Sunday, 03 March 2013

The end is nigh, buy thingz nao

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The world is ending, or at least parts of it are, depending on who you listen to. Without assault rifles and white bread, what should we do?

This may come as a shock to you, dear readers, as I am so worldly and sophisticated, but I am a person who was born and raised in Queensland. Usually this is the part where I would gloat about State of Origin wins (because there is really nothing else), but I have a feeling most of you wouldn’t care. Something something Essendon peptides? Ha Ha. There. Now, when you hear the word Queensland, what kind of things pop into your brain? Is it ‘Bogans’, ‘Big Pineapple’, ‘Bananaby’, ‘Katter’, ‘Why does anyone live there’ or perhaps due to recent events, ‘floods’? (And I’m not referring to the floods of tears from NSW supporters at Origin time!). As you probably know, Queensland was recently hit with another round of flooding just at the point that everyone had started to recover from the horrible floods of 2011. Great joke nature, you’re almost as funny as Ricky Nixon! During the couple of days I was forced to take off because Brisbane’s public transport falls apart at the slightest hint of inclement weather, I thought it appropriate to binge on my new favourite car-crash, I mean television show - Doomsday Preppers. 

 If you haven’t seen Doomsday Preppers, first of all congratulations on probably having a life, but second of all, you should probably schedule some time in between polo matches and reading poetry or whatever you are doing to watch it. Over the course of each episode, you are introduced to three ‘Preppers’ (shockingly, American) who all have their own Doomsday scenarios predicting how the world (America) as they know it will end. Their predictions range from super volcanos, pandemics, and Beyonce retiring, all the way to polar shifts and Soviet nuclear attacks. Okay, so one of these hasn’t appeared yet, but it should have by now - those polars look shifty. Anyway, once you know what kind of scary future prediction the prepper is waiting for, you follow them around their daily routine as they demonstrate the various ways they are getting ready for the catastrophe/wasting their money. A lot of the preppers have families, and they spend a HUGE amount of money and space and time on their prepping activities. Some have bought luxurious underground bunkers; some have remote, mountainous properties for when the disaster strikes; some dedicate their entire wage to prepping; many have spent tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. From my research (binge-watching), I’ve determined that the most popular doomsday prediction is centred on a global financial collapse. There has been somewhat of a renaissance in prepping in recent years, in what some are calling the ‘doom boom’. The television show does a good job of pretending that the majority of these people aren’t Tea Party-type religious racists who think that the economies of the world will collapse purely because Obama is President, but I am a regular Sherlock Jones and have figured it out. My favourite prepper so far has been ex-marine Michael. As a man of the world, Michael is not worried about the economy; he is mostly terrified of overpopulation. Because of this, Michael is teaching his THREE CHILDREN how to live off the land. Just perfect.

 This all isn’t to say that some of the skills and preparation shown don’t hold value. In the aforementioned episode, Michael teaches his children how to source water, how to build amazing shelters, eat fresh roadkill, and he is always clad in clothes he has made from hides. He also sadly looks way more fashionable than I do. During the terrible 2011 floods in Queensland, I could have used a Michael. I was totally unprepared for what happened, and how quickly it happened. The house I was living in was completely cut off. Roads in all directions were flooded, and I had no power for days. On the first day, we were told to leave work and go home. I stopped at a grocery store to get some supplies and it was already in absolute chaos. Every last drop of water was gone. 

 A couple of days after the flood water had peaked, my local grocery store had to leave the doors down and have security guards let people in a few at a time to avoid rioting (and not because of low low prices!). Another had to shut completely. I heard stories of people trying to buy the remaining supply of bread, and when they were told they couldn’t, they threw it on the ground and stomped on it. WHY WERE YOU HOARDING FRESH BREAD ANYWAY YOU IDIOTS. 

 Worryingly, the people of Doomsday Preppers almost always have a large gun and ammunition cache, and I have no doubt that whatever the disaster, their biggest threat is other scared idiots with guns. I didn’t have to deal with that, but was still woefully underprepared even for the natural disaster itself. It turns out that these days when you have no access to electricity, you have pretty much no access to anything you own. I was holding up random items trying to tweet from them, but nothing worked and my cat didn’t appreciate being poked. I didn’t have an emergency supply of food, extra water, not even a battery-powered radio. Luckily I had access to a car, and I found myself sitting in it at 3am the night the flood peaked to hear classic songs from the 80s, 90s and today and also news updates. 

 During the floods in the last few weeks, two water treatment plants shut down. Campbell Newman announced that there might be a water shortage for a couple of days and if everyone could just hold off on washing their cars or filling their pools to conserve some water, that would be great. Predictably, we found out that water usage went UP in that period because people are, at heart, selfish moronic panicking idiots. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m going to become a Doomsday Prepper. But then again, I won’t even go camping because I don’t want to rough it that much, and also I am mostly sane, so I have an alternative plan. I will stock a few days supply of water and food, batteries and radios, first aid and such. If a disaster hits that requires additional preparation, or fluoride makes us into zombies (shout-out Queensland politicians!), or a nuclear event kills the environment, I will also have a secret stockpile of drugs and alcohol and delicious food. Then I will just get naked and have an awesome time bingeing until I die. Join me in this Doomsday Prep of laziness and hedonism, friends. Join me.


Rebecca Shaw

Rebecca is primary caregiver and confidant to Tippi, the best cat in the world. She also likes writing bad jokes on twitter @brocklesnitch