Many people in this country are terrified of some sort of apocalyptic event occurring, giving birth to a reality show on the National Geographic Channel called Doomsday Preppers. People are already preparing for the apocalypse.
None of them are zeroing in on a specific apocalyptic event, like zombies or an alien invasion, but everything seems to revolve around the complete and total breakdown of society. The loss of electricity and public utilities will inevitably lead to anarchy. The preppers are ready to defend their possessions and amass enough supplies to survive in a world without order, or without a Wal-Mart.
Here on Long Island, we tend to lean a little too heavily on our public utilities to survive. Many of us bought generators after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 because we never want to be without electricity again—even for 24 hours. We waited on gas lines for hours because we couldn’t live without our cars or didn’t want to miss an episode of The Office.
Long Island is home to many campgrounds where you can choose to live the life of our pioneering settlers, sans electricity and some amenities. You make campfires and cook in cast iron pans. Of course, you also spend a week preparing for your journey back in time, making sure you have marshmallows and chocolate bars for s’mores. Don’t forget your coffee and milk.
But what if you suddenly had to live the life of our ancestors tomorrow? Are you prepared to “go camping” for six months or a year?
I know I’m not.
While out in Montauk a few weeks ago, I was with my cousin’s husband Hugo, who is prepared for anything. He can make fire and carries a knife that does hundreds of things. He can catch, clean and cook anything that walks or swims. Hugo will survive for years after the apocalypse hits.
I need air conditioning and TV. I need a bed and a toilet. I need a roof. I know I’m not going to survive the apocalypse. As a matter of fact, I’m not even going to try. Zombies eating humans? No problem, where’s the BBQ sauce? Do you want me rare or medium well?
I watch The Walking Dead. I won’t survive out in the open eating berries and drinking rain water. When the food supply from 7-11 runs out, I’m history. Besides, they walk everywhere on that show. Did the zombies eat all the bicycles too?
Okay, so a zombie apocalypse is ridiculous. What happens if the national grid goes off-line again, but this time for a year or more? You think you can survive like our ancestors did in the 1800s? Even if you knew how to do it, there’s not enough livestock on Long Island to slaughter. There will be no more ice cubes.
Do you know what the average life expectancy in the United States was in 1850? It was 39. You know why? People lived off the land and there were no walk-in doctor clinics if you got the sniffles. You got sick, you died.
Trust me, that hooey about the meek inheriting the earth is nonsense. No, my friends, only the strong will survive, but the lunatics will thrive. I don’t want any part of that.
When the apocalypse hits, 95 percent of the population, like me, will be ill-prepared for it. Not only are we unprepared, we’re not going to survive. Think about how upset you get when the cable goes out on Friday and the repairman isn’t scheduled to get to you until Tuesday? You think you’re surviving while walking around in the same outfit for three weeks as you try to catch a wild squirrel with the cord from your iPhone? Most of us can’t survive three hours in the dark without power, needing flashlights to get from the kitchen to the bedroom.
Not me, count me out. I admit, I might be the most ill-prepared person on Long Island to survive on my own. Unless, of course, I can get a taxi to take me to Hugo’s house.