Thursday, February 27, 2014


One of the Facebook comments I got on my first real post (Death and Burial) was from a woman who read it and concluded that she had nothing to offer towards surviving a crisis, so she would just take herself out of the game if a crisis ever occurred. Not being a big fan of suicide, I asked why she felt useless and her response was along the lines of, "All my skills are in the arts. The only thing I might offer is the ability to make ink and paper." Someone else jumped in and offered her a place at his table any time, because making ink and paper is the first step to keeping records and making maps. She'd never thought of
herself as useful until someone pointed out that she was.

I write this because I need to point out that nobody who is willing to help is worthless. You may have to dig a bit, but you can find something that they (or you) can do to make life better. A lot of the prepper/survivalist blogs and websites out there assume that the only people worth having around are Marines and Navy SEALs, fresh out of the service. I don't believe that, and there's no reason for you to believe it either. The end of the world as we know it is not the actual end of the world. The folks who came before us weren't all strapping young men in the prime of their lives. The pioneers in America (and Australia, New Zealand, an all of the other places people have moved to), as well as the indigenous peoples they met, came in all shapes, ages, genders, and sizes.

I've been what used to be called a survivalist for most of my life. I grew up camping most weekends every summer - Mom still talks about changing our diapers in a tent. I went through Cub Scouts and would have done the Boy Scouts as well, but we moved into an area that didn't have a Troop (and still doesn't). My teenage years were spent hunting, hiking, and generally exploring the woods and hills we had moved into. By the time I joined the Army, there wasn't much about living in the field that they could teach me. Fast forward a few years and I have a family and here comes Y2K. I put up with all of the ridicule my extended family could heap on me before and after that non-event, but I kept on planning and preparing. Through my research, I came to the conclusion that nobody who is not evil is completely worthless.
Even the developmentally impaired (we just called them retarded back then) kids I chaperoned at a summer camp as a teen had something to offer. I became friends with one of them, and he could outwork me any day and never complained. It took a while to teach him how to aim, but he could shot-put a 60 pound hay bale into a loft door 20 feet off the ground. Non-stop. For hours.

I have two friends with a bad backs due to car accidents and a few falls after that. Neither can walk far without pain pills, but one loves to fish. He ties his own flies and knows more about the habits of the local fish than I ever will. The other is a shade-tree mechanic who has worked on motorcycles for years and is a born trader.

Then there's the beer-guzzling redneck side of my family. They're overweight and a bit lazy, but those boys live to hunt. They grew up running a trap line for spending money (raccoon and muskrat are worth about $20 apiece). There's not many pieces of their trucks, motorcycles, and ATV's they haven't repaired, replaced, or upgraded over the years either.

There aren't many recent immigrants in my area, but if I run into to any, I know that they will have experience living in conditions drastically different from what is "normal" life for me.

Everybody either has a talent or hobby that can be used, or they can be taught a skill that will make them more useful to a group trying to ride out a storm. 
  • Got a teenager that wandered in, all bummed out because her cell phone doesn't work anymore and her iPod is dead? Hand her a needle and some thread and show her how to mend clothing. If you're working, you will tear up your clothes.
  • How about that pre-teen boy who's upset because he had to leave his Pokemon/Magic/Yu-Gi-Oh cards at home? If he can play those games, there's nothing wrong with his color vision. Get him into the garden tending plants or teach him what plants are edible and send him out foraging with others.
  • The office worker who spent his weekends playing golf with the boss? He's got a well-developed ability to determine range - match him up with one of your hunters as a spotter.
  • Twenty-something "musician" who's never held a job for more than two weeks in his life? He's going to learn to sing for his supper and provide entertainment around the fire at night - life can't be serious all of the time or you'll go insane. He also is likely to have limited experience in a wide variety of fields; explore them and put them to use.

There will be more work in a crisis than people, so nobody is worthless. There are jobs that most people never think about. This doesn't mean that those jobs are unneeded, just that they are below the threshold of most peoples' notice. Someone will have to wash the dishes. Someone is going to have to clean up behind the animals. Someone is going to be in charge of keeping an eye on the children. If you think that you have nothing to offer, you need to think some more. Learning a new skill now will be a lot easier than waiting until after you need it, so keep reading our little blog - something may spark an interest.

Post Script:
There are some in this world that you don't want around you, or that you will at least have to keep a sharp eye on:
  • Anyone who will take what he has not earned. Looting is not scavenging.
  • Any adult who cannot control their temper, given the circumstances.
  • Any adult who refuses to work.
  • Anyone you can't trust to keep a promise or vow.
  • Anyone who abuses themselves or others. 
However, they are still not worthless, since they can always be used as a bad example.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to