The Book: Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht, THE WORST-CASE SCENARIO SURVIVAL HANDBOOK. Chronicle Books softcover, 1999 (20th printing). Book is badly coffee-stained at edges.
First read: 2000
Owned since: 2000
I know this book was a gift, and I'm embarrassed that I can't remember who gave it to me -- it might have been my mother, it might have been one of my siblings, it might have been Anna. If you gave me this book, speak up so I can thank you again.
This book spawned a mini-industry of "Worst Case Scenario" books, but this remains the original and the best. Among other things, it tells you how to survive if you're in the line of gunfire (which would have been handy when I lived in downtown Washington); how to take a punch; how to perform a tracheotomy; and how to land a plane when the pilot is disabled. Some of it is tongue-in-cheek (few of us will ever need to dodge a charging bull, or leap from a motorcycle to a car), but a lot of it is valuable advice (what to do in an earthquake, how to use a defibrillator, how to deal with a downed power line).
"How to drive in snow" is not an entry in this book, although it does tell you what to do for frostbite (direct heat is a bad idea; thaw the area slowly with warm compresses or warm water, but only if there's no risk of refreezing). Against all my expectations, I managed to fly back from Los Angeles to Portland yesterday, and the worst part of the trip was the drive home. Roads were messy but not icy, but visibility was so bad that I could not see the cut for my exit, and had to drive all the way to Augusta and double back.
It's still snowing lightly today, but I've already ventured out once (to pick up Dizzy) and will have to go out at least twice again. Tonight is Gaslight Theater's annual meeting, 6:30 at Hallowell City Hall -- all are welcome, so if you're in the area, get the four-wheel-drive in gear.