I know. But it could happen. You could be taking a leisurely stroll and suddenly get slashed by a shuriken from an enemy ninja…or something. I hope you never need to tie a handkerchief tightly around a limb to stop blood loss from killing you or someone else, but it’s a good idea to be prepared.

5. Tying Up Stuff

Tying up stuff. I think you can imagine needing to tie things in a survival situation or something. I don’t need to expand. Number 5 just looked lonely without more words underneath.

6. Face Mask

Not for robbing banks in the old west, but for simple basic air filtration for your mouth and nose. There are some pretty dusty places you could wind up in, and having that extra layer can make your breathing a lot more comfortable.

7. Container

Remember those old cartoons where a hobo (or bunny named Bugs) would travel with a stick over their shoulder? At the end would be a red bandana full of goodies tied to it.

 

There are many more uses for a handkerchief, and if you start carrying one, you’ll soon wonder how you lived without it. Did I mention the handkerchief could be used as a weapon? I probably shouldn’t…