Chapter 20: What’s real and what’s useless prepper fan-fic?

Listen: there are tons of prepper blogs, YouTube channels, slick magazines, and Facebook pages.

They all want you to like and subscribe, because that means more eyeballs and ads and monies in their pockets.

But is any of it smart?

Let’s get real. Would any of that stuff have helped you get through 2020?

You don’t need to close your eyes and imagine a world full of zombies, an invasion of Tentacle Aliens from Planet Xenon, or for all your kitchen appliances connected to the interwebs to get sentient and totally inspired after listening to you watch TERMINATOR 2 for the fifth time.

The Year 2020, which will forever suck, featured a global pandemic and a worldwide recession. Two epic disasters.

Let’s do a little cost-benefit analysis of common prepper items, most expensive to free, and ask ourselves if helped anybody get through 2020.

Personal space in converted missile silo

PRICE TAG: $1 million.

VERDICT: Could sorta be useful, if you were the only person inside and really didn’t want to catch COVID. Totally useless if anybody in there with you had COVID, since all y’all would be guaranteed to get it. Somebody would have to deliver food and water and such.

Out of the price range of all but the 1 percent and pretty useless anyway. You could do the same thing while saving a million bucks by working from home and getting groceries & Chinese takeout delivered.

Underground bunker

PRICE TAG: $50,000 to $400,000 or more.

VERDICT: Same thing as the fancypants missile silo. Meh. Waste of your precious cash.

A garage full of ammo, AR-15’s, and MRE’s

PRICE TAG: $10,000 to infinity, the way ammo prices are these days.

VERDICT: Again, not a help during 2020. Wrong way to prep for a pandemic and/or recession.

Survival sailboat, a la Kevin Costner (legend!) in WATERWORLD

PRICE TAG: Depends on size, new or used, plain or cushy. Tiny and used might be as much as a lightly used Camry, nicer and bigger ones will cost three times as much as your house.

VERDICT: This would actually keep you nicely isolated, safe from COVID and mortgage payments if you sold your house and lived on it. Better have WiFi to keep working, though. And yeah, if another apocalypse decided to pile on, you would be safe from zombies. This is our first semi-winner. Not great, but not useless.

Survival SUV or muscle car, a la MAD MAX

PRICE TAG: How much guzzleline will the engine use?

VERDICT: Actually a bad idea during a real apocalypse and absolutely useless during 2020. Nope. But you’d scare everybody pulling into Safeway.

A collection of survival gear, bug-out bags, and blades

PRICE TAG: Grab the pre-packed camo bag at Costco, some firestarters, and a great machete–all for around $100. Or you can go nuts and err on the opposite end of cheap r/MallNinjaShit, spending the firstborn’s college tuition fund by filling the garage with primo gear from REI and a collection of blades that each cost more than my first car.

VERDICT: Never a bad idea to have some camping and survival gear. Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires can always happen. They might have done their thing where you live, just to make 2020 suck more. So sure, not a bad good idea. Just don’t blow the college fund.

Skills, skills, and, for variety, more skills

PRICE TAG: Nothing, unless you sign up for classes, which you’re not doing because there’s a freaking pandemic and people are all broke.

VERDICT: Absolutely useful. Survival Lilly on YouTube is super informative, and what she does in the woods doesn’t require any money or fancy equipment. Do it.

Sweat and veggies

PRICE TAG: Nothing but time, though you can get all fancy and suckered into the idea that virtual coaches and Peloton bikes are required. They aren’t. Hiking, walking, running, punching things, flipping tires, hiking–whatever you’re into, do it.

VERDICT: Insanely good. We will all die, and chances are it won’t be after zombies go nom-nom-nom on our legs or plasma vampires arrive from the seventh dimension to eat the sun. It’s pretty much a 95 percent chance you or I will die to what everybody else tends to die from: a car accident (seatbelts!) or a health problem. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, COVID-19. And the best way to avoid all that is to get in shape and eat healthier.

Bottom line

Your time, money, and health are all precious and limited.

There’s no shortage of people who’ll try to scare you into buying their stuff. Except 2020 showed how useless a lot of that stuff is.

The smartest way to prep for any given apocalypse is simple: Sweat a little more. Eat more veggies and fewer chocolate chip cookies. Learn as much as you can.

And yeah, if you want to go wild, look into living on a sailboat, you know, more like Don Johnson in MIAMI HEAT than Kevin Costner in WATERWORLD, though you’d be ready to go all WATERWORLD if stuff happened..

But save your money.

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