Preparation aches and the myopic lens of 'survive at all costs.'
Outstanding post, and you really brought with the Toyota car carrier story. I have had similar youthful near-death experiences, you never forget them and they become building blocks for your life.
One "prepper avenue" that is rarely mentioned is living on a boat. Sure, it's not for everybody, but in an era of unaffordable housing it's a viable option for those who are sufficiently fit and agile. The average home down payment is now $30K, for this you can buy an older but perfectly sound 30 foot sailboat that can cross oceans. Even a small older houseboat can move by water from Maryland to Texas and hide out in a million acres of coastal wilderness.
The flexibility of a moveable house is a significant advantage over being tied to one permanent "bug-in" location. When every highway is in permanent gridlock, boats will still give a prepper a lot of options. Diesel fuel lasts for years compared to gasoline. A 500 mile (plus or minus) motoring range plus virtually limitless sailing range puts small sailboats in a unique category. I wrote this up a decade or so under the title "Get Yourself a Thirty Footer and Go." Here's one link, or search around for others.
"Courage is mankind’s finest possession because it enables us to do the right thing, to face danger, and to enjoy life. People who live in fear are miserable."
Spartan poet Tyrtaeus
"What we pay attention to, believe, and use as valid information to guide us in our major decision-making processes can often be to our detriment, and lead us down the wrong path."
Oh ain't that the truth.
We're all transforming in this time of great transition. I'm not the same person I was 3 or just 2 years ago. Good. (She bought a lot of food, long past it's 'use-by' date. )
Yes, it is crazy to spend all your time focused on survival and miss out on living in the process. Too many good things to pay attention to for that.
A few bits of metal, maybe a little bitcoin, some food and water - sure. Then let it go. Most of what's happening is just going to happen.
I'm done with waiting for the next crises. Appreciate the post and wisdom therein. Best.
I think the expression goes; "I don't have to be faster than the bear. I just have to be faster than you."
I am reminded of this during my morning runs when I am privy to the empty pizza boxes and Costco-sized soft drink containers and seed oil snack packs overflowing the recycling bins at the ends of my neighbors' driveways on trash day. That and the odds that 90% of them are on their 7th booster gives me hope that there will be more bacon for the rest of us once the smoke clears.
Great, insightful piece, GS!
Absobloodywunnerful word wankery. Dear Good Netizen, you are truly blessed with a sharp eye, mind and pencil. Just one teeny tiny thingy i'd add though. And it's something that i constantly encounter in my dealings with humanity at large (and small), and that is... FFS, escape already. Escape the prison of your personal preoccupation; the black hole of self-obsession. Because sure as hell, ain't nobody else can set you free but you. So, it's time-out: take / make the time to reach out with open heart-hand-mind to your fellow travellers. Forget about personal survival or salvation - focus on being an agent of change; a catalyst for the personal evolution of others. Saving yourself is a walk in the park: saving people from themselves ain't.
Superb! Thank you! So many gems in this one.
This: "What kind of man fears death so much, that they’re willing to exist in hell to prolong life?" I say, hey, wanna live in your own hell? Scared shitless. Have at it, but I will be G-damned if you will drag me with you. As Elon Musk just said out loud, "Fuck you." Cool as a cucumber.
Thank you, Good Citizen.
Excellent piece GC. Your list of "prepper" categories seems to be pretty complete, and I must admit I probable exhibit parts of all of them. Freeze dried food ? check. Arms and ammo? check? A few acres in rural America? Check. A stash of precious metals? check. Livestock and garden? check. An easy chair perched on top of the highest near by point where I can sit and watch the nuclear Armageddon go down in comfort?? Check.
All those prepping activities just seemed appropriate years ago when I knew it was time to leave the craziness of the Austin area, and spend my twilight years in a calmer, more peaceful, redder environment. But I am under no illusions as to what I am capable of still doing (that becomes less with each passing day) and most of the stuff will likely be used in barter situations rather than in the fight against the forces of evil.
I was born in 1946, and the way I burned the old candle at both ends for much of my youth and young adulthood, I never expected to see 40. Wasn't a recreational drug I didn't like, and not near enough beer and whisky. Surprise, surprise when I woke up having become the age we would never trust anyone older than, and I started rethinking my priorities. Many of my peers never did--to bad for them. Then thanks to a very personal "burning bush" experience in my early 40's everything changed, My mind became clear, and now I cherish each morning I get to put my feet on the floor and go about whatever the day puts in front of me.
The only real prepping any of us can really do is to realize the official narrative is by and large a lie, that the government does not have the welfare of the people any where near the top of it's agenda, that true evil does exist in this old world, and to keep all of that in mind while going about the daily chore of living. Each of us can make life worse or better for all those around us by how we live each and every day. It's a choice we make. End of sermon
I want to be at Ground Zero when the nukuler shit goes down.
Besides, the most dangerous animal on earth is a man with nothing to lose but his pride.
We are kinda sorta 90-day preppers. 13,000 gallons in the cisterns, and another 12,000 gallons in the pool. And there is something to be said for those MyPatriotSupply rations. I bought several, enough fort quite a while and easy to store. They came with a "trial pack", a 3-day supply "free." We checked it out. Not bad, for survival I suppose.
Times like these make me glad I am old.
"a calm, steady, and unflappable mind."
Ever since my days as an Admin at the Doomstead Diner, I have been skeptical about "prepping." I often said to the guys there, stocking up on all that gold, guns and food makes you a target. Too much stuff in such a circumstance can weigh you down. Besides, I don't really believe in apocalypse, the world as we know it coming to an end tomorrow. I expect something more like a gradual civilization decline for the rest of my life and well beyond.
My prep has been about skills and knowledge. I could set up a bug-out bag in less than an hour, but I don't have one ready, and again, in a theoretical apocalypse, going it alone isn't anywhere near as important as what and who you know. I know about hunting, fishing, building houses, wild plant cures, growing food, and lately the guitar. I don't need a doomstead. More like, I would go find the local warlord and be in service to him, rebuilding.
also, Musashi : https://williamhunterduncan.substack.com/p/the-warrior-archetype
I read, with great interest, the entire excellent article only to laugh out loud at all the payment options at the end. Perhaps it was a brilliantly embedded device to prove some of the points?
After I loaded all my gold, silver, guns, ammo, food, water, prepper books, and solar panels onto my boat, it sank. What did I do wrong? Now the underwater society for the preservation of sunken things has declared my boat a national disaster and is not to be touched. My best bet might be to fly to Russia where I hear they are overflowing with bomb shelters and see if I can rent one of those babies on the cheap using air-bnb.
Great post. As for this:
"As I relived those fifteen minutes in the following days, I began to realize that panicking and cursing each other did us no favors, and we would have been much better off if we remained calm and used our brains first, to work through our options to find the most practical solution."
Here's the problem. About half of the population* is emotions based. Most women/ gay men. No matter what anyone does, they're going to be panicking and cursing. Not sure how we work around that.
*according to Myers Briggs personality theory
Quite, excellent, GC. Some thoughts: Those that hoard gold & silver coins to buy necessities when paper currencies become worthless are delusional. You can't eat coins. The crazed, starving mobs will literally rip them to pieces as they come to whatever markets are left to purchase sustenance. Home generators for a power grid collapse will be worthless as well. They run on fuel and all gas stations will be shut down with malfunctioning pumps. Those generators will be worthless hunks of metal. It's all relative, but there is no longer any place on earth that is pollution free just like no location is exempt from the evil geoengineering of weather. As for the super rich and their underground sanctuaries they intend to survive in while we surface dwellers perish in agony because of their machinations, I'm no bible thumper but here's a scriptural quote I like: "I will flush you from the bowels of the earth." This rapacious, capitalist society, dependent on infinite resources from a finite planet, has only existed for the blink of a geological eye and already its catastrophic demise is on the visible horizon. The very real, imminent disasters we all face are greatly exacerbated by the paralysis inducing fear porn of the Cryptocracy. During a total collapse and implosion, unless they are hidden or in an inaccessible locale, any survivalist group will be easily overwhelmed and destroyed by the teeming millions of crazed and murderous refugees pouring out of the devastated urban areas. The survivalists would have to possess over several hundred well armed men with copious amounts of ammunition, drilled in defending a strong, secure position to have even a chinaman's chance of repelling the onslaught. Great wisdom there from the 5 Rings author. One of my favorite martial arts adages is, "Flow like water, react like a mirror." Though none of us want to depart this world in protracted pain and suffering, there are many fates far worse than death. Akin with the Norse fatalism, the Arabs say, "Any day is a good day to die." Our Aryan ancestors said that at the moment of passing, one should tell a joke. I intend to laugh in the Grim Reaper's face. What's he going to do about it? Kill me again?
Most calamities never happen, and certainly not over vast areas of the world, earth, plane, whatever it is. If one does, what's the point of surviving it anyway?
We do have enough short term (hours, days, and once in a great while, weeks) of natural disasters that keep one reliant on what is stored, and I have that amount of necessities stockpiled. Beyond that, I can live, especially in the spring/summer/early fall, on what grows here and natural water. Nothing else to worry about. It's a pity that so many are so fearful and spend so much time, of which there is precious little, focused on the yet-to-happen scenarios. I think in some regards advanced age helps clarify what's important in this area, like so many others.
What a nail biting story!
Thank you TGC. The humor alone in your writings is worth a re-read regardless of the topic:
Not that it matters much, but inflation is still double-digits in most North American cities:
I wanted to create, record and publish my own "Costco Index" but gave that up a while back. After all - why focus on costs of goods at the big box stores when your fellow man is injecting his kids with pharma poison (and purchases his next vacation using MasterCard)?
To me, an important part of prepping is knowing who are your local fellow Mountain Toppers. Playing FallOut was always more fun online anyway and just a handful of like-minded local family will have a much better chance than your ultimate prepper - and even if they don't, at least they get to enjoy their own little version of Burning Man while trying minus the traveling.
Lastly, I would like to share with the Flock an excellent clip produced by a Montreal studio in 2012 while I continue pilling up Fish Antibiotics, #10 cans and of course rabbits (but this is a story about goats):