WRITING: Boiling Frogs (An Index Card Novel)

Boiling Frogs (An Index Card Novel)

The boiling frog story is generally told in a metaphorical context, with the upshot being that people should make themselves aware of gradual change lest they suffer eventual undesirable consequences. This may be in support of a slippery slope argument. It is also used in business to illustrate the idea that change needs to be gradual to be accepted. The expression “boiling frog syndrome” is sometimes used as shorthand for the metaphor.


The fat old white man wasn’t that fat, that old, but definitely that white. A decade away from social security, medicare, and a pension. But up close and personal, another pink slip. Last one was four years ago; took a year to find a job at 20% less salary, less benefits, less time off, and a lot less dignity. Each time, he’d take another bad hit. Savings went. Retirement accounts went. Market losses and withdrawals left him with nothing.

He wasn’t stupid. He prepared. He was ready with a basement ‘bomb shelter’; not like in the stories, not like in the press, not like it cost fortunes. He could hold a dozen very good friends. No showers. Water tightly rationed, Food severely limited. Cost was next to nothing. No fancy expensive radiation stuff. A wind up clock and they’d stay “sheltered” for 7 weeks. More than that and they were “cooked” anyway. A wind up alarm clock, a calendar, and a pencil. That was his radiation detector.

If the asteroid hit, if the pandemic hit, or the seas rose / fell, he was screwed.

If he needed a gun when he got out, he had two rifles, two shotguns, and two 1911s. He had about a 1,000 rounds for each. Couldn’t afford the time to practice or the cost. He figured to bluff his way around.

If the grid collapsed, he did have the wind up radio / flashlight that he got with a magazine subscription.

If the infrastructure failed, did have some foods stocked. Maybe two weeks. Maybe four. He wasn’t big on planning; he’d forage from the empty stores like in the stories.

If the banks collapsed, he had two ounces of silver and ten tenths of gold. That would have to do.


The Shumer never did hit the fan.

At least not the way the stories predicted it. No dramatic event. No heroic speeches. No groups pulling together. No ravaging gangs of JBTs (Jack Booted Thugs) or MZBs (Mutant Zombie Bikers). Just a more boring life, but still deadly. To life and the spirit. Death of a thousand cuts. More than that. The sure and steady drip drip drip of financial water torture.

The bubble, after the bubble, after the bubble, just keep appearing and popping. Each time, the pop left a residue of poop to be cleaned up. The political powers that were in charge promised that the next law, regulation, or diktat would prevent it from ever ever happening again.


Interest rates hovered around 17%. The combined federal, state, and city tax rates varied from 80 to 90%. And there were a ton of sin, excise, import, export, and nuisance taxes. Corporate taxes were 65%; any business that could move did.

The world left the dollar for the IMF Special Drawing Rights. The local fiat currency was left to float to its proper worth. The global bankers had nothing intrinsic to hang value on. They mapped an SDR to basket of commodities that traded on the world’s markets. Commodity prices skyrocketed. No surprise there. Oil was priced in SDRs. That completed the dollar’s downfall. With the USA’s dollar collapsing, international trade went elsewhere. The USA borrow and spend was history.


The fat old white man, as well as all the not so old, never worked professionally again. He did get some work at Target, WalMart, and McDonalds. Each week, the minimum wage would go up and all the employees would be laid off or made part-time.

His best success was as a smuggler. Cigarettes, booze, prescription drugs, silver. You name it he’d smuggle it. He even found a little niche.

He’d read the Stainless Steel Rat as a kid. He tried to think like a roach.

It was a sad life. Shortened by stress, poor food, and gooferment healthcare.


TSHTF doesn’t have to be a “big event”. You can be “boiled” like that proverbial frog.

No one plans for a non-event.

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