Sep 13, 2005

waiting for the apocalypse

My friend Tonynet says don't rely on the government to save your ass in times of crisis. I went through the exact line of thinking during Katrina as he did. In fact I've thought about these types of events a lot. It's the way my whole family thinks. We're all risk averse. While my last post focused on how when things are bad, they are never as bad as you think. It's also true I'm a bit of a fatalist when things are good. In other words, when things are good, they are never as good as you think.

Our daily lives are filled with things that are extremely fragile and that we take for granted. For example, the thought that law and order is largely prevalent in our daily lives. That all my savings locked up in stocks and bank accounts are at my disposal when I desire. That my claim to my apartment (beyond what the bank owns) stands. That electricity and clean water come out of their respective outlets in my apartment 99% of the time. That the grocery store down the road has food and I can purchase it. But I'm not entirely blind to the concept that not much has to happen (however unlikely) for all of these things to vanish. I'm extremely well prepared for things like Katrina but something more global or national could be different. I'm completely aware that we are animals and will revert to behaving like animals when backed into a corner. You can look with disdain at how some people acted during Katrina but I'm sure a large portion of them were in pure survival mode with no 'assets' at their disposal other than guile.

If all those luxuries above were to vanish - life savings, ability to get shelter, warmth, food, and water - would I get by? The biggest thing I would lose however is that once we're reduced to savages I don't have a whole hell of a lot of useful skills to get around. I would go from someone in demand to someone figuring out how to get by. I'm an engineer. I can do business development. I can pick stocks. I cannot however skin an animal. Hunt. Build shelter. Find clean water. Hell I got kicked out of the boy scouts when I was 14. I missed that whole 'making fire' thing. Millions of men in this country are fire creating experts and I'll be scrounging for matches. If the 'apocalypse' does come (meteor hitting, the plague, etc.) I'm not exactly the most useful person in the world. I'm thinking the Amish probably get some comeuppance at this point. And the Montana Freemen probably get a laugh too.

But there are things I could do that don't cost much nor take a lot of time. Stock away potable water and food. Matches! Read a short book on basic survival skills. Have a plan if x, y, or z happens. How many of you want a gun and want to know how to use it now after Katrina? It's fatalistic but it doesn't take much energy to do these things. But then again, I probably won't.

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