APOCALYPSE IS NOW!
Posted on January 1, 2012
I love end-of-the-world fiction. Doesn't matter how the world ends; whether it be a large chunk of space rock whose commute through the galaxy coincides with our orbital path or the universal equalizer of an EMP blast high overhead or the more visceral threat of the undead reanimating, I can't get enough of the doomsday scenario. I love me atomic wastelands, roving bands of mutants and rag-tag survivors making a last stand. Apocalyptic fiction has become a big thing in the last few years and I'm just ecstatic.
It got me thinking recently how I would fare in a world gone mad. Not very well, I fear. I'd like to think of myself as a flexible survivor, but when I inventoried my true assets and deficits when faced with outrunning a rabid horde of zombies or helping rebuild society with my extensive knowledge of weapons or gardening, I fall woefully short of the cut.
Below are the reasons why I wouldn't make it past the first week of any brave, new world:
1.Caffeine. I'm horribly addicted to a high level of caffeine consumption on a daily basis. When I try to cut it out, I get dizzy, nauseous and vomit. Even if that cleared up after the first few days, I'd have to hole up somewhere and wait it out. And as we all know, alien death squads, the former dead and angry mutants don't play by the rules of Five-Mississippi.
2.Marketable Skills. With the collapse of our society, having an experienced trigger finger and a green thumb will be in high demand. Any remotely organized refuges with thoughtful Honey Do lists of who they need on staff will just turn me away. Drawing cute aliens, writing escapist stories and teaching 5th graders how many degrees are in a pentagon rank low on the skills needed to land an express pass into the world's most elite gated communities.
3.Pop Culture Withdrawal. My daily diet of television, comics, books and music would evaporate in snap. Long would I languish on how the world ended when I still had 64% of my DVR filled. I'd never see how CHUCK ended. My extensive backlog of HOUSE HUNTERS episodes would go unwatched. The depression I would lapse into at having all these bright shiny things taken away would make me easy pickings.
4.My Family. We never arrive on time to anything. The moment's notice edict with travel during a world-shattering disaster would mean: a) Forget outrunning any nearby rising oceans, b) end of the line for any supply handouts from the soon to be destroyed government-run relief facilities, c) an uncanny imitation of a slow-moving gazelle at the fringe of the herd easily plucked up by the nasty flock of vampire men who have infested the planet or d) all of the above.
5.Denial. As much as I read about how to survive the end of the world, the psychological stress of such an event would play a lethal game of Freeze Tag with my decision-making skills. It's one thing to be able to quickly order off the Taco Bell drive-thru and entirely another to have the wherewithal to select which subway tunnel leads away from the cavern loaded down with subterranean unmen.
As you can see, I'm not going to be the extreme survivalist you want on your crew as you brave radiated cities, fight off disfigured fish people or hopscotch through a magma mine field courtesy of the supervolcano that now occupies the greater part of the ATL.
It all makes me wonder if I'd be a better candidate for time travel. Surely I'm not that chronologistically impaired. But that's a post for another time and place.