Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What Would You Do: Post-Apocalypse Edition

Maybe it’s because today is Valentine’s Day (and I kindof can’t resist shitting on a day dedicated to chocolate hearts and the color red), or because the Mayans have predicted the world will end this year, or maybe just because this blog has become so damn morbid lately (and if you’re going to do something, go for the gold baby)—but today, I'd like to pose a question that drunken frat guys and science fiction nerds have been debating since time immemorial: Post-apocalypse. What would you do?

Allow me to set the scene. Several unforeseen earthquakes have destroyed most buildings, streets, stores, etc. in your area. Random shit is on fire. Electricity isn’t working. There’s no news on how far-reaching the destruction is; for all you know, the destruction could just be in Berkeley / SF / whatever city, or it could be the whole state—or even (gasp) the WORLD!! Your goal: Survival.

Here’s some guidance on how to properly debate what to do in a post-apocalyptic alternate-reality. I am not ashamed to admit that I’ve discussed this enough times to know people generally fall into two camps: (1) Faith in Humanity (ban together with your fellow man), or (2) Humans? Screw Humans!! (run for the hills). If you’re creative enough to come up with other options, I’m genuinely interested and want to hear in the comments.

It’s a close call, but personally, I fall into the F(@#$ Humans camp. I’m not a general people-hater or anything, but I do think that people react unpredictably under stress. That’s why, if I ever live to see a post-apocalypse, I’m going to grab whatever survival implements I can find nearby and go live in the Berkeley hills (I hear Lake Anza is lovely) or an equally suitable mountain range. So long as I can start a fire and scavenge for small animals and plants, I think things would be OK in the short-term. The long-term plan? Wait. See if helicopters are coming to rescue people and the damage really isn’t that widespread (if so, rejoin fellow man). If time goes by and it becomes apparent the chaos was far-reaching, spy on the people who chose to band together and see how civilization appears to be working out (if it's working out, rejoin fellow man on the condition that they make me their leader). Meanwhile, recruit a badass doctor/nurse and/or Woody Harrelson to join my wilderness team. Ad hoc goals: Build tree-house. Learn how to kill big animals and make a bear-fur cloak. Make out with Woody Harrelson.

On the other side of the debate, I’ve met people who are like—come on, don’t be crazy. Obviously, people will be nice to each other and not loot each other’s shit and fight over whatever food they can salvage from crumbled-down-Safeway. Humans, after all, have not come this far by being big meanies! (OK, now I’m editorializing.) Anyway, it would be much more sensible to find a working car, and try to drive away from the post-apocalypse zone to someplace like Nevada where hopefully the supermarket isn’t crumbled-down. I’m sure there’s more to this side of the debate, but I’ll leave that to people who feel really passionately about it.

A final note: For those of you who have read this far and are thinking something like “OMG, what a terrible thing to think about,” or “This hypo is total BS, my iPhone will never die because that's technologically impossible...” please comment here.

For everyone else, the question remains... what would YOU do??


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this hypo really a metaphor for N&B?

If yes, are you testing the waters to see if normal people still comment on this blog?

If yes, are going to try to become our leader?

With that our of the way, I'd do sort of the inverse of your plan. Start by trying to live with other survivors, learning important survival skills I probably lack at the moment and seeing how things seem to be shaking out. If it starts looking ugly, I'd head for the hills and maybe try to bring a few friends along.

2/14/2012 1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this post sucks.


2/14/2012 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*And with a swoop of her sweet bear cape, L'Alex returned to the hills of Berkeley.

2/14/2012 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Earth Abides" is a great book set in the Berkeley area that wonders about this very question. It was written in the late 1940s and is one of the first works of modern apocalyptic fiction. It paints a rosier picture than most post-apocalyptic stories these days, but the main point was an environmentalist one- the Earth's ecosystem abides and will quickly break down and grow over what humans have constructed if given the chance. It's worth a read.

2/14/2012 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grocery cart, parka, revolver. That's all you need, kid.

2/14/2012 6:44 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Actually, just a revolver. The others sort of come with it.

2/14/2012 6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When ammo runs low, you'll need a stick or something too... maybe a membership in a gun club.

2/14/2012 10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like somebody is watching Doomsday Preppers as much as I am.

I will band together with my fellow gun owners and decimate all who stand between me and the final remaining twinkies and other delicious food products on earth.

Then I will shoot myself.

2/15/2012 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And honestly, does anyone really believe people will be nice to each other in a post apocolyptic world?

2/15/2012 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex, I love you.

2/15/2012 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any coverage/thoughts related to this? http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/02/14/prb-forum/

2/16/2012 11:53 AM  

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