Would I Be Useful in an Apocalypse?

Well, I had so much fun on my birthday it took me over a week to recuperate. While doing that, I went on a binge of reading post apocalypse books, referred to as PA. It’s interesting to explore different versions of what people think would happen if it all goes to hell. Also all the different ways people think it will all go down. Nuclear war and meltdowns is a popular theme. Then comes biological warfare and epidemics. Of course there is the ever popular zombie and vampire apocalypse. Another theme that seems to be garnering attention in recent stories is a financial meltdown or attack.

Most of these stories are written by men. What I find a tad disturbing is that in many of the books the male characters are fleshed out. What they did before the war, what secrets they have, how many push ups they can do now. If they have a love interest she gets a full character. However, the females are collectively referred to as “the women” or “the females.” There are a few token female characters; old wise woman and the camp harlot seem to be popular mini characters.

I don’t want to make light of the wonderful and fabulous attributes of our beloved menfolk, but I dare any of them to birth a baby, even on a drunken dare. Just not gonna happen. So if the women are going to be doing the baby thing to repopulate our planet, does that relegate us to the status of livestock? Rebuilding a nation or a civilization would require just as many strong women as it would strong men.

I’m kind of hoping that if we have to start over, that the whole “might makes right” thing gets a second look at some point. Cooperation seems a better solution. Unfortunately, lack of cooperation seems to be the most likely cause of a meltdown to begin with. Would we learn anything from it if we all get blasted back to the Stone Age? Long term survival would probably depend on it. Maybe not at the very beginning. But, if it all boils down to who can best who in a beat down then we will be screwed.

So back to the original question, would I be of any use after an apocalypse? I do know how to use a gun and have no problem with defending myself or a loved one, with deadly force if necessary. I don’t come unglued at the first sign of trouble. I can start a fire and cook, even know how to get a can open without a can opener. I know how make bread, can vegetables, cut up a chicken or a rabbit, fish and smoke meat.  I know how to sew as in construct clothing, not just sew on a button.

I can do basic engine maintenance and change a tire, not that I ever want to. I know how to knit, crochet and make quilts. That would work for warm clothing or fishing nets. I know first aid and CPR. Spent some time as a midwife assistant in my hippy days, so I could help attend women in their ultimate hour of need.  I can saddle and ride a horse. Never tried hitching up a wagon yet, but there’s still time…I hope. I can play a guitar. I can sleep on the ground, no seriously, actually sleep, not just toss and turn and pray for morning!

What about the not so tangible things? How would we decide who or what is important? Interesting question.  Would we descend into a Lord of the Flies situation? God I hope not. But, who knows? Maybe one of my talents would be my big mouth. Would I have the courage to stand up in say “Hey, this isn’t right! The children, poets, the infirm, the people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, have a right to be here too”? How would we truly define the right to live when it all comes down to it? On the one hand I can hope I’m never in that situation. On the other hand I already am in that situation. We all are.

8 responses

  1. In middle school I had a Peer Counseling class. We learned about how to help each other resolve conflicts and be better people and so forth. We also played BombShelter (not by that name probably) a game where you draw a card that tells you who you are and then you have to defend your right to get into the bomb shelter and live. People were preists with guns, pregnant teenage outlaws, elderly with handy survival skills… that sort of thing. It was lots of fun and very interesting from a social dynamic point of view.

    Also, I agree that there are too many (white) guys writing apocalyptic fiction. World Made By Hand (James Kunstler) had the same theme. Global disaster, world resets to a time when men had power over women. Men hunt/kill/make decisions. Women cook/clean/birth/find a man who will protect them.
    Begs the question, if white dudes are generally running the world, why would they be fantasizing about a reset and starting over?

    I went a little nuts and made a whole list of books by women or non-white-dudes for myself. Thought I would share…
    A Gift Upon the Shore by M. K. Wren Written by a woman about two women.
    Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood Male lead. (I really liked this book.)
    Life As We Knew It, by Susan Beth Pfeffer
    Divergent, by Veronica Roth Female lead.
    Revolution World by Katy Stauber
    Zone One by Colson Whitehead Written by a man of color.
    Deadline, by Mira Grant Male lead.
    The First Days: As the World Dies, by Rhiannon Frater
    Aftertime, by Sophie Littlefield Female lead.
    The Becoming, by Jessica Meigs Male leads.
    The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins Female lead.
    The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan Female lead.

    1. Thank you for this list, Laura. I crafted a long and what I thought to be a well thought out post and then promptly sent it to storiesbywilliams instead of you. Woopsie.

  2. Don’t forget infopocalypse. It’s a relatively recent addition, but it’s getting bigger 😉

    1. I had a little mini info meltdown yesterday. I was installing a new 2TB super drive and crashed my computer. I do this to myself about every year or so just to give myself a heart attack and stay on my toes 😛 All is well though, I retrieved my data. And I keep backup ups regularly including hard copies of the book I’m writing. If I lost a years worth of that I’d been hanging by my toes in the back yard and screaming.

      1. Wrong number, laby 😉

  3. You would be useful for all the practical things you mention – and that’s quite a list of practical skills – but the intangible – that’s where you’d be needed most. But you would have to prove yourself with the former and stealth implement the latter. The value of wisdom is never appreciated by those who need it most…

    1. You are probably right. I’ll have to make sure my intangibles are kept in an safe place.

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