I don’t watch a lot of reality TV for obvious reasons, all of those reasons being, basically, that it’s terrible. People are terrible, is the thing, and the things they’ll do to be marginally famous on a basic cable network show are kind of disgusting. There are a few shows I’ll watch, though, namely COPS (I fucking love COPS and I don’t care who knows it) and Wicked Tuna (the New England accent is one of my favorite things in the world).
Another show I’ll watch is Doomsday Preppers. I talked about this once before, but that was before the show even aired and all I had to go on was preview commercials. Now I’ve had the chance to watch some episodes, and you know how I love to be right? Yeah, I was right. These people are fucking weirdos, and they’re all preparing for their own very specific versions of the apocalypse with little allowance for variables. Which I guess is understandable, as most of these people have spent anywhere from $20,000-$150,000 on preparations. If I spent that kind of money on plastic tarps and canned beans, I’d get pissed if someone tried to change the plans, too. The ones who have spent the most money are the ones who are the least accepting of NatGeo’s “expert assessment” of their preparedness, and the first thing out of their mouths is “I disagree” when some expert suggests that maybe 10-year-old antibiotics are not the best defense against pandemic, or perhaps the daft hippie living in a converted missile silo would do well to reconsider his 100% pacifist beliefs in the event of a global fucking apocalypse.
Most of the Doomsday Preppers are a little bit crazy or at least obsessive, while some are, as Zach said, “straight loons.” The straight loons are their own deal. They’ve become consumed by their version of the end of the world, and seem incapable of reacting to the world outside of their apocalypse lenses. Other preppers are just really remarkably prepared people, and I admit they’d be in a better position than I would be if my power went out for a few days. A few of these people have some concept of reality, and seem aware that if the apocalypse doesn’t happen, then at least they can bank some money on teaching their survival skills to other people. Other preppers, like the guy who converted his home into its own ecosystem in Arizona or two neighboring families in Colorado who use animal waste for fuel and built their own irrigation system, are incredibly sufficient and low impact, and honestly, if more people followed their leads, our own self-created environmental apocalypse could be avoided for a few more years.
But back to those straight loons. The seed-hoarder guy. The girl in Houston who seems cool with her boyfriend killing her cats, execution-style. The family that trained their goats to evacuate with them in a fleet of school buses. The psychiatrist in San Diego whose wife and daughter clearly despise him, because his wife survived the Khmer Rouge regime when she was 16 and is not having any of her husband’s trifling bullshit. I love that lady. She’s the queen of the side eyes and tells her husband that he has no concept of the end of the world, because she has seen the apocalypse. She lived it. It was human, it was real, and it wasn’t controlled by any upper class suburban prepper nonsense like rice vacuum-packed in giant barrels. You can’t haul a rice barrel when you’re escaping a death camp, you know.
Could I be more prepared for disaster? Oh, absolutely. I’ve got some canned goods in the kitchen and a container of water that I bought when the water was shut off in my old apartment (not my fault, property owners pay water in St. Louis). I have a coat, an extra blanket, and a basement, a garage, and a bike. But I don’t have a bunker. I don’t have fuel stores. I don’t have a network of similarly paranoid individuals to hang out with when the shit hits the fan. Because really, I don’t plan to avoid the apocalypse. I don’t plan to live. Who plans to live through the apocalypse, anyway? IT’S THE APOCALYPSE. The time is ripe for dying! You’re going to die sometime, wouldn’t you rather die in an event like the apocalypse rather than a year later when you’ve sleeping outside, scavenging for food, and burying your poop so as not to attract predators? What kind of life is that? Just fucking die, already. It’s okay, all the cool kids will be doing it.