The question isn't whether you can handle lesser problems.
There has been, in fact, no problem in my lifetime that wasn't solvable entirely with nothing more than a couple of month's worth of greenbacks in an envelope from the safe. Not once, in half a century on this planet.
So if that's all you're worried about, all you need in life is a .45, and a pallet of cash, right?
So how does that work for you in 1912, when the Titanic is going down?
Does the pallet float? How fast can you paddle with the .45?
What about a bit earlier, say 1906, in San Francisco? What do you do with the cash and the .45 when there's no food, the city's in rubble, and most of it is on fire? How fast can you load it onto a wagon to get out of town, and where do you find a wagon in a city in rubble at that point?
Or it's 1980.
Point your .45 at the cloud of earth, volcanic ash, and molten lava flying your way at several hundred MPH. To show it who's boss, right? Then, take that pallet of cash and go hire a bulldozer to start clearing the debris off your property down the valley.
Or it's 1992, and you're in Los Angeles one day when suddenly the local hooligans have decided it's free TVs and Nikes Day. Hopefully they don't notice your pallet of cash, and you've stocked up on ammo, because all sales of .45s and ammo have been suspended until further notice, there's a curfew, and troops with machineguns are patrolling the streets.
So, how well can you beat out the flames of your house with those bundles of cash?
Or you're in Nawlins in August of 2005 when Katrina traps you there, and dammit, the local authorities are knocking on your door to take away your .45.
Or you're minding your own business in Berlin in 1923, and your pallet of cash is worthless except for toilet paper or fire kindling, and they don't have any .45 ammo anyways.
And a Luger and some 9mm would cost you three more wheelbarrows of reichsmarks than you managed to accumulate before 3PM, when the prices for everything tripled again since 2PM.
Or you're in Joplin MO in 2011, when the F5 hits, so now your .45 is embedded a foot thick in the trunk of a hickory tree, and will now shoot around corners; the house is coming down in the direction of Springfield, and the pallet of cash is drifting in lazy circles in the vicinity of Branson.
So, just maybe, things can get that bad.
And maybe you might want to shoot a back azimuth, realize that a .45 and a pallet of cash aren't always going to solve all your problems, and you make other plans.
If you're thinking the Titanic can't sink, think again.
If you think you can plan for an inconvenience, and bootstrap that half-assed preparation into making due when it meets an actual disaster, you're going to get stuck on stupid when that doesn't work out for you.
You can make preparations for a 50-year flood, and do all right, in most cases. Until a 100-year flood hits.
Sometimes, preparedness means going the extra mile. Or maybe all it would take, is going the extra 10 feet.
With all those people from South Gibsmedat, whose EBT cards aren't working, and you never met before because they ride the bus, if they go to work at all, while you've driven yourself to work forever.
Enjoy your new multicultural diversity lesson, pardner.
And BTW, it was 11 days to get power back after the '94 quake, and there was a "boil all water" order in effect for a full month. (It smelled funky and over-chlorinated for far longer.) Some rural areas of the country waited a lot longer than that to get power or water back after last fall's hurricanes, and routinely do so each and every time.
Best of luck with the "Just Barely Enough" preparations for 66%, 75%, or 90% of potential problems.
Because, hey, after all, the guy who refused to leave the shadow of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 is still there. Somewhere. Under the millions of metric fucktons of earth on top of him.
Maybe in centuries to come someone will find him, and put what they find of him in a museum, as a curiosity. Evacuating the week before would have cost him all of a quarter-tank of gasoline, at 1980 prices, and motel rent. But if you're that stupid, or just plain tired of living, you're probably not reading this anyways.
Yes, lots of littler things are going to come along, and being able to handle them is a good idea. But if nothing really bad was going to happen ever, no one would have invented liferafts, parachutes, air bags, or fire extinguishers.
If "That's not likely to happen" is really just code for "I'm too lazy to consider possibilities that inconvenience me, so I'll just whistle as I pass the graveyard to keep the spooks away from me", well...you just keep rocking on the front porch while the mountain rumbles.
Grab your camera. Go down to the shore. Look at how low the tide is.
Those sirens are probably just testing the system.
And, say...how fast and how far can you run in six minutes? Just asking...