Food, camping supplies, and firearms with ammo. Sad thing? You can buy all of this at Wal-Mart in one trip.
May 29, 2012
The last few weeks, I’ve spent a little time researching disaster scenarios and post-apocalyptic plans from everything from FEMA to hard-core survivalists. I’ve seen places that buy emergency food stashes and companies that will turn that nice home of yours into an armored fortress with a secret underground level that will sustain you and your loved ones for months after the bombs drop.
Of course, it’s not all survivalist fringe cases. I’ve also been looking at documentaries on real-life disasters and looking up how people survive in a place without resources, everything from water to total anarchy resulting from a collapsed government or even a collapsed biosphere. I’ve been doing this for two reasons: the upcoming post-apocalyptic RPG I’m running and a story I’m thinking of expanding into a full-blown novel. Mary has also been outlining a story that takes place after a so-far-undisclosed catastrophe. All in all, it’s been very informative.
I’ve also grown to expect the complete collapse of society at any moment.
Our finances are in the toilet, we’re using 99% of the available growing space on Earth and can’t feed everyone, the environment is heading downhill, and interconnectivity has made us more vulnerable to a world-wide catastrophe than ever before. In a way, I understand the people who hoard food and bullets. There are courses for teens, parents, people in urban areas, etc. Some of the things these sites suggest make sense. If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, for example, keep plenty of food and water and other supplies in case of a prolonged scenario.
I understand all that. It’s a scary world.
What I still don’t understand is the mentality that this sort of preparation must be done 24/7. I’ve come across more than a few sites and books that all made the claim that we need to disaster-proof every aspect of our lives. We should hoard water and food and guns and bullets RIGHT NOW. Everything we do must be geared towards survival.
I’ll admit that knowing what to do in a disaster and being prepared are one thing, but I’m not about to spend my life getting ready for something that may never happen. I would rather have preparations to survive and live than prepare for something that may never happen. Glenn Beck made a living out of telling people they had to prepare for the impending holocaust that liberalism would bring. In uncertain times, people can easily pitch relief, information, or affirmation.
My take on all this? Have a plan, have supplies, know what to do, and then go out and live.
With that said, I’m going to leave you with a little music for the end of the world. Enjoy.
The apocalypse has been a recurring topic in the office lately.
I’ve been doing research for an upcoming game. It’s set decades after a failed alien invasion, and though I wrote about it last year and we gamed for several weeks, my players asked me to restart it. I’ve been doing a little research because we’re going to do new characters and the setting will also be different in order to take the story and game to the next level.
That being said, I’ve been looking back at my notes and seeing the kinds of things this group of cryogenically-frozen would have been given before getting shunted into the future. I also need to familiarize myself with the kinds of things a post-apocalyptic society needs in order to run.
You know what? That’s a lot of stuff. Also, I know wish I had an NBC-proof bunker stocked with food and weapons.
The research, though, has helped me flesh out the world as it exists decades after the invasion. I’ve looked at survival kits, bunker designs, and what cities would do without a hundred years of human maintenance. Not only am I seriously considering hoarding food and toilet paper now, but I’ve re-learned that society needs a LOT to keep functioning. The lists of supplies could easily fit in a book. The sheer number of medical supplies is enough to stock a hospital, even if you cut the list down to the things you could expect a well-stocked team to carry around. In a perfect world, I could use all this information to create a very rich, textured world full of possibilities.
I’m not going to do that, though.
Then why do all the research, you may ask? Why not use all this information?
I’m not going to use all of it because it would be a waste of notes. When my players ask me what they find when they raid a medical base or a hospital, for example, I’m going to give them a general idea and if they need something specific, we’ll just assume they have it. I’m not going to keep track of individual aspirins. The game is supposed to be fun and move along, not concern itself with the minutiae of inventory. The game should be about making it past the next flooded section of the city, finding that weapon stash before the bullets run out, or evading the aliens hunting them for food.
That same kind of research is also essential in writing. I have pages upon pages of research on Charcoal Streets, for example. The mythology is extensively written and based on two thousand years of Christian mythology and legend.
However, I’m not going to put everything I find on the page. For example, I refer to Carmen as one of the Fallen Sons (or daughters) because the nephilim, half-human, half-angels, are cited as having existed before Noah’s flood. I figured such a title would be indicative of a race of people who were shunned by Heaven. Likewise, Carmen usually uses Glock pistols. I chose these guns because earlier models had interchangeable parts and someone like Carmen could use this to her advantage. Likewise, Glock pistols have a slender profile an assassin could use to her advantage. Plus, I think they look cool and, since many government agencies use them, they evoke professionalism.
I know all this, but it’s not going to go on the page.
Research is a tool to figure out what kinds of details should go into your writing. It’s the thing that lets you know if there are mountains near your city and if they once had mines you can use as a location for your epic final confrontation. Research lets you know the kinds of supplies post-apocalyptic survivalists would hoard. You don’t NEED to show all this, though, but it’s important to know how and why.
Think of research as the practice before an athletic competition. You get all the kinks out and figure out what kinds of moves and warm-ups to do before the big game. Once game day rolls around, you just do it and it makes sense.
Hey, the End is here, right? Might as well jump on the bandwagon. Millions will be left behind, and if you’re the sort of person that likes to have people listen to him or her, this is your chance to shine.
If you’ve got access to a fortified position, plenty of water, and food, you could easily attract looters of all sorts, but why not beat them to the punch by claiming to hear messages from on high and draw some easily-duped fools to perform your every whim? On this one, I’m a bit screwed since water’s already pretty scarce and I live in an apartment, but the rest of you that may live near lakes and rivers and have plenty of firepower can certainly try it out.
All you have to do is be vague enough to people believe what you say is prophesy. If it comes true, it’s divine inspiration. If it doesn’t, it’s a metaphor. Just make it work. Come up with some words and phrases you can all use to mark yourselves as different form the rest of the world. Don’t take crap from anyone and, if someone steps out of line, just threaten to give them to the cannibalistic hordes outside the compound walls.
This one’s for the ambitious, but for the rest of us…
If you have any survival instincts or even camping experience, you can certainly become a walker in the waste. Pack up whatever essentials you may need and start your trip through what will soon be the Empty States of America. You don’t necessarily have to walk, either. Grab a car or, for that extra apolalicious twist, a motorcycle.
Be classy about it…
Get plenty of weapons, food, and supplies. just think of it as a long camping trip. You only have to think a few months ahead, too. We won’t even make it to 2012 if these guys are right.
Personally, I’m all for going to raid the local Academy sporting goods store, stock up on the essentials, and take that cross-country trip I always wanted. Might as well see the sights before October when God himself takes it all back, right? It won’t be some wild, reclaimed landscape, but I’d like to see the major sites. Of course, this could lead to all sorts of shenanigans and adventures, too.
Yay for post-Apocalyptic hijinks!
Eat It Like It Makes You Immortal
We’re all going to kick it in a few months, right? Raid that grocery store and liquor store! If you’re going to put on a few pounds or develop an alcohol addiction, this is the time. Why not spend the last few months in a haze of booze and sugar highs?
Personally, raiding the local Feldman’s and grabbing the $13,000 booze is going to be my goal once everything goes legs up. If I’m going to watch civilization consume itself in an orgy of violence and decadence, I’m going to need some good tequila.
On that same note, grab every movie and TV show you ever wanted to watch but couldn’t. You’ve got time now. I’m going to sit down and go through every season of the original Star Trek, all of Battlestar Galactica, and every Rifftrax I can get.
You’ll have to pace yourself, though. You don’t want to go through the whole thing in one sitting or you won’t be around for October’s big finale.
Play Like a Boss
Safety features? Rules? Why bother? Play the most violent sport you can find with a reasonable chance of survival. Russian Roulette is right out, but something like this might do:
Why not drag-race down the newly-abandoned superhighways? Bungee jump from the Golden Gate Bridge? Play golf in downtown Manhattan and paintball in the streets of LA? It’s all free game now.
Hey, let’s play polo, but with trucks! Hell, you could run the longest D&D game of all time! I’d be up for that. I’d run a game so long and complex that… hey! I could run the World’s Largest Dungeon! Finally, an excuse to stay awake for a week straight, then two more months!
Come October, everything will end. Do whatever you want in the next few months, but in the end, pick a spot with a good view. Most of your major hotels and office buildings will do. Get something that will let you look out into the world one last time and bask in the glry of creation before God comes down and pushes the Off Switch…
If you’re like me and have people you care about, people you love and love you back, make the most of this time.
It’s very telling whenever someone says the end is coming. If you think your end is near, that you will soon leave this world, your priorities change. You focus on the things that truly matter. Me? I’ll stay with the people I love, read the books I never got to read, and keep writing until I can’t. Then, I’ll throw one big party and watch the world go boom with them at my side.
This week marks the anniversary of Jim Henson’s death. I actually learned English with Sesame Street workbooks and learned to love storytelling by watching the Muppets. Nothing will ever replace him, and I thought the world was going to end when Jim left us so many years ago…