(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.)
TEOTWAWKI would get rid of both the 24-hour news cycle and the time-wasting crime that television is. By the time after The Day when the new normal has been established, kids (and most parents) will be thin and active and unafraid again, knowing how to ride bikes, developing ingenuity and problem-solving skills by building go-carts and tree forts, and seeing what neat critters there are under rocks and logs when you roll them over. After their many newly-acquired post-SHTF chores are finished, boys and girls will go down to the swimming hole with their friends on hot afternoons without parents or life jackets, with the boys (and some girls) learning how to scare the girls with frogs like their great grandpas did.
All the modern time-wasting toys and gadgets we have today would disappear in TEOTWAWKI and be replaced by simpler things and a simpler, healthier, and more active lifestyle. Yes, shorter too and with many deaths being more painful and drawn out than today, but newborns would live more in their first 40 years post-TEOTWAWKI than most now live in 80 years of ease and opulence.
Am I romanticizing TEOTWAWKI? Yes, to some degree of course, but probably less than most. Not only was I born with an adventurous self-reliant spirit, but I love a good challenge and all the problem-solving brain exercise that goes with it. I passed that on to most of my children who passed it on to their children and although I would wonder, I’d not be overly concerned about how they were faring in their part of TEOTWAWKI-land.
Will there be a lot of downsides if life as we know it comes grinding to a halt? Absolutely. But the good, in my opinion, will far outweigh the bad once the roving hordes have been eliminated using the weapons our current politicians are working so feverishly to abolish. We’d have to learn from others all those skills which kept our ancestors alive and well for millennia and yes, there’d be a steep learning curve. But I think the majority of the survivors would lead far more meaningful and fulfilling lives. Even though it’s been 40+ years since I first read The Last of the Mountain Men, I’ve never forgotten the best lines in the book describing Sylvan Hart’s life in the Idaho backcountry: “No trucks grind to a roar in city streets. There is no commuter train to catch. No newspaper will catalog yesterday’s disasters. It’s a beautiful 1768 morning and damn the British.” And so will TEOTWAWKI be.
I’m not fooling myself about anything, I know how hard things would be, but I’ve never been one to place convenience over Freedom and self-reliance. I’m a guy who loves simplicity and I’ve always been a minimalist so I long for a return to a much simpler, freer life that only a TEOTWAWKI event could provide. I feel a tinge of sadness when I frequently drive past the many buildings in my part Rural America which were clearly the general stores and trading posts of yesteryear with a post office tucked away in one corner. Jud Strunk’s 1973 hit “Daisy a Day” doesn’t move me nearly as much as his “Bill Jones’ General Store.
“I can hear the creakin’ of the rusty old screen door
Smell the penny candy in Bill Jones’ General Store
The pipe smoke and tobacco, wet boots on the floor
Campbell’s Soup and shotgun shells at Bill Jones’ General Store.”
I’m fully aware that in the aftermath of a TEOTWAWKI situation, whether man-made or the solar system’s doing, the world will more closely resemble the WWII photos of a bombed-out Dresden and that general stores surrounded by neat little cabins with smiling children and apple pie cooling on open window sills won’t happen overnight, and probably not for a relatively long time. But for those of us who believe that TEOTWAWKI is inevitable but not necessarily imminent, it still represents the only way to begin anew and rescue us from our current world situation, even though the surviving “us” may only represent a small fraction of the current population.
Many will curse my desire for TEOTWAWKI thinking that somehow my personal wish will make me responsible for the large percentage of humanity that won’t make it past the first 30 days. And yes, I am careful what I wish for. My desire won’t make me responsible, it’s only a silly man’s wish, but I do long for a time when humans can return to the timeless tradition of accepting that death is merely a part of life, that we can pass on with dignity instead of clinging to every last moment regardless of our condition or how many drugs and machines it’s taking to stave off the inevitable at any cost. It’s one thing to face the heart-wrenching tragedy of losing someone before they’re old. But the rest of us older folks, like all other living creatures, must see our days come to an end. TEOTWAWKI would provide the opportunity to accept death more gracefully, as well as a return to most other aspects of living naturally.
In my favorite book, Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, 90-year-old Great Grandma is up shingling the roof one week and realizes her time has come the next. She speaks to family members at her bedside then bids them all adieu. She remembers a beautiful dream which was interrupted the day she was born and longs to pick up the thread of it again. She smiles as she sees the dream returning, knowing her family is all safe in the rooms below, knowing she taught them well, and knowing she lived a long, full, event-filled life. As the dream envelopes her and she starts to slip away, she says, “It’s all tight. Like everything else in this life, it’s fitting.”
I’ve always loved to work but always hated having a job. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way. In a TEOTWAWKI world, jobs to do the work of others, jobs which we’re bored at, jobs which we must slave away at for all the financial reasons I don’t need to mention, will give way to working on things we ourselves find important because they’re related to our own family’s survival and wellbeing. And even though it will prove to be a very labor-intensive way to live, it will be more satisfying to many of us who enjoy working and love the concept of a self-reliant, simple lifestyle within a small tight-knit community where we can barter with those who have the skills we lack in exchange for the skills we possess.
While I love the ease of paying my bills electronically, automated, and worry-free, I also long for a simpler time when barter was common and money was silver. In Alas Babylon, the concept of “junk silver” was never even mentioned in the book. Why? The book was written in 1959, a time when money was still silver. As kids, silver coins left a smell on our sweaty hands after we ran to the store in those long-gone days to buy some penny candy or get a box of .22 shells for dad. I can still smell it, and see those coal-black dimes after pulling them out of a bleach bottle I hadn’t quite rinsed thoroughly enough.
I’m tired of news stories about “Climate is Not Changing Expert Says,” “President Sees Threat to the Tradition of Family-Owned Farms,” companies wanting the Feds to do something about unfair foreign imports, worries about a sharply declining birth rate which make allowing more immigrants into the country a necessity, mortgage moratoriums due to hard financial times, and gripes about kids getting fat and lazy and not learning critical life skills. Oh, by the way, all these stories are from the November 18, 1936 edition of the Weekly Kansas City Star which I have in my possession. The more things change the more they stay the same.
I’m tired of trying to remember what LGBTQXYZ stands for and tired of trying to figure out how an XY who wears a bra can compete against XXes in sports events and take home the gold. I share Archie Bunker’s longing for returning to a day when “goils were goils and men were men,” when we “didn’t need no welfare state,” and “everybody pulled his weight.”
So what’s the only way we can bring back any semblance of common sense to our world? What’s the only way we can get rid of all those devious self-interested self-serving politicians and their puppeteers who divide us into warring factions among ourselves while they chum it up with the “opposition” in back rooms where We the People don’t see? What’s the only possible manner to rid us of the 24-hour “news” cycle? What’s the only way we can someday organize ourselves into more logical political geographical boundaries with true Freedom instead of a few mere privileges? What’s the only way to nullify all those bazillabytes of information Big Brother has on each of us in their giant data-storage facilities in Utah? TEOTWAWKI my friends, TEOTWAWKI. Bring it on baby. For me, the good aspects will far, far outweigh the bad ones.
Please don’t bid me ill will or tell me to be careful of what I wish for. I cannot cause TEOTWAWKI by wishing for it and my opinions can’t change a damn thing in this world. But IMO, TEOTWAWKI will happen sooner or later by political or natural means, and if so, why not on my watch and where I stand?