Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This Little Light of Mine

by Pa Rock

The events of the past few weeks here in Japan have gotten me thinking about basic preparedness.  The necessaries that local announcements are stressing people should have on hand are plenty of bottled water, a battery-operated radio, and a good flashlight.  I always have a good supply of water, and I have a kick-ass flashlight, but I still need to come up with the radio.  They sell them in the PX, so I just need to get out make the purchase.

But it is my flashlight, or rather its batteries, that currently have my interest.  I have a really good flashlight, one of the long, black ones like the police use to intimidate vagrants and teenagers.  It is a four-cell job, meaning that it operates off of four "D" batteries.  I bought the flashlight six years ago just as I began working with the military, and while I have never had much need to use it, it has always worked when a need did arise.  So after the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, I tried it out and found that it was still working - on its original batteries!

I took the next logical step in basic survival strategy last weekend and purchased a new pack of four "D" batteries, figuring that they would get me through at least a couple of more years.  What a surprise I got when I opened the flashlight and examined the old batteries!  They were Duracell alkaline, the same as the replacements that I had just purchased.  There was no corrosion, and, in fact, the old batteries were as bright and shiny as the new ones.  And on each of the old batteries was printed in large letters the probable expiration date:  March of 2011!

And the expiration date on the new batteries?  March of 2017!

My cynical nature has led me to believe that much of what is offered up to consumers is intended for the briefest possible usage, because as more things break or wear out, more goods are sold.  What a shock to find that Duracell makes batteries that are intended to last half-a-dozen years!

My stockbroker should expect a call from Okinawa, Japan!  I've seen the light - and it is amazing!

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