April 20, 2010


It is 2:30 AM. You are sound asleep. Everyone else in your home is away on this night. You are all alone. In the middle of a dreamless sleep, a heavy pounding on the front door, a distant glow of red pulsating through the curtains and in the distance, the sound of a wailing siren gets louder. You can smell something acrid on the air and your heart leaps into your throat as you struggle from deep sleep to confused consciousness and try to make sense of the noise and the feeling of panic assaulting your senses. You can barely make out the loud voice at the front door yelling, "Fire!" You take a deep breath in the hopes of finding some calm and creating some sense from this place of unreality and your throat fills with the taste of smoke and you involuntarily begin to cough and grab at a bathrobe hanging on the back of the bedroom door.

Another breath, through your nose this time and some of the smoke smell is filtered out and you begin to regain some semblance of common sense - you begin to think, "What do I need to do?" You listen more carefully to the voice at the front door warning you to leave your house immediately, the entire structure is engulfed and you need to get out immediately. Another shallow breath and you realize that you have a few seconds to save what is most important to you. Your family, pets included, are safe. It is only yourself and a house full of things.

The question is, in these few seconds, what do you take with you? A wallet or purse - OK, but what else. If you have 60 seconds to rescue what is most important from your years on this earth, what would you take?

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