Mike Causey, special to wtop.com
WASHINGTON - How do you plan to survive the coming troubles? What if the poles switched tomorrow and you found your Annandale home somewhere in the Tasmania ZIP code?
Could you handle it?
Talk about a commute.
But still, you should prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
I have a friend who has been buying -- and hiding -- gold bars for the last dozen years. I also know someone whose parents have stashed more than a million bucks (at today's prices) in precious metals to be used when the economy collapses.
This all begs the question:
Do you have a rainy day plan? A strategy when the economy collapses, or when an earthquake splits the U.S. in half? How about if a meteor the size of Georgetown hits Iceland? Or Tysons Corner?
What if we are buried by hyperinflation? What if your money is suddenly worth nothing?
Julia Z., a colleague, has a grim reminder of what inflation can do. Pinned on the wall in her cube is a $1 billion bill from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. At the time it was issued, I think she said it would buy a Coke.
Gold is good, of course, but what happens if money is no longer acceptable and all deals were in gold? Would you take a gold bar or a Krugerrand to the 7-Eleven and trade it for beer and pretzels?
The key is to invest in something cheap and plentiful now, but in the not-to-distant-future will become very rare, in high demand and more than worth its weight in platinum.
I have heard of a guy in Georgetown who has a basement full of Billy Beer (produced and sold by the brother of former President Carter) waiting for it to become a must-have collectible. I have a relative who thought the future coin-of-the-realm was in Beanie Babies. He told friends and family members that his wife loved them (she didn't) and to make sure she got some for birthdays, Christmas, etc.
Last I heard, he was guarding the collection for her. She still hates them.
You may be wondering about my plan. What am I doing to ride things out if the government collapses or Yellowstone blows its lid?
One word: Justin Bieber.
Actually that's two words, but one word sounds so much more dramatic.
What I've done is corner the market on "Brush Buddies," the Justin Bieber singing toothbrush. They were once available at Rite Aide and CVS, and I cleverly snapped up most of them for $9.99.
I don't have all of them. Nobody could be that lucky, but I think I have most. There are actually two models, including the one in which Justin sings "Baby" while massaging your molars, then kicks into "U Smile" while you are polishing your incisors.
The toothbrushes each come with a fully installed battery. To test my collection, I played "Baby" and it worked. I could dance to it. It would probably sound better if it wasn't coming from a throbbing toothbrush.
I removed the batteries in the rest of my stash (I'm not stupid!) to avoid corrosion. Besides, by the time these become collectors items, batteries may also be museum pieces.
My next step is to wait. I have foresaken any social life as part of my research. I watch "Antiques Roadshow," "American Pickers" and "Pawn Stars" whenever they are on. The first time one of these rare "Brush Buddies" shows up, and is appraised, I am on my way.
Inflation, insurrection and global warming don't bother me.
I've got a near-monopoly on an item that -- when its day comes -- will sell like hotcakes. And for big bucks.
Time is on my side.
How many investors can say that with complete confidence?
Mike has spent the majority of his life inside the Beltway and has an interesting and humorous perspective that he will share every Wednesday. Mike has spent his career covering the federal government for the Washington Post and now for Federal News Radio.
Mike also writes a daily column for Federal News Radio.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)