Entertainment after SHTF

How have you planned for entertainment after the SHTF? It stands to reason that survivors will spend most of the day working to ensure they can survive, but what we do afterward is just as important. Most normal people need something fun or distracting to take their minds off work and the situation they’re in. Without entertainment, morale will drop and you could lose hope, or possibly the will to live.

A major hurricane can easily deprive an entire region or state of internet, cable, and electricity. If civilization collapses and we permanently lose our modern luxuries, families will have to go low-tech to have fun.

Music

Music can lift your spirits in any situation, and listening to it can be as easy as turning on a battery-operated or crank radio. But what if there aren’t any active broadcasts within range? If a civilization-ending disaster were to occur, it may very well be “The Day the Music Died” on the airwaves[1].

Don’t despair, you can still make your own music.

It doesn’t take much skill to strum the strings of a guitar or blow into a harmonica. However, sheet music may be necessary if you’re stuck with a more complicated instrument or want to play specific songs. If you don’t have sheet music, you’ll have to rely on your memory or make it up as you go.

What if you don’t have musical instruments?

You can make music with all sorts of stuff. I once had a hard-covered music book with printed piano keys on the back cover. My 2nd grade music teacher used those keys to show my class that we can create music by tapping those keys with a finger or pencil. If you can make musical sounds from a (new-ish) hard-cover book, you can make: 

  • Maracas – Put some beans/rocks inside a resealable container and shake it.
  • Drums – Flip a pot upside-down and bang on it with a wooden spoon or stick. Striking different parts of the drum will produce a variety of sounds. Use a plastic container to get a deeper hollow boom.
  • Cymbals or bell – A steel lid from a pot looks a lot like a drummer’s cymbals. It can sound like a church or dinner bell too. 
  • Tambourine – String together some pop-tabs and shake to make a slight jangle. 
  • Base-tapping – “Tapping” was all the rage when I was in middle school. I found it annoying at the time, but you can reproduce a drummer’s base and a snare drum (from a marching band). It was done by “tapping” the flat edge of a pen or pencil onto a desk and banging the base of your palm onto the same surface.

I won’t lie to you. These home-made “instruments” will not sound like the originals we’re familiar with, but will produce the same musical notes. If the S really HTF, you’ll have plenty of time to practice and who knows, maybe you can earn food or drinks at a local drinking establishment.

Music may not be an ideal form of entertainment for everyone. It can be an annoying racket if you’re terrible at playing, or are tone-deaf.

I personally think that one man’s music, is a noisy beacon for looters and raiders.

Read a Book

Reading is a great way to pass the time by delving into a fantasy world… one that isn’t as terrible as this one. Most people read silently, which is great if you’re trying to hide from the rest of humanity.

The only drawback to reading is that it requires light. Natural light is present during the hours you’re probably working. Which means you’ll need to use a lamp or flashlight to read at night (which causes eyestrain).

Write

Writing could be another way to pass the time and it provides multiple benefits to the writer. While it can’t truly replace live communication, writing a daily or weekly journal helps satisfy the human need for communication if you’re alone in a bunker. Your journals could teach future historians what life was like during and after the fall of civilization.

If you have an active imagination, you could write stories to keep kids and other adults entertained. This leads me to the next activity…

Tell a Story

Weekly story night could be a new family or community event. Write stories one day and read them aloud the next, or make it up on the fly. Different members of the family/community can take turns making up stories to tell around the campfire or fireplace.

You can use musical instruments to make story night even livelier. The ratta-tap of a drum can bring forth visions of soldiers on a battlefield, or blowing into a harmonica at the right moment can be terrifying in a scary story.

But do you really want to tell horror stories, if you’re living in one?

Physical Activities

Playing sports may be the last thing you want to do if you’ve been laboring in the field all day. You may not be interested, but it’s a great way to keep your children occupied and wear them out while you’re trying to relax. Here’s a few activities your family can play.

Kick Ball

Humanity has been playing sports similar to soccer or “fútbol” for thousands of years and on every continent, including Antarctica (in recent times). The rules follow the same basic format with little variations over the centuries.

I can see how soccer or other kick-the-ball games will be popular after the SHTF. You don’t need any extra equipment to play. All you need is an inflatable ball and your feet, and maybe a landmark to serve as a goal.

Play Catch

If you have a baseball or football (American), you can play catch. All that’s required is a ball and at least 2 people. You can toss the ball to each other and chat about your day.

Hacky Sack

You and your kids can kick, toss, and bat around a hacky sack. If you’re crafty and have sewing tools, you can make a hacky sack in 3 steps.

  1. Cut out the toe-part of a sock (3 inches should be enough).
  2. Fill it with small beans (navy or smaller).
  3. Sew it shut.

Play with Pets

Playing with a pet is not only fun, but the activity helps build a stronger bond between you and the animal.

  • Toss a ball or stick and watch your dog fetch it.
  • Grab a toy or stick and play tug of war.
  • Dangle a string or roll a ball to tease/play with a cat.
  • Whistle or play peekaboo with a parrot.

Even if you’re too tired to play, simply petting the creature can make the worries of the world seem to melt away.

Let’s Talk About Sex Baby[2]

Sex is another form of entertainment, which is as old as time itself. If you do it right, it’s a pleasurable experience for all parties involved. However, unless you regularly participate in “Sexual Olympics”, sex isn’t a long-lasting form of entertainment. According to several online sources, the average duration ranges anywhere from 5-20 minutes. So…

What’s the plan for the rest of the day?

Brutal Entertainment

Our methods of entertainment could devolve into something resembling ancient Roman gladiatorial battles. It’s possible that criminals or undesirables will be forced to entertain us by fighting in a “Thunderdome”[3]. While I don’t personally approve of this form of entertainment, it may be wise for a survivalist to conform to the “norms” of the community and be a spectator.

***

Preppers are good at preparing for the physical aspects of survival, but tend to neglect mental and emotional needs. Entertainment is important because it takes your mind off the everyday struggles and allows your mental battery to recharge. If civilization were to collapse and our modern conveniences were to stop working, families will have to go low-tech and play with board games, cards, dice, puzzles, or balls.

Even bunker-preppers need something fun to do after the hatch is sealed.


[1] Nod to: Don McLean’s, The Day the Music Died.

[2] Nod to: Salt-N-Pepa’s, Let’s Talk About Sex.

[3] Thunderdome: “Thunderdome” is a reference to the gladiatorial arena seen in the movie: Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

Hygiene after the SHTF

I’ve seen hundreds of articles about how to survive the apocalypse by using specialized skills, and/or living off a hoard of food. However, one of the most important skills most people learn during childhood doesn’t get the attention it deserves… Hygiene!

How will you stay healthy to use those skills and enjoy all that preserved food if you can’t practice basic hygiene? Keep in mind that going to the grocery store for more soap and toothpaste probably won’t be possible. That means you’ll need to be creative when it comes to your hygiene needs[1].

You’ll find alternative methods for maintaining good hygiene after the SHTF in this article. If these methods don’t appeal to your tastes, do some research and find what works best for you. However, I think the substitutions and methods listed in this article are more practical in a survival situation.

Dental

There are many things you can do to maintain good oral health. You can conserve the supply of toothpaste or replace it entirely.

If you absolutely must have toothpaste and need to make it last as long as possible, you’ve got to stop using so much toothpaste. According to most dental experts and manufacturers, adults only need a pea-sized “dollop” of toothpaste[2],[3].

That’s a blob of about half a centimeter or a quarter of an inch!

If you have a healthy mouth, it may be a good idea to further stretch your supply of dental products by alternating your brushing and “washing”. You can double the life of your toothpaste and mouthwash if you don’t use both products every time you clean your teeth. Some dentists claim that rinsing the mouth with water or mouthwash after brushing, wastes the benefits of fluoride in toothpaste.

To do this, brush your teeth at night and spit out the foam. Allow the teeth to absorb the leftover fluoride as you sleep. And then rinse your mouth out with mouthwash in the morning, after breakfast.

But what if you run out of toothpaste?

Humans have been cleaning their teeth long before modern toothpaste was invented. Most ancient cultures used devices or solutions to get food particles out of their teeth, but I must warn you that none are going to be as minty-fresh as the manufactured paste most of us are addicted to. Be aware that some of these alternatives may cause irritation, and it may be necessary to temporarily switch substitutions.

Below are 3 lists of oral-care substitutions which may help ensure your teeth stay healthy[4],[5].

Teeth Scrapers

  1. Toothbrush (by itself, or with “paste”)
  2. Floss
  3. Toothpicks
  4. Spun Thread or “Sewing String” (substitute for both floss and toothbrush)
  5. Frayed Twig as a substitute toothbrush

Toothpaste

It’s easy to make a basic toothpaste by combining: 2/3 cup of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, and enough water to turn it into a paste. You can add peppermint essential oil to freshen your breath as well. Making and storing toothpaste may not be possible for some people. The following can be used individually:

  1. Baking Soda
  2. Chewing Sesame or Flax Seeds (then brush)
  3. Charcoal[6],[7]

Survival Mouthwashes

There are a few mouthwashes you can use as well. The theory behind these mouthwashes is to pull food particles out of your teeth and/or make bacteria residing in your mouth inert.

  1. Coconut Oil
  2. Salt & Water
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide (diluted in water)
  4. Essential Oil & Water (mix in salt for extra abrasiveness)

It’s probably a good idea to switch over to alternate dental hygiene methods when you realize civilization has collapsed, long before supply forces you to make the switch. Doing so gives you an opportunity to experiment with new methods, and it maintains that supply so you can switch back to a tried-and-true product if you suffer any side effects. If you don’t notice any side effects, you can save the minty toothpaste for when you’re going to be intimate. Or, if the new hygiene practices are working, and dates aren’t a possibility, you can trade that leftover toothpaste with someone desperate.

Soap

I wanted to be a nurse in my early 20s, before deciding it wasn’t the best profession for me. The most memorable lesson I have from nursing school was watching classmate after classmate fail the sanitary exam regarding soap and water. According to medical standards of the early 2000s, soap isn’t technically needed to make your hands sanitary between patients. Friction is what kills germs and bacteria, and you only need to rub your hands under running water. Washing with soap creates suds which generate more friction and trap the dead microbes, making it easier to rinse them off.

I did what I had to and pass the exam, but never trusted friction ALONE to maintain cleanliness.

After the SHTF, washing with soap and water will be even more important than it is today because it’s a valuable tool to ward off infectious illnesses. It may be an essential item to stock, but storage space isn’t infinite and you’ll eventually need to make your own.

There’s only one way to make soap and that’s by using lye[8], oil, and water. Making soap requires a lot of time and can be dangerous if you don’t know how to handle lye. You’ll also need some practice to perfect your recipe.

Below is a basic description on how to make soap in a survival situation, without refined materials.

  1. Make lye by collecting white, powdery wood ash in a bucket or container with holes on the bottom. Make certain there’s a water-tight container beneath the ash bucket.
  2. Leach lye out by pouring water over the ashes and allow the mixture to drain into a container below. Leaching may take an entire day, but doesn’t require much attention. The captured lye-water should be light brown.
  3. Boil the lye-water down for several hours until it’s incredibly thick. If you have 1 gallon of lye-water, the refined lye will be about 1 cup.
  4. In a separate pot, melt or warm about 1 cup of leftover meat fat or cooking oil (or both).
  5. Add the warm lye into the oil/fat and mix while boiling for about 3 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat and stir for a full minute, every 10-15 minutes. Do this repeatedly until the soap is golden-brown and has a thick consistency (this can take hours).
  7. Optional: Now’s the time to add any extra ingredients, such as: herbs, essential oils, coffee grains, or salt.
  8. Pour mixture into a mold and cover with a towel.
  9. Allow to cure for at least 1 week.
  10. Remove from mold and cut soap into bars. Consider using cupcake molds or something similar to eliminate this last step.

That’s the basic soapmaking process. I loathe providing specific recipes because there’s no telling what materials you’ll have after the SHTF. Search the web if you need detailed or specific recipes.

I’d like to mention a couple alternatives to soap:

Sand

People in desert cultures have used sand to clean themselves for millennia. Even in modern times, sand baths are common in poverty-stricken desert communities, because water is too precious to waste on bathing. This may sound gross to westerners, but the abrasiveness of sand does work to absorb or scrape off body oils and dead skin.

The primary problem with a sand scrub is it can’t effectively kill and remove microbes. That means your hands may not be sanitary for cooking or first aid. Another problem with sand baths is it takes much longer to cleanse an entire body, than it does with a soapy bath or shower.

Oil

Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians once bathed using oil. They slathered oil onto their bodies and scraped it off to remove dead skin and dirt.

Roman gladiators sold their oil scrapings to fans because it was thought it enhanced sexual vigor in men and was an aphrodisiac to women. Who knows, if you’re young and sexy maybe you can sell such scrapings. If not, then I’d probably reuse the oil as a fire accelerant or an ingredient in… soap.

Soap wins in the end! (Just kidding.)

Feminine

If your family includes females at or around menstruating age, you should be prepared if/when they have a period. Women have been going through menstrual cycles since the dawn of time, so this isn’t a new problem. We’ve coped with periods long before tampons existed and will continue to do so after the SHTF.

Tampon substitutions may include:

  1. Washable cloths, rags, or clean clothes you don’t care if they stain (like socks).
  2. Unused or sterilized sponges.
  3. Toilet paper or paper towels.
  4. Gauze bandages[9].
  5. You can also learn to live with it and use nothing.

Even if your family doesn’t need them, it’s a good idea to stock a couple boxes of tampons to trade with desperate people.

***

I’ll close this article by quoting a phrase my father repeated throughout my childhood: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Good hygiene is immensely important during a survival situation because it helps stave off illness. And, if you’re single, maintaining good hygiene may help attract an intimate survivalist partner.


[1] Medical Disclaimer: The author of this article is not a doctor, dentist, or any kind of medical professional. The information presented is for educational and informational purposes only, does not constitute any professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read on this blog, website or in any linked materials.

This article is part of a series about survivalism and being prepared for anything, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore established medical practices or avoid potentially expensive treatments. Always survive to use your skills another day by using the medical services currently available.

[2] Harris Dental. (2013, January 28). How Much Toothpaste Should You Be Using? Retrieved from Harris Dental: https://www.harrisdental.com/blog/how-much-toothpaste-should-you-be-using

[3] Arm & Hammer. (n.d.). How Much Toothpaste Should You Use? Retrieved from Arm & Hammer: https://www.armandhammer.com/articles/how-much-toothpaste-to-use

[4] Gold Coast Holistic Dental Care. (n.d.). Find out 6 easy ways to keep your teeth clean in a natural way. Retrieved from Gold Coast Holistic Dental Care: https://gcholisticdentalcare.com.au/top-6-to-naturally-clean-teeth.html

[5] Smilepoint Dental Care. (n.d.). What can I use instead of toothpaste? Retrieved from Smilepoint Dental Care: https://www.smilepointdentalcare.com/what-can-i-use-instead-of-toothpaste/

[6] Charcoal: Extra caution must be used when using this method of oral hygiene. I reluctantly list charcoal as a toothpaste substitute because it requires skill to safely produce. The lye in ash, which may be present in charcoal, can harm your teeth and gums.

[7] CBC Life. (2019, June 19). Surviving in the wild: How to transform campfire charcoal into a teeth-cleaning powder should you need to. Retrieved from CBC: https://www.cbc.ca/life/video/surviving-in-the-wild-how-to-transform-campfire-charcoal-into-a-teeth-cleaning-powder-should-you-need-to-1.5181928

[8] Lying Lye-less Recipes: There are lye-less recipes available online, but they’re lying or misleading you. Most of these recipes call for a “soap base”, which is basically soap that’s been through the dangerous lye reaction. Soap bases may be concentrated allowing for other ingredients (fragrance or dyes) to be added.

[9] Gauze Tampon: I personally don’t like the idea of using a wound-care product you may need later for something that’s not life-threatening.

Rage Against Greenhouse Gas

Preface: WordPress’s word of the month for April 2022 is “Green”. Dark-green happens to be one of my favorite colors, yet I can’t think of anything I want to write specifically about the color. Earth Day was just a few days ago, so I’ll write about greenhouse gases..

***

Winter no longer happens during the months we’ve historically recognized as “winter”. When I was a child, autumn started alongside school, in late August. Winter arrived after Halloween and lasted until Groundhog Day. Basically, it was expected to be cold from November through February.

This expectation held true even in humid, Southeast Texas.

At least, that’s the way it was in the good old days. 

For the past decade, our winter weather has been expressed in frontal waves, and doesn’t have the staying power it once had. We get a few days of “winter” here and there in Texas. Sometimes, we get “winter” all at once in January or February, as has happened these past couple years[1].

This alarming pattern is seen in many of the Northern states as well. My family recently went north for a more traditional winter holiday, but was slightly disappointed by the lack of ice and snow.

What’s causing this to happen? 

I’m not an environmental expert, but the basic science we’ve been learning in school for decades has taught us these changes are caused by human activity. Our media, which may be sponsored by major businesses, spotlights natural sources of global warming gases such as: volcanic activity, subterranean gas, or gas trapped in ice. 

I tend to agree with the theory that human activity bears most of the blame for the changes happening to our planet, but who’s to say this isn’t part of a natural extinction cycle the earth goes through. For all we know the last ice age may have been caused by a long-dead civilization who tried to fix global warming. 

Alternate Theory:

For all we know, an intelligent species or ancient race of humans may have experienced the problems caused by greenhouse gasses and developed non-carbon producing technologies to help the planet heal. They may have captured CO2, methane, and other gasses to store in permafrost ice sheets. They may have thought storing those gases in ice that never melts was a sufficiently permanent fix, because, surely, nobody would make the global warming mistake again.

Perhaps that civilization’s efforts worked too well and caused the last ice age.

That civilization either died off or left the planet…

And then comes humanity, with no prior knowledge of what caused the ice age. Humanity was born burning resources and makes the same mistakes with carbon-emissions. Maybe we’re inadvertently releasing all the stored greenhouse gases as our modern pollution heats the planet and melts those ancient ice “warehouses”.

I pose this alternate theory to show it doesn’t matter who’s to blame for global warming.

It doesn’t matter if certain nations are more at fault than others.

It doesn’t matter which generation is more negligent.

It doesn’t matter how much money is spent redirecting blame.

What does matter is how we respond to the problem we’re faced with. Are we going to stick our heads in the dirt like a cartoonish depiction of an ostrich[2]? Or, will we stop burning gases and develop new energy solutions to fix the problem? 

Wind is a natural resource found pretty much everywhere on the planet. Large-scale wind energy is expensive when you factor in the cost of the unit, transporting parts, construction, and then regular maintenance over the years. However, small home turbines can be purchased as low as $150! Unfortunately, most of us don’t know how to connect the generator to a battery bank, much less the grid.

Solar is another resource available everywhere on earth[3], and photovoltaic solar panels don’t require complex maintenance like wind generators. But going solar is prohibitively expensive. Each large panel can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000. Add installation, and you may end up paying around $20,000!

I think solar is the way to go from a practical point of view. All that’s needed after installation is to keep the panels clean and clear of obstructions, and maybe replace a damaged unit over the years. It’s truly much easier to go solar and forget it.

If only we could develop better and cheaper solar technology to make it accessible to people of all incomes. If we can solve that problem, we may buy the planet enough time to recover. 

But won’t that ruin certain industries?  

No, it won’t. The mighty corporations we worship and get a pitiful allowance from will survive. Even the major oil companies will be just fine. Most oil and chemical manufacturers have a broad range of products they sell besides gas. They make additives and other materials which are used in everyday items like: cosmetics, lotions, soaps, household cleaners, plastics, some clothing materials, and much more[4].

The only people who’ll be ruined by such an economic shift are the cartels who extract the base-product, and the citizens of those oil-producing nations. The Middle East has been at war or angry at everyone else throughout human history anyways, so will we notice if there’s even more unrest in that region?

***

We may never agree about what’s causing global warming and casting blame is irrelevant. Greenhouse gases are heating the planet and melting the polar ice caps, and may be driving the extreme weather patterns we’re experiencing. What’s relevant is what we do to fix it.

Our species has repeatedly met the challenge of physical threats. So why is the threat of extinction not enough incentive to give up our addiction to wealth-at-any-cost? Someone needs to have an intervention with our leaders[5] and remove toxic industrial influences, so we can ween ourselves off “easy” money.

I fear our species doesn’t have the strength to go through that rehab program.


[1] Winter, all at once: Can you believe The Weather Channel started naming winter storms? We used to only have to worry about named hurricanes, but now they’re naming winter storms.

[2] Ostrich: According to a Zookeeper I overheard talking to a group of kids at the Houston Zoo, ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand when scared. However, they will try to blend in by laying on the ground.

[3] World-wide Solar: You can count on light from the sun to be available everywhere on the planet except for the polar regions of the planet. Both the north and south polar regions experience months of darkness because of the Earth’s axial tilt.

[4] Petroleum Products: I once worked at a major oil company and learned what we sold and how it’s used in everyday things.

[5] Violence Disclaimer: I would like to remind my readers that I do not condone violence, criminality, or rising up and overthrowing your legitimate government.

I’m Not Stressed!

Stop asking if I’m stressed!

I’m not.

Yes, I’m aware that almost every one of my muscles has a knot. People have been saying that for nearly 3 decades, back when I was still in my 1-digits. I’ve been told I’ve got knots all over my body so many times, you’d think my knots have knots.

I may be one massive knot with a face. I’m a knotty boi[1].

I’ve been asked over the years if I want a massage, or if I want to go have a spa day.

No, but thank you. Having strangers or strange people touch and rub my body is not relaxing to me. The one time in my life I asked someone to give me a massage, they went full deep-tissue on me. The pain was so unbearable, I had to put a stop to it.

Speaking of painful massages, they really should anesthetize, or at least numb, those extreme cases who need such a deep therapy. I supposed that’d require a doctorate, so it’s too much effort for an industry with an education credentialing system based on certifications.

Not that I’m bashing the industry, masseurs, or massage professionals in general. I’m merely pointing out a possible improvement to the industry as a whole, and a new business opportunity for doctors who can prescribe the sedatives and numbing creams or injections. There’s an untapped market for that service, and charging insurance shouldn’t be that much of a problem either[2].

Anyways, I’m not stressed!

I may clench my jaw shut all the time, but it doesn’t mean I’m stressed. I’m just more cautious of how I sleep because I witnessed practical jokes being played on classmates during nap-time. And I’m not going to leave myself open for a bug to crawl or drop into my mouth while sleeping

Are you sure you’re not stressed? All that subconscious clenching can’t be good for your teeth.

If we ignore the tea-stains, my dentist claims I have the healthiest mouth he’s seen. He mentioned that my jaw muscles are so developed, I can probably bite several fingers off with little effort.

That’s probably a great ability to have in a fight or survival situation.

I’ll say it again, I’m not stressed!

I’m happy most of the time, so why would people think I’m stressed?

Aside from having an alarm scare me awake each morning… I think the only stress my body experiences is from a sudden fear I experience when getting caught checking someone out. Everyone’s gazed at a beautiful person a little too long and got caught. It’s normal and part of what makes life fun.

The only thing that grates on me emotionally is socialist media. You can post the most innocuous comment on a trending post, like: “water is always wet, even when frozen”, or point out how an image appears to be edited. And I kid you not, some special snowflake will find fault with the comment and claim you’re a horrible piece of shit for saying such a thing. Why does such an innocent comment trigger certain people to the point they try to “cancel” you?

It’s only socialist media. Trolls can get annoying, but you can always ignore or block them…

I’ll close by reiterating that I’m not stressed, so please stop asking why I’m so tense.

It’s not my fault I have good posture.


[1] Boi: “Boi” used to be the gay spelling for “boy” back in the early 2000s.

I was there Gandalf. I was there, in the year 2000.

[2] Insurance: I’m not a medical billing specialists, nor an insurance professional.

Rural Neighborhood v Wilderness

Where do you think is the best place to bug out to when the SHTF and you’re faced with a survival situation?

Which is the best and safest location for your family, a rural neighborhood or the wilderness? 

The idea of living in the wilderness or somewhere in the woods is self-explanatory, but what exactly is a “rural neighborhood”? I define a rural neighborhood as a small residential community, located at least 50 miles away from a metropolis, and outside the limits of any nearby town or village. These are places where county laws apply. Some communities matching this description are gated or have restricted access. 

Which is safer?

Both options have pros and cons, and I’ll try to cover everything you may face at each location. 

Pros & Cons for Both

A rural neighborhood and a shack in the wilderness are ideally located to escape the immediate effects of a devastating attack. Both are remote enough to reduce, if not eliminate, any direct impact from a chemical attack. And both are probably safe from follow up attacks as well.

If a biological attack were to occur, being so far away from a major population center may help insulate your community. However, this will only slow the spread of the contagion because members of the community may be exposed through work in a nearby city or metropolis, as we’ve seen with Covid-19.

The only way a rural community will stand a greater chance of being protected from a biological attack is if a massive nuclear assault happens at the same time. The immediate reduction of population caused by the nukes, when combined with the disease, will hopefully slow or stop it before contaminated survivors reach your community. Remember that no community is 100% protected, and one day the disease will reach your community.

I just hope our failure with Covid-19 and its variants don’t haunt us when a true biological attack occurs[1].

Another good thing about both locations is that your neighbors will likely possess firearms. Having armed neighbors adds to the area’s overall security, and serves as a deterrent against would-be robbers, looters, and vandals. A local militia can be formed to protect the community from hostile outsiders who may attack or steal resources.

Rural Neighborhood – Pros

More Eyes = Security

Ordinary people are less likely to commit a crime if someone is watching, because the possibility of intervention is too great. Even if nobody is present, the threat of witnesses coming out of the woodwork has prevented many crimes in the past. However, you shouldn’t rely on these passive security concepts once people start getting desperate.

Defense

Once supplies run out and ordinary people become desperate, raiders will come and try to take what little resources your community has. Thankfully, your neighbors will probably be armed and will make it easier to form a militia to defend the community. 

Point of Entry

Most rural residential communities have limited entry points, which should make it easier to predict where intruders may enter. With that said, don’t focus your entire defense on the obvious points of entry. You need to interview your neighbors to locate commonly used trails and start patrolling those areas. 

Vacancies

Another benefit to a rural community is that many of your neighbors probably don’t live there permanently. Those neighbors have a home in the city and may not survive the journey to their second home. This adds to the looting potential[2]… I must stress that the community, as a whole, must agree to break into vacant homes to loot and distribute any resources found within. Everything must be transparent, and an accurate account of supplies acquired must be recorded. 

There can’t be any question as to what was taken and later distributed because that will cause suspicion of hoarding or favoritism. I’d also recommend the community be prepared for the possibility that an owner may return. If that happens, the community should reimburse the owner for the “lost” resources. 

Rural Neighborhood – Cons

What makes a neighborhood safe, can also backfire…

You must remain vigilant against busy-bodies because those are the neighbors who’re most likely to stir shit up and rally others in the community against whatever the cause of the day is. They will try to organize community programs and publicly shame those who don’t participate in their pet projects.

The danger you must watch out for happens when those busy-bodies try to force an entire neighborhood to pull resources, just to carry their dead-weight. If these people are given any position of power, they may trespass onto your property to conduct a “safety check” or “resident survey”. That may sound innocent, but they’re true goal is to spy on you and your property and see if there’s anything valuable worth stealing[3]. When public shaming doesn’t work, they will rally your most desperate neighbors into a communist uprising against you.

Everyone’s a Capitalist when times are good and they have a nice 401k, but when the SHTF, they all think it’s a grand idea to be a Commie.

The Wilderness – Pros

Seclusion

The chances of someone finding your home in the middle of an overgrown forest aren’t very high. This inherent seclusion adds to security because would-be looters can’t steal what they can’t find. Even if your home is in the open desert, the likelihood that someone will trek out to your remote hideaway are low[4]

Secret Domain

Since there’s so few neighbors, that should mean only a few people know the lay of the land. You and your family will know where to stash supplies and where to hide if being pursued. Ideally, this should also mean you’ll know where the best places are to set up boobytraps.

Living off the Land

Living in the wilderness means you’ll have more land available for foraging, hunting, and farming. If you have an acreage in the woods, you can lay out traps for small animals and forage for nuts, berries, and other edible vegetation[5]. You can clear some land to grow a farm, or use a natural clearing.

Room to Expand

If you’re the trusting sort or know someone trustworthy with the skills to survive, you may have extra space so they can move in with you. I’m not willing to take that risk with a stranger. At least not until I know the person’s character and have developed some sort of working relationship. 

The Wilderness – Cons

Access to Medicine

Having a home in the wilderness means getting help during an emergency will be much harder than living in a community, which may have a doctor and medical supplies.

If you’re bit or stung by a venomous creature, or have a heart attack, you could die before reaching medical assistance. Or, if you slip or trip down a steep hill and break a leg, you will have to perform first aid and make the journey to the nearest known medic… in agony. 

If you suffer a minor injury and don’t know where to find treatment, you may be forced to let your body heal itself. Humans have been getting injured for millennia and the body knows how to put minor breaks back together again[6]. The drawback to letting a fracture heal without professional assistance is that it may not heal correctly.

Security

Living in the middle of the woods will help keep your home hidden, but the rough terrain will mean that any intruder willing to venture into the woods could come from any direction. It’ll be up to you and your family to ward off those intruders and secure the property. 

Remember when I said that raiders will eventually come to steal resources? Living outside of a community means you may be on your own to defend yourself when they attack. If there’s some sort of radio or sound-based alarm system[7], help may not arrive fast enough to save you and your family. 

Squatting

If you don’t own the land, you’re technically a squatter. What used to be called “squatters-rights” won’t exist if the SHTF[8]. If the original owners of the property show up and demand that you leave, you have the moral obligation to do so. You could try to negotiate with the owner and ask to stay a bit longer as a guest, but be prepared to leave if they refuse.

Alternately, what happens if it takes several days to reach your bug-out location and you find squatters living on your land? It’ll be up to you to evict these trespassers who’ve been mooching off your hard-earned preparedness. I’m writing an article on this subject and hope to post it in a week or so.

***

There are many advantages and disadvantages to living out on your own or within a community. You should be cognizant of the problems you may face when making your bug out plans or buying a property with this type of scenario in mind. 

Personal circumstances may make it impossible for you to choose where you’ll evacuate. Especially, if you cannot afford to purchase a second home or property, or don’t have family to take you in. Regardless of the situation, it’s always good to be prepared for what may happen… wherever you end up.


[1] True Bio-Attack: Some people hypothesis that Covid-19 was a soft attack against the western world. I will only mention this possibility because it certainly seems interesting that China and other totalitarian countries fared the best during the outbreak.

[2] Disclaimer: I do not condone or advise anyone to commit any crime.

[3] Resident Survey: When I lived in a large apartment complex, I once caught a maintenance worker inside my home “checking for water-leaks”. The overly nervous worker finished his token search and left. I noticed some things were missing, and changed the locks on the door when the facility said it wasn’t going to do anything to fix the problem.

[4] Desert: I’ve always been a huge fan of Frank Herbert’s: Dune series. While becoming a “desert creature” has a certain appeal, I’m too “water fat”. There aren’t any nearby deserts to make it practical, so I’m not trained to survive in a desert environment.

Much of the information contained my survival articles will not apply to desert survivalism.

[5] Edible Vegetation: If you don’t know if it’s edible, DO NOT EAT IT. That includes but is not limited to: fungi, berries, flowers, nuts, or any other part of a plant (root, leaf, or stem). Nature can be tricky, some parts of a perfectly edible plant can be poisonous.

[6] Medical Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, and any perceived advice in this work needs to be regarded at the same level as an “old wives’ cure” or as part of fiction.  

[7] Alarm: Bells have been ringing for millennia. They’ve been used to warn of pending attacks, natural disasters… and dinner.

[8] Squatters-Rights: This legal protection of criminal trespassers should never have existed in the first place.

My Bug-out Plans

In this part of my Practical Survivalist series, I’ll share a few of my bug-out plans. Yes, I have more than one plan. I think it’s important to have multiple plans because you may be faced with different types of situations and need to have a general idea of what you need to do when faced with each scenario. However, you should be prepared to alter your plans as the situation demands. As Helmuth von Moltke the Elder once said, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”[1]

Please notice that my plans are specifically tailored to my current living situation, and a family of one spouse and no children. These plans may not specifically apply to a situation you may face with your family. These plans should be used as examples only, and modified to suit your needs.

Plan #1: Primary Plan

If my boyfriend and I are both at home, if/when the alert happens[2] I’ll grab my bug-out bag and some other essentials (like a bicycle), and then run to the car[3]. While I’m doing that, my boyfriend needs to get our pets ready to travel, and grab any essentials he needs. That includes:

  1. Collect any personal essentials he can’t live without for years to come.
  2. Put the leash on the dog and lock him in his carrier.
  3. Try to corral the bird into his carrier.
  4. Grab as much pet food as he can carry.
  5. Take everything he can carry down the stairs to the first floor or the car.

This needs to be done in less than 5 minutes.

When he runs out with the pets, I will run back inside for more supplies that I may have forgotten. I’ll tell him to stay with the car because it needs to remain running and we can’t risk turning it off[4], nor can we afford to have it stolen. 

I’ll take the stairs back up and grab whatever he packed or left, along with any last-minute items I think will be useful.

By the time I get the car pulled up to the front of our home, my boyfriend should have everything downstairs and ready to be loaded. If he isn’t downstairs, I’ll have to wait for him at the car because we can’t leave it unattended. If I’m stuck waiting for too long, then as a last resort, I’ll turn off and lock the car. I’ll take the stairs up to find out what the fuck is taking so damn long, and help solve any problems he’s facing.

If the problem is an unruly pet, we may have to leave it behind… Remember, this is a survival situation and every minute it takes for us to evacuate, reduces our chances of survival.

When we’ve loaded the car, we’ll drive as fast as possible away from the city and hope we have enough time to get out of the blast radius[5]. Or, hope the car can get us as close to our new home as possible before it breaks down (EMP) or runs out of gas.

Once we reach our destination, we’ll unpack the car and stash everything into our new permanent home. The new reality will not have registered on any of our neighbors yet, so we’ll take this opportunity to drive out and get whatever supplies we can while it’s still relatively safe.

If the car becomes disabled during this plan, we will salvage as much as possible and walk the rest of the way. This contingency will be similar to Plan #2-A, which is the next section.

Plan #2-A: EMP with Family

What if there’s an EMP and the car doesn’t start. If an EMP occurs and we aren’t a charred cinder, then it’s possible that was the attack. If so, it’s possible we don’t have to worry about nukes raining down from the sky[6]. Hopefully, that means we have more time to bug out since we no longer have a working car. Let’s hope, but never assume this, and remember that…

We need to leave the city as soon as humanly possible!

Similar to my core plan, we need to grab all supplies that are portable and load them onto bicycles. We probably won’t be able to take everything we want, but we can use the handlebars (and any mounted racks) to hold what supplies we can manage. Hopefully, the tires haven’t dry-rotted and the tires are good to go, because that means we have an easy and silent way out of the city.

If we’re unfortunate and the tires don’t hold pressure, we’ll have to use them in a different way… as carts. We can distribute the weight of our supplies and pets onto the bikes. Using the bicycles as make-shift carts will help us travel on foot further and faster, all while staving off exhaustion just a little bit longer. 

Let’s not kid ourselves. On a trip as far as 80-100 miles, you will get: tired, worn out, and probably bruised or blistered. To combat that inevitable exhaustion, I plan to use every chemical advantage at my disposal during this journey. That means we will use pain killers to suppress any soreness, and “other prescription drugs” to ward off exhaustion[7]

Wait! I have a question.

How are we going to ride a bicycle with a dog in a carrier? Alternately, how are we going to hold onto a pet with one hand while riding an over-encumbered bike?

We aren’t. If we’re riding the bikes, we must be able to balance. The bird’s carrier can be used as a backpack, so that part is easy. However, the dog’s carrier is too bulky. We’ll have to put a leash on the dog and feed him a Benadryl, before sealing him into a backpack. This may sound inhumane, but it’s the best option available to us[8]. I will carry the dog because I can’t trust the boyfriend’s bleeding heart to not cause unnecessary delays.

Hopefully, the Benadryl will force the dog to take a nap in the bag.

Plan #2-B: No Car, No Family

This plan is similar to Plan #2-A. If I’m alone in the city and the car either isn’t here or doesn’t work, I will try to follow the primary plan in combination with “Plan #2-A”.

Since I’m alone, I will need to be more conservative with my loadout. If the dog is with me, he’s getting put in a bag (like the previous plan). I should be able to handle the bird carrier on my back, but if he’s too stubborn to get in his carrier, he may get left behind. 

I know it’s horrible to leave a family member, but this is a survival situation and every minute wasted means your chances of survival drop.

If my bike’s tires don’t air up, I’ll try the other bike we own. If neither hold pressure, then I’ll use the most useful bike as a cart and walk to our new home[9]. That bike will likely be mine, because it’s a hybrid road/dirt bike and the tires are easy to find in most stores.

Or the remains of those stores.

Regardless of the bike-situation, I will follow the same escape route.

Aided as such, I should be able to reach the bugout location in about 18 hours using the bike as a cart. The time may lessen greatly if I can ride it, or increase depending on road conditions or potential robbery of the bicycle itself.

If the bike survives the journey, then my family can use it while travelling to market or patrolling the neighborhood.


[1] Moltke Quote: This quote is almost certainly simplified from the original German quote.

[2] Alert: I’m not fully confident that we can rely on an alert to warn us of an incoming attack. Our government will probably react to an incoming threat at a snail’s pace, because most government officials want to avoid political backlash if a threat turns out to be a false alarm. Remember the false alarm that happened in Hawaii in 2018?

[3] Leaving Home: If you live in a building that has an elevator, don’t use that elevator when bugging out because you may get stuck inside (and help may never arrive).

[4] Leave it Running: According to a few articles I’ve come across, it’s possible that the car will remain operational if it’s running when an EMP happens. Alternately, it may have been a fluke that the car started and we don’t want to smack lady luck in the face when things work our way.

[5] Speeding: Again, I do not condone breaking the law… but if nukes are flying, do you honestly think the police are going to chase you down when their own families are at stake. And, if they do chase you, do you think any community will find you guilty for simply trying to save your family… given the “new reality”.

Heck, that community may lynch the officer for such a wasteful expenditure of resources.

[6] EMP as the Attack: I’m a big fan of the Fallout Franchise, but I’ve got to admit that I’m more worried about an EMP attack than a full-scale nuclear exchange.

[7] Blitz: Just like the Nazis of World War II, we’ll use “medicine alternatively” to get to our new home without stopping.

[8] Doggy Bag: I know there are bags designed to hold dogs and other small pets. Some even allow the dog to stick its hear out to enjoy the breeze. There are two things which don’t make this a possibility:

  1. I know our dog and getting him into one of those breezy carriers will either take forever, or he’ll fight us tooth and nail (literally, because he’s a dog).
  2. We are maxed out on storage and storing another carrier in our home is not possible.

And frankly, at least I’m making an effort to save every single member of the family, human or otherwise. A lot of families will just abandon their pets because transporting them is too hard.

Separated when the SHTF 

It’s always great to have a plan and know what you’re going to do if “The Fall” happens. But most plans I’ve read online or in books seem specifically tailored to single people.

Why is that?

Most people have some sort of a family, whether it be a spouse and/or at least one child? 

What’s the plan if you are separated from them when disaster strikes? Don’t think for an instant that it’ll never happen… I’m surprised more people haven’t accounted for this situation in their disaster planning, because a lot of things can cause your family to be spread out across an entire city.

In a best-case scenario, it takes missiles from the eastern hemisphere a little less than 30 minutes to reach targets in the continental United States. However, if an attack comes from a submarine, it could take about 10-15 minutes to reach their targets. Also, consider that our government will probably move at a snail’s pace because they don’t want political backlash if it turns out to be a false alarm[1]. That means, you have less than 10-30 minutes to get out of the city.

So, what would cause your family to be separated during a disaster? 

Life… That’s what. 

In most families, parents work and children are at school throughout the day. That’s two or three different locations everyone who matters could be located. If a disaster strikes and you can’t contact your family, you need to have a plan so you’re not wasting time running around like a chicken with its head cut off. 

Assuming you have something resembling the average “nuclear family”, I’d recommend you plan to have one parent collect the survival gear and get your vehicle ready to make an escape. The other parent, preferably female (or feminine), needs to focus on getting your children out of school.

This can take forever. Actually, getting your kids is going to be the greatest time-suck in your bug-out plan because history and bad parents have taught school officials to drag their feet. 

The reason why I recommend you task the mother or feminine partner with this duty is because they tend to appear less threatening during emergency situations than males or dominant partners. They tend to exude a combination of nervous and worried emotional energy, which makes people more sympathetic. They also tend to chat and relate with staff, and that relatability may get the kids out faster.

A feminine person can say, “I’m so worried about the situation, I just want my family to be at home.” As opposed to most dominant males, who find it difficult to do the same thing. Men may appear to be more aggressive than women in the same situation. They tend to radiate anger and frustration when under pressure, and isn’t ideal when they’re forced to work with slow-government-employees.

The school may refuse to release a child to a parent who appears to be overly nervous and panicked. If this happens, the parents should switch out and try a different approach. Maybe a different face will convince the school to release your kids.

If the school refuses to release your child after two attempts… then you need to do what’s best for your family. You may have to decide, as a family, to extract your children by any means necessary[2]

This is a survival situation and minutes can mean the difference between life or death. The chances of your family’s survival reduces with every minute that school official wastes. 

If you’re a single parent, your job is twice as hard because you not only have to collect your kids, but also the supplies you’re going to need. If this is the case, I recommend you pick up the kids first because they can help you pack. If the school will not release your kids, you got that attempt out of the way. That means when you head home, you know what extra supplies you may need to bring back so you can successfully extract your child.

Who knows, maybe things will have cooled off enough that your appearance won’t be as threatening when you return. Or perhaps the staff will have a change of heart. Or, maybe another parent put the school in its place. It doesn’t matter how you get your kids out of school, you just need to keep in mind that it’s going to waste most of your family’s precious time. 

Skeptical Relationship 

What if you’re in a relationship with a skeptic who will not listen to your emergency plans? What if they don’t take it seriously and refuse to commit those plans to memory? Or, what if they are the type of person who is so worried about you, they’ll do all the wrong things when the SHTF? 

Well, there truly isn’t helping everyone. You just have to tell them your disaster plans and hope they remember the plan. 

I happen to be in a relationship with a skeptic, and we sometimes find ourselves separated by about 100 miles because of home remodels or work. 

If I were the one to be out of the city, I will not go into the city looking for my boyfriend. Forget all those heroic movies where the lone man or mother saves the family. That’s a hopeless endeavor in real life, and I don’t want him to do the same for me if the situations were reversed. 

If I’m trapped in the city, I will hike or bicycle it out to the bug-out spot… and he should do the same. 

IF he wants to come to my aid, then MAYBE it would be a good idea if he tried to meet up with me mid-way. But that will require a lot of luck…

I can’t stress the importance having a bug-out plan. However, not all plans are made for the same type of family. You need to make your own, or adjust published plans to meet your own family needs. Always keep in mind that the longer it takes you to get out of a major city, the less likely the most important people to you are going to survive.

***

Next time, I’ll post a few of my bug out plans. Yes, I have multiple plans.


[1] False Alarm: Remember the false alarm that happened in Hawaii in 2018?

[2] I would like to remind my readers that I do not condone violence, nor do I recommend that you commit any crimes. You need to use your best judgement when it comes to your family’s safety.

Red/Blue Pill 💊

If you have an account with any of the major social media platforms, you’ve likely seen one of the many different versions of this Matrix-style red/blue pill question[1]. Most people who comment or respond to these types of posts answer with their choice and provide a brief reason to support that decision. But when I recently encountered this post, I found myself thinking about the inherent question and what consequences each decision may hold.

A quick note from the author: The points made in this story are best suited to someone who was a child during the 1990s, or earlier.

Red Pill

I noticed that most of the commentators who chose the red pill said they’d go back and use their knowledge to play the market or win the lottery to get rich and have the best of both worlds. The thing most of these commenters are missing is the red pill says: “restart your life at age 6 with all the knowledge you have now”. That doesn’t necessarily mean restart AND GO BACK IN TIME, with all the knowledge you have now.

Now think about it, would you seriously want to retain your knowledge and restart at age 6?

  1. You can’t drive 🚗
  2. You can’t work, so how are you going to support yourself? Do you honestly think your parents want to re-raise you? Are they even alive? If not, you’re going to be a ward of the state. 
  3. All your current credentials are useless and need to be re-earned because nobody will believe a 6-year-old graduated with a bachelor’s/master’s degree 🎓 That means…
  4. You have to suffer through school all over again. You’ll have to endure over 12 years of droning teachers who teach nothing to prepare you for life as an adult (things like laws, crime & punishment, how to do taxes, etc.). 
  5. You can’t vote 🗳
  6. Health-wise, reverting back to the body of a child with all the knowledge you’ve amassed may cause problems. Consider that your body is still growing and developing at age 6. All your current knowledge may force your brain to rapidly establish neural connections and grow new wrinkles. If left unchecked, all that quick growth could cause a tumor[2]
  7. You can’t drink 🍷 🍸 🍹 🍺 🥃
  8. You need to consider sexual relationships too. Since you have the knowledge of a full adult, are you technically a “Pedi” if you have sex with another person your physical age? On the same subject, do you really want to “date” adults who’re attracted to kids your age (think really hard about what normally happens to their victims).

Let’s play devil’s advocate and consider what could happen if you took the red pill and did travel back in time to your 6th birthday, with all the knowledge you now possess.

If you’re a millennial, there’s no escaping school because “No Child Left Behind” ended in 2015. That means you’ve got to slog through all those classes… all over again. However, you may perform a lot better because you learned everything already. You may even qualify for advanced placement classes, and maybe an academic scholarship later in life.

The technology we have today doesn’t exist. Do you think you can live without being able to post an update every day? Be honest. When I was a teen, LiveJournal and Blogging were THE only social media methods. LiveJournal and Blogging!!!

Also consider that access to immediate information may not exist, so you’ve got to keep any petty snowflake ideals you may harbor to yourself. People were no-nonsense back then and that kind of behavior would have earned you a black eye. 

Another thing to remember is that childhood punishments were much harsher during and before the 1990s. Nowadays, children are getting PTSD from “time out”. So don’t be shocked when you have to physically re-live an actual spanking.

Many commentators said they’d play the market or win the lottery to get rich. If you want to try winning the lottery, you’d need to remember the exact numbers and when to play them. You’re just a punk kid and can’t buy the ticket, so you need to convince someone to buy a ticket with those numbers. And then, you’d need to ensure you can benefit from those winnings. It’ll be easy for an adult to walk away with your lottery money, or if family, to squander your winnings.

It’s too risky to use the winning numbers too many times, because sooner or later, someone is going to find out you have advanced knowledge of the winning numbers and either ruin the scheme or kidnap you for the information. So, just to be sure you win the lottery, you’d have to remember or save the winning numbers until your 18th birthday. That’s 12 years…

But what about playing the market? Again, YOU ARE A CHILD. You can’t buy stocks. If you walk into a Charles Schwab, the employees are going to call the police to report a missing child. If you have nice parents, you may be able to convince them to buy stocks using your allowance money. Don’t hold your breath though.

Most Americans didn’t know how to buy stock way back when. Heck, people still thought Charles Schwab branches were banks in the early 2000s. Plus, the cost to buy anything in the market was so prohibitively expensive it detracted most potential investors.

Yes… good luck getting your parents to go through all that trouble.

Blue Pill

I’d personally choose the blue pill, because it seems simple enough. It’s just $10 million in cash, but even that isn’t without risk. For starters, how are you getting this $10 million in cash? Does it come with a receipt from a non-illegal entity? Or, is this money going to magically materialize out of thin air? 

If you can’t legally point out where the money came from, you’ll need to keep your new-found wealth a deep, dark secret. You’ll need to find a way to discretely spend it or “launder” it into the economy[3]. That means you’ll need to pay for everyday things using cash. If done wisely, you may be able to build an entire house with cash. But you’ll need to trust the workers not to take your money and run.

You’ll need to store all this cash for a really long time. Which increases your chances of getting robbed, and maybe even murdered for your money. Which also means you must hide it all away at various locations and remember where everything is stashed. 

If you receive the $10 million via direct deposit or wire transfer, then the source had better be legitimate. If not, a couple things that may happen. If the transfer came from an unknown or unconfirmed source, the bank will probably think it was an error in the system and void the transaction. Meaning, you instantly lose the money. 

Although, if the money is transferred from a known source, regardless of where the money came from, the government will be alerted and it will investigate the transaction[4]. If the government finds anything it doesn’t like, not only can it freeze your assets, but you may face time in prison. 

 ***

Overall, I think the blue pill is a safer option. Sure, there are risks with getting $10 million in cash, but the red pill has way more long-term annoyances and risks associated with it to be worthwhile. Not to mention that you’d have to grow up and endure hormonal changes and acne all over again.


[1] Wachowskis, T. (Director). (1999). The Matrix [Motion Picture].

[2] Tumor: Note that I’m NOT a medical professional. This is a hypothetical possibility and is not based on any science. If anything, consider it a nonsensical musing along the lines of: “everything may cause cancer”.

[3] Laundering: I’d like to remind everyone that I do not condone any illegal activity and any perceived instructions regarding how to commit a crime are hypothetical, and should be considered partly as a work of fiction.

[4] Investigation: I had a college professor who gave all her children $10,000 as a gift because she has more money than she can spend. She came home one night to find that our government ransacked her home as part of an FBI investigation related to funding terrorism.

The annual gift tax exclusion was $10,000 back then. Now, it about $16,000.

Pesky Pescatarian

I was supposed to be a Pescatarian last year, but that didn’t work out so well. I actually enjoy fish more than other meats such as beef, pork, or lamb. So, you’d think being a Pescatarian would be easy for me, but it wasn’t.

I’m a pretty healthy eater, so it’s not like I eat junk food every day[1]. I’m fortunate my tastes in food aren’t like most other people: 

  • I love salads and enjoy eating green leafy salads without dressing. 
  • I don’t like sweets, but will indulge if I feel like treating myself. 
  • I have mixed tastes when it comes to bacon. Sometimes it tastes good, but most of the time it’s… meh.
  • I will never turn my nose up to a good soup, stew, or gumbo.
  • I love pasta and bread. This is bad if you’re on a no/low-carb diet, and I try not to eat either very often. I love pasta so much, I became a Pastafarian.[2] 

So why didn’t the Pescatarian diet work out?

I simply don’t like the inconvenience of having to worry about what fits in a selective diet. I eat out a lot, and every time I went to a restaurant, disappointment would set in when I realized I couldn’t eat things the business was known for. I quickly began “forgetting” I’m a pesky Pescatarian and ate whatever I found appetizing on the menu.

Early in the diet, I had forgotten about the diet and had lamb for lunch. I was really excited about eating my lamb shank, but was reminded that we’re supposed to be Pescatarians. I quickly countered that I’m sure the sheep I’m about to consume was born a Pisces.

As I feasted on the flesh of the land-animal, I thought to myself:

Those pesky Pescatarians, always are discriminating against the other creatures of this earth. Just because my sweet little lamb might have had to swim once in his or her life, by accident, doesn’t mean that it’s any less of a protein than that snooty salmon he’s eating.

Just because that salmon can breathe underwater, doesn’t make it any better than my luscious little lamb. My lamb can breathe underwater too, but only for a few minutes before transcending to a higher plane of existence and becoming my lunch.

I bet if my little lamb and his salmon were in a prison together, my lamb would shank[3] his salmon in the cafeteria.

I’m jerked back from my daydream when I hear someone ask, “What are you thinking about, sweety?”

I can’t tell him what I’m really thinking and quickly reply, “How much I love you.”

“Aww! That’s sweet. I love you too.”


[1] Healthy Eater: I’m naturally a healthy eater, aside from my favorable taste in beer and wine… and the empty calories found in those alcoholic beverages.

[2] Pastafarian: Pastafarianism or the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, worships the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM). It makes light of some of the established religions and was born in opposition to teaching intelligent design in public schools.

When Pastafarians die they live on an island and can go sailing on their own pirate ship. The island has a “Beer Volcano”, which provides other beverages based on individual tastes. And there’s a stripper factory, which also builds strippers based on your tastes. The religion is inclusive and worshiping the Flying Spaghetti Monster is just a suggestion. You simply have to have the spirit of a pirate, and try not to be an asshole.

[3] Lamb shank: Get it? You do, right? (Yay to awkward middle-aged man humor…)

Also, I do not condone or promote violence of any sort.

Fanny Packs

Fanny packs are coming back in style.

Yes, you heard me right. Those packs that went the way of the Dodo around the year 2000, have made a comeback. I started noticing bicyclists were wearing fanny packs in 2019, but then the gays started wearing them at bars, and I’ve even seen a few straight men sporting a pack. How did this happen?

Let’s describe what a fanny pack is so Gen Z and Alphas know what we’re talking about.

The kangaroo pouch fanny pack was designed to be worn on the waist of the wearer, in front of the crotch area. This is to help protect valuables from pickpockets in crime-riddled urban areas. The intended use became moot when people started wearing them on the side of the hips, or even on the lower back.

That’s the exact opposite of how it’s supposed to be worn!

Around the year 2000, pretty much everyone forgot all about the fanny pack. It was a time of great change. We got caught up in the Y2K scare and we “part[ied] like it’s 1999”, in 1999. If they were seen after the dawn of the new millennium, they were worn by “boomers” on vacation (to the embarrassment of grandkids everywhere).

Fast-forward 20 years, and they’ve made a comeback!

I first noticed that die-hard bicyclists were wearing fanny packs during group rides I participated in. Instead of on the waist, they wore the pack over their chest. I thought it was a neat idea, because most athletic clothing lack pockets.

Even if you happen to find athletic shorts that have pockets, a true athlete or enthusiast won’t bother using them because it messes up the workout. I hate keeping my wallet, phone, and keys in my pockets while riding. They flop around, dig and cut into legs, and tend to fall out. It’s too much of a distraction and hassle.

But wait, here comes the fanny pack!

You can strap this to your chest and keep all your essential items in an easy to access pack. You’ll even look stylish in the process. No-one will look twice if you choose to wear it on the back of your waist either.

Fanny packs are a useful accessory for bicyclists, but they started getting smaller and smaller… and men began wearing small leather packs at the gay bars. This new form of fanny pack is obviously intended to be a sexy accessory. It accentuates the muscles and shows how flat your chest and belly are. Unfortunately, a lot of guys with “average” bods (like my body) wore them, and it didn’t look hot.

The strap made the dad-bod and moobs more prominent.

There have been a lot of successes using new versions of the packs in the Downtowns of most major cities. Business dress seems to match well with some of the higher-end packs. Spurred on by this fashionable success, fanny packs experienced even more alterations and began looking like form-fitting male purses.

And then, some of the prettier men began sporting actual purses.

It’s rare, but I’ve even seen the occasional straight man wear a high-end leather fanny pack. I think the only times I’ve seen straight men wearing them is at sporting events, or if they’re out with family.

Most times it’s painfully obvious the wife or girlfriend made him wear it.

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From bicyclists, to gays, to metrosexuals, the fanny pack is making a comeback, but is this fashion trend here to stay? Or will it fade away and only resurface in awkward family get-togethers, like all those 90s photos your grandparents keep digging up from storage?

Who knows…