As a newshound, I have watched the debt ceiling negotiations with particular interest in the hope that I would have a chance to weigh in and a.) make fun of people who make a lot more money than me, and b.) show that I am a superior person by pointing out the one credible solution to the whole mess.

Unfortunately, I'm not that smart to begin with and besides, the whole mess is too sad to be very funny. 

Let's face it, watching our national elected officials bicker over whether to cut spending and run the country into the ground today, or to pull their hat down over their eyes, hit the throttle and run into an iceberg tomorrow, just wasn't that entertaining.

In a way, it was like watching Muhammad Ali fight Trevor Berbick or Michael Jordan play baseball. Yeah, both men were still better than average, but it was a far cry from those glorious moments in their prime.

The fact that some of the so-called leaders have reached a so-called agreement only heightens the comparison. I'm glad it's over, but I feel cheated somehow.

Luckily, over the years I have been preparing for the day when the economy falls apart and we all go back to a hunter/gatherer way of life. Not that I have ever for a moment considered it would happen.

I've just got a weird habit of backwardness, inspired no doubt because I'm really cheap, and also because my father is really cheap. The first time I ever drove into town on my own was in a horse-drawn buggy. It was 1994, and dad was nice enough to draw me a little map of all the back roads so I wouldn't run into traffic. I was pretty excited too, because it sure beat pushing that old wheelbarrow with the headlight on the front.

Anyway, one of the many, mostly useless hobbies I've picked up is building my own archery equipment. I started carving my own bows from tree branches about eight years ago because I couldn't bring myself to pay for a nice recurve.

The first six years of my new hobby, my parents didn't have to pay for firewood. They just used scraps from all my broken bows. The key, I have found, to making bows is to get a rubber chicken, fill it with sand, and then ask the first biker gang you meet to whack you across the face with it. It's a lot less painful and time consuming.

Eventually, of course, I did manage to build a few bows that worked, and having mastered that skill, I immediately moved on to another useless skill: building arrows.

The first step of building arrows is quite easy. Just find a relatively straight stick that's a little bigger around than a pencil. Then glue some feathers on one end. This is a rough guide, but with a little practice you should have figured out where you can just buy arrows, saving yourself the trouble of trying to pluck your neighbors chickens in the dark.

The hard part of building arrows is making the arrowhead. First, find a softball sized, or larger, piece of obsidian stone. Next find a biker gang ... well you get the idea. If you, like me, are determined to actually make your own stone arrows, be warned: Obsidian is bloody sharp. I say bloody sharp because I have yet to make a successful arrowhead without bleeding.

I hate to think what would happen if I hadn't been wearing welding gloves. Of course, I don't mind bleeding if I can leverage the injury into sympathy from my wife.

I've noticed she gets less sympathetic every year, and because obsidian flakes are so sharp, my cuts always heal before I can race back to the house to show my sweetie how difficult and dangerous my new hobby is.

“Where's the cut? You mean that little scrape?” she asks, pointing to a section of my finger that, honest to goodness, moments ago served as a spigot for roughly a quart of my blood.

Like bowyery, I finally managed to flake out a few roughly-arrow-shaped stone fragments, and wedge them on the end of my arrows. Then I stood back and surveyed all I had made: a black locust bow and three wild rose shaft arrows with turkey fletching and obsidian points.

 For the life of me my collection of hunting paraphernalia looked like the leftovers of a barroom fight that took place in a chicken house. My wife won't even let me keep the items in the house, on the chance that it could all come back to life and terrorize our family. That, or it doesn't match our home décor.

Either way, I sure hope this debt crisis business comes to a close soon, because I'd like to quit worrying about how I'm going to support my family in the new stone-age. I may take up a new hobby, like sitting still for long periods of time. I hear it is recommended for blood loss. 


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