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Thursday, April 8, 2010

TEOTWAWKI vs. Do Nothing

I have a confession to make: I’m not a survivalist.

I preach the preparedness message, have a go-bag at home and work, and almost always keep three days of food and water standing by in case that freak Arizona hurricane that everyone says is impossible finally makes landfall.

But if the bad stuff hit the fan – I mean, really, really hit the fan to the point that societal breakdown is imminent – and I was forced to live off the land, well, let’s just say the zombies better be satisfied with pork butt roasts because the only thing my land offers me is an awesome smoker. And it’s ready for The End Of The World As We Know It.

I hope the readers who are in the same boat as me share some sense of self-recognition. I further hope the die-hard survivalists who know which wild roots can be harvested for protein and which ones have paralyzing venom have already crossed my address off their lists of places to pillage. Nothing to see here.

These are obviously two extremes, if being prepared can have extremes: There’s me and others like me who grasp the basics necessary to get through three days. Then there are those who might rule the world with how well they are prepared.

I don’t say that last line in jest. Knowledge is power, and the knowledge necessary to live free from all the conveniences we enjoy, like electricity, instant cash, stocked grocery stores, and filled gas stations to name a few, has disappeared from our collective skill set. It’s saved by a few who rightfully call themselves survivalists.

Worse yet, we don’t seem to encourage learning those skills anymore. Sure, my contemporaries and I can recite the three steps to being better prepared for an emergency but I’m the last person to talk to if you want to learn how to live like Johnny Rambo in one of our neighboring national forests.

(The scene in "First Blood" where Rambo jumps out of a tree and ambushes a javelin always elicits cries of, “We’re having ham hocks tonight!” in my house. Believe me, it was funny the first time someone yelled it during movie night on my ship on Mediterranean Cruise 1983.)

I’m not sure what inspired this spurt of survivalist confessionalism. The quake that bounced me around a bit in my car on Sunday might have something to do with it. Then I came across one of many Web pages that list the 100 items to disappear first during a national emergency, and it occurred to me that being prepared is an investment.

More sobering, the biggest investment would be the time it takes to recover after a disaster. If I survived one.

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