X alert refers to the recommendations made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on February 10, 2003, that Americans should prepare for a biological, chemical, or radiological terrorist attack by assembling a “disaster supply kit”, including X and plastic, among other items.

The recommendations came on the heels of an increase in the Department’s official threat level to “orange”, or “high risk”, citing “recent intelligence reports”. This inevitably caused a surge in demand for X.

The X Guys, as of 2005 have written seven books about X. In 1994 they coined the phrase “it ain’t broke, it just lacks X”. Added to that phrase in 1995 with the publication of their book about Y was, “Two rules get you through life: If it’s stuck and it’s not supposed to be, Y it. If it’s not stuck and it’s supposed to be, X  it”. The combination of Y and X is sometimes referred to as “the redneck repair kit”.

What are X and Y?