Monday, May 20, 2024

Erin's Bad Prepper Habits

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
We all have bad habits in our every day lives, so it stands to reason that we have bad habits (some might call them "toxic traits") in our hobbies and lifestyles. Emergency Preparedness is no exception to this, and in fact I could argue that it is prone to more magical thinking and totemism than most. Case in point: the Doomsday Preppers TV show of last decade, which promoted the perception of "In order to survive a big emergency you need to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into bunkers, bug-out vehicles and off-grid living" and which irritated me so much that it led to the creation of this very blog, whose philosophy is "Don't be deterred by shows like that. You can prepare on a budget, step by step, for the emergencies which are likely to affect you."

With that said, I too have bad prepper habits, and I hope that by confessing them I can embolden my other writers to do the same. I don't have any ulterior motive to this -- I certainly don't want to shame anyone -- but I do hope that by sharing my weaknesses I can make some of you feel better about your own failings, and perhaps I can receive some support and advice about how best to overcome mine. 

So here, in no particular order, are my Bad Prepper Habits. 
  1. I don't shoot nearly as much as I should. Between the increase of ammunition prices in the run-up to the 2016 election, my withdrawal from a lot of social events after the family dog mauled my face, and a feeling of "I might need these later," I haven't been putting in the same time at the range as I did in the early 20-teens. I mitigate this some with dry fire practice, and the last time I went shooting back in October I was pleased that my skills hadn't degraded as much as I'd feared, but the fact remains that I know marksmanship is a perishable skill and that I've been neglecting "arms day". 
  2. I collect books instead of reading them. I've mentioned previously that I was once a voracious reader, but these days I struggle with finding the time, the quiet, and the concentration to do so. (I suspect that I have undiagnosed ADHD.) I get around this listening to podcasts, audiobooks, and YouTube videos while I do other things so that I feel productive, but when it comes to "identifying edible plants" or "learning primitive skills" and so forth, those are things which need to be studied, not just absorbed via auditory (and sometimes visual) osmosis. I comfort myself by telling myself that it's good to have these books for a grid-down emergency and I can consult them for information when needed, but I still feel like a slacker for not cracking the spines of these books and at least familiarizing myself with their contents. The biggest lie which I tell myself is that "I'll get around to reading them soon."

    Just some of my books. I've looked through all of them,
    but I can't honestly say that I've
    read any of them. 

  3. I don't get out into the woods enough. I have a lot of allergies (dust, mold, pollen, animal dander) and it's just a gross feeling to constantly be sneezing and blowing my nose because I'm around plants and animals, or scratching because my skin touched something it didn't like and now it's red and inflamed. Bugs seem to love biting me, which is another source of inflammation and irritation, and my pale skin burns pretty easily in the sun. Put all of this together and it's a laundry list of why I prefer to live inside my perfect bubble of air conditioning and HEPA filtering. I know that in most disasters and emergencies that power will be the first to go, and yet I look for ways to ensure my creature comforts continue rather than learn to "embrace the suck". 
If I thought about it for long enough I could probably find more, but those are my Big Three. If you're inclined to talk about your Bad Prepper (or Prepping) Habits, then let me tell you that this is a safe space and a no judgement zone. 


  1. If your budget permits, find an allergy specialist who treats using desensitization shots. I went through this twice in my 20s and now, in my 60s I can still control my allergies with OTC meds.

    1. Oh, I had that done when I was a child. My allergies are much, MUCH better now... which should give you an idea of how severe they were when I started. But even after all that and with OTC meds I still get red, irritated, watery eyes and a runny nose when the pollen is high. A lot of plants make my skin itch, although I wonder if that's more psychosomatic than allergic.


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