Living a prepared life, as most readers understand, is not something that stops. One is never properly finished preparing. It is not something one works on for a bit and then says, “Okay, I’m done.” It is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency and preparedness. One of the first things most preppers come across in exploring the basics of preparedness is the three B’s– beans, bullets, and Band-aids. How many times have we read, even on this blog, “Make sure you have your beans, bullets, and band-aids squared away first!” That’s sage advice, and we should all follow it. However, what happens when you walk down into your basement and see your wall-to-wall and aisle shelves looking like a miniature grocery store, complete with pharmacy in the back? What do you do when you see, in the corner, your gun safe bolted to the floor holding a medium-sized gun collection with eight spare magazines per firearm? When you look down and see the floor of the basement lined with surplus U.S. military ammo cans filled with thousands of rounds in your chosen calibers, all sealed with desiccant packages? When you look out your kitchen window into your backyard garden that you’ve slowly built to provide a sustainable food source? When you’ve followed the directions provided (for free, no less!) on this blog to create a hand pump for the second well on your property that was originally dug and used for your sprinkler system, providing you with reachable water in the event of a grid-down event? When there is no more room in your chest freezer for meat or frozen vegetables designed to help feed you and your wife in an emergency?
I was blessed to find myself in this situation approximately fifteen months ago. I had gotten to the point of feeling that I had my three B’s down. I was fortunate enough to realize that there was far more needed than the two years of food supply and weapons and band-aids in the basement to pursue. I knew there was more I needed to do. It was just about branching out and doing it. What I found was that some of these things were/are so vital that they are literally second only to the three B’s, and in some cases just as important. I am nowhere near where I want to be as a prepper and a survivalist. I just want to share some of what I’ve learned going beyond the B’s and what we can and should do if we are able.
I admit, I came late to this party. I should have started here, before I so ever bought as much as a grain of rice. Accept the Lord Jesus Christ into your life as your Savior. Ask forgiveness for your sins and repent of them. Develop a relationship with the Lord, and nurture that relationship by finding a church home that glorifies God. Lovingly accept the obligations put on you by God’s grace and forgiveness, and practice tithing and charity. I grew up in the church, but I abandoned it when I joined the military. I fell down the slippery slope of apathy into Agnosticism and all the way to the pits of Atheism. I won’t delve into this slow slide that is so common in our day and time, as an entire separate article could be written on it. Suffice it to say that it was only through the consistent loving persistence of my wife and the unfathomable grace and loving forgiveness of our Lord that I stand here today, back in the fold and congregation, and I am determined to stay there. There are no atheists in foxholes, friends.
If you are anything like me, you rank going to the dentist somewhere up there between being waterboarded and standing next in line for a turn at Russian Roulette. I always thought I took pretty decent care of my teeth (though my flossing was pretty, um, infrequent). I had successfully dodged going to the dentist for over three years (it’s amazing what we can’t do when we put our minds to not achieving it), when a nagging toothache and a (lovingly) nagging wife finally compelled me to wander into my local dentist’s office. I thought, “It’s no huge deal; maybe I need a filling and a cleaning, and then I can dodge this place another half-decade.” Ha!
It’s a very bad feeling when a dentist walks in after reviewing your x-rays (x-rays? How did I get talked into x-ray?) and says, “It’s a really good thing that you actually have pretty premium dental insurance, Jason.” I was advised that I needed four wisdom teeth extracted, deep scaling and root planning, a root canal, two crowns, and two fillings. I, being myself, rolled my eyes and asked, “Okay, so what do I really just need to stop this toothache?” To wit, the dentist responded, “Jason, I don’t know how you’re not in unbearable pain right now. You should be. Your wisdom teeth are impacted, and your tooth next to your upper left wisdom tooth is so decayed that you’re literally weeks from it being unsalvageable. All of this work can be done in the next six weeks, and with your insurance it will only cost you $1,200.00. You need this. All of this. Now.”
Now, God has blessed my wife and I with gainful, well-compensated employment that helps provide excellent insurance. Though $1,200.00 is not a small number in my house, it was something that we could afford, and decided that we should. So, I got all of the work done. Now, you may be asking, what does this have to do with prepping? The answer is simple. Beyond the B’s, if there is some sort of elective dental process or procedures that you have been putting off, stop postponing it immediately. There is no pain in the world quite like dental pain, and post collapse, your options are likely to be far less palatable than shelling out some cash and sitting in a chair for a few hours with some ibuprofen afterwards. Your likely alternative will be some boiling water, a pair of pliers, and your buddy, Tim, with a flashlight. Yes, I’m referring to the same Tim who suggested using a circular saw to cut a 1/2 inch circle out of a 3×8 board. Yes, that Tim. So, don’t let Tim be your dentist.
In this day and age, many of us have become dependent on “instant answers”. It’s understandable. Have a question? Bring up Google. Not sure how to build something? There’s probably a video tutorial on YouTube. Can’t figure out why something isn’t working? Visit the company’s troubleshooting website. The world’s knowledge is a click away, but what happens when the information superhighway breaks down with the grid and those easy answers aren’t there anymore? Then how will you identify what insect is killing your tomatoes? Who will tell you how to build that shed in your back yard or dig that shallow well? The Internet is a wonderful source of knowledge, don’t get me wrong, but a truly prepared individual cannot rely on it anymore than they can rely on the government to keep them safe. To that end, one of the next things to consider beyond the B’s is creating and stocking your own library. I am absolutely shocked at the ridiculously low price of books these days, whether in my town’s local used bookstore or on eBay. There is virtually nothing one cannot find for under $10. So one of the things I have made a conscious effort to build upon is my home library. (Incidentally, our host provides an excellent list of literary suggestions weekly to pick up.)
I firmly believe that, one day, we will be forced to rely upon older technologies for our well-being. Books are one of these. Beyond their usefulness as tools, they offer enlightenment, a broadening of horizons, and mental stimulation that can increase morale and better our overall quality of life. For those of you with children reading this, what will you hand your eleven year old in the hour before bed when the Xbox ceases to work and the iPad has lost its charge for the last time. I’ve worked on creating a strong mix centering mostly on the following:
- how-to and home improvement (I might recommend the Home Depot’s 1-2-3 Series of books, which are very helpful and straightforward),
- prepper non-fiction (The Encyclopedia of Country Living, Self-Sufficiency on a Quarter Acre, et cetera),
- classics (Tom Sawyer, David Copperfield, Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, et cetera),
- biographies (John Adams, Stonewall Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, et cetera),
- historical fiction (if you’ve not read Michael Shaaras’ series on The Civil War or WWII you are doing yourself a disservice),
- religion (The Holy Bible, The Case for Christ, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, et cetera), and
- prepper fiction (the Patriots Series, One Second After, Alas, Babylon, et cetera).
Even before any collapse, I’d encourage you to reacquaint yourself with novels and the good old fashioned book. I’d be willing to bet that right now, on eBay, you could get The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn shipped for less than $5. Reading that will do more for your heart and mind than twenty hours in front of Netflix.