Monday, December 31, 2018

Why Do I Prep?

Last week I had a friend and his significant other over. We talked, and they both commented on how my home was well-equipped for just about any emergency that they could imagine. My friend mentioned that when the zombies come he plans to come to my home and set up camp.

After several comments in this vein I pointed out to him that the reason I keep water and food on hand is not for the end of the world, but for the next time someone is working on the water pipes that go to my house and I suddenly lose water for a day or two. I am not expecting a massive ground invasion from aliens, Soviets, or anything like that, but I am expecting that a natural disaster will happen sometime within the next few years and being able to feed myself and my family is important.

He seemed genuinely confused by this and asked questions about what kind of emergencies I expected and why did I expect them? After all, there's very little of modern industrial civilization that's likely to fail  on in the next couple of years, and given the infrastructure involved these things are unlikely to fail permanently. The conversation went off  into bushes after that, but the point remains that most people expect me to prep because they expect that I am predicting the end of the world.

I’m not really expecting the end the world, at least not anytime soon. Even if you consider events like the Bronze Age collapse or the fall of the Roman Empire to be an effective end of the world, it doesn’t happen all that often. What I am worried about is the next snowstorm when the roads haven't been plowed because there is too much snow to handle; the next time my house doesn't have power in the middle of the summer and it’s a record heatwave; or the next time a city worker accidentally cuts a gas line and I have a fireman knocking on my door and telling me that I need to evacuate.

Forget an invasion by aliens, what happens the next time that I don’t want to go to the store and I am entertaining guests? Keeping ingredients on hand that I purchased while they were on sale has saved me so much money over the years that it's almost ridiculous. Having a supply of food on hand is very simple, but is often overlooked as a core part of emergency preparedness.

Even more esoteric skills come in handy on rare occasion, like knowing how to light a fire with nothing more than a pocketknife and a rock. Even if you intend never to go camping and live in a major city, note that the skill set I practice includes things like bicycle repair – practical, regular-use skills that come in handy well before the zombie apocalypse.

The point of all this is that instead of viewing prepping as some oddball hobby, I try to take a practical view of "How much of this can I apply in my everyday life and actually have it be useful?",  even if that use only comes every month or two.

Remember, the world is a crazy place. Go be ready to win in it.

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