YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE!!! and you only have… no wait… calm down! Don’t panic, put down the phone, un-dial 911 and relax; your house isn’t actually on fire…at the moment. Or maybe it is — how the hell would I know? If your house was on fire right now it’d be kind of weird for you to be reading this, not to mention extremely ironic.

No this is a somewhat metaphorical query based on a hypothetical situation. So, your house is on fire. If you don’t own a house, then your rental property is on fire. If you don’t own or rent, then the place you currently reside is on fire. If you don’t reside anywhere then you are a homeless drifter and this doesn’t apply to you… anywho…

Your house is on fire, everyone else (pets included) have made it out safely and you have just enough time to grab five items before you make your escape. What are the five items and why? Why five items? Because one is too easy, and five gives you options and makes you think. You can learn a lot about yourself if you honestly consider what’s important enough to risk death to retrieve.

Your house is on fire… again… you really must be more careful with those lilac and coffee scented citronella candles. Everyone else (pets included) has NOT made it out of the house safely. They have succumbed to smoke inhalation and are scattered throughout the residence. You only have time to save one! Who and why? Many refuse to answer, let alone even contemplate, this dire situation; the thought of such a scenario being too horrific to comprehend. In truth the first answer that pops into your mind is the honest one. With thought and fear of moral damnation, some give the worst answer: we would all just die together. Rest assured we will revisit this in a future column. For now let’s lighten the mood…

You’re on your way home (which is not on fire) and decide to take an alternate, less traveled route. You come upon a drug deal gone bad. Two cars, four bodies (dead ones), a briefcase full of drugs and a bag full of money (no less than $10,000) with no witnesses. Now some may take the noble course and contemplate doing the “right thing” and immediately notify the authorities… BORING!!! It’s far more mentally engaging to consider what you would take away from the scene, who you would tell and how you would distribute acquired goods (some may take the drugs too). Remember you can’t just pop up with a huge sum of cash without raising questions. Maybe you could take an extended vacation.

Your plane has crashed on a deserted island. The only other survivor is…now at this point most people play the game of “who would you want to be trapped on a deserted island with.” But we don’t care to hear about your island fantasy with Scarlett Johansen or Aqua-man. No, the only other survivor is the person you despise most in this world and they have two broken legs. Rescue is certain, but no one knows how many survivors there are… or will be. Yeah, you went to a dark place for a moment there; that only ascertains your humanity and brings thoughts of a different type of “island fantasy.” Let’s go with the fantasy aspect as we consider other more fantastic plots.

Suddenly, without precedent or warning, you and the objects in the immediate room around you, or the room itself, are transported to a different desolate place on the map. Desert, arctic or woodland settings appear around you. What would you do and how could you survive or make shelter with the items on hand? This not only opens a venue for discussion but is a fun game to play with yourself when there’s nothing going on. It’s certainly more challenging and engaging than the next level of Candy Crush. Which there is no time for because…

It’s the initial stages of an impending Zombie Apocalypse (like you didn’t see that one coming). You have just enough time to recruit and form your survival team. You can pick five people you know to fill out your team- who and why?

You are bitten by a werewolf or vampire (which would you prefer is an entirely different scenario to add in). With the curse (the cool not dramatically tragic kind) your immortality is insured. Who would you choose to infect and allow to join you as a creature of the night? Keep in mind this is for forever!

Now we could go on forever with various such practical as well as phantasmagorical situations. As a writer I enjoy coming up with such scenarios as it makes for an entertaining side hobby. Not only does it explore new article ideas and venues, but it opens up discussions to new areas of thought and challenges the mind to think. You can learn a lot about people from their responses, as well as gain a deeper understanding for one’s self in the way you present, create and answer. Perhaps if we understood ourselves better we could be better people and help others to better themselves, as well. Or at least learn they’d save Mr. Snuggle-muffin, their pure-bred Pekingese, before they did their spouse.

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or email me at [email protected] .

Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!