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Friday, December 21, 2012

And the bomb drops down

Some thoughts on surviving the Apocalypse:


I'm not going to.

This is a rough thing for anyone who has grown up as steeped in pulp fiction -- superhero comics, Doc Savage novels, the science fiction of Robert A. Heinlein and Dean Ing and all those other good After The Bomb shock jocks -- to admit to. But it's the simple truth.

You see those people on THE WALKING DEAD? Yes, every single one of them except Darryl is a disfunctional asshole I'd walk a mile to avoid (well, I liked Dale, too, but he's gone now). But here's what they aren't -- they aren't fat, like me. They aren't legally blind, like I am without heavy duty corrective lenses. They aren't dependent on medication, like I am on allergy meds and Prilosec. And, apparently, they don't fly into a panic and run screaming into a tree or a wall or an abandoned vehicle, like I would if a horde of slavering Undead, or even one, came shambling at me out of the trees.

Also unlike me, they have useful, practical skills. They can operate, maintain, and repair complex machinery, like motor vehicles, generators, and firearms. They can shoot straight, move quickly and quietly, think quickly, and keep their heads when all around them are flipping their shit. None of this remotely describes me.

I am a child of civilization. I am a dreamy, imaginative sort. I do not like snakes or rats or bugs or wearing wet clothes or being dirty or the sight of blood (especially my own). I am a picky eater. I enjoy reading and watching movies and eating pizza and cuddling with my wife and occasionally my youngest daughter, who has not yet outgrown the occasional snuggle with her folks. I love hot showers, and central heating/AC, and soft places to sit and lie down and sleep, and blankets, and doors that lock.

I'm not going to survive the Apocalypse. I'm just not. And here's a news flash:

You're probably not either.

I don't care how many guns you stockpile, I don't care how much canned food and bottled water you have in your basement, I don't care how carefully you have reinforced all your locks and windows and checked all the sightlines from your front and back porches. I don't care. You, also, are a child of civilization. You may have wonderful vision (although few of us do), you may be flat stomached and wiry as hell, you may not get sinus miseries in the spring and the fall and the summer and any time except the dead of winter, you may not be diabetic or have high blood pressure or bad acid reflux or any of the many, many other chronic conditions we take effective medications for now.

Nonetheless, you are a child of civilization, and you are not prepared for the Apocalypse, no matter how much you kid yourself you are. You are not ready to kill. You are not ready to fight tooth and nail. Youa re not ready to make tough decisions.

You know how I know this?

Because if I know you, you are a nice person, and nice people are not going to prosper after the Apocalypse. Only really violent amoral sociopaths are going to do well after the Apocalypse. You know. Uncivilized sorts.

I'm not going to survive the Apocalypse.

That's okay. I don't want to.  Life in the ruins of Western Civilization will be a waking screaming horror for someone like me, and, I suspect, someone like you... but more important, I don't think the Apocalypse is going to happen.

Why not?

I'm a child of civilization... and I have faith in its inherent resilience.

But if I'm wrong, I won't be for very long.

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