Charlie Capen’s urge to prepare for a disaster comes from the responsibility he feels as a father and a husband.
I swear I don’t wear tinfoil hats. I’m not a huge fan of bunkers. I don’t have an armory. Yet.
So, why am I anticipating the collapse of civilization these days?
I’d never admit it but the end of the world and my fatherly place in that scenario scares the piss out of me. My wife and I used to love a movie with good “apoca-porn,” films depicting the end of days with plots centered on “survival of the best looking” and truckloads of money spent on explosive effects. My wife was a fanatic. When our son arrived that all changed. If I witness a child in harm’s way in a movie or in print now, all I see is red. I feel like I might burst into a billion particles of testosterone.
I can’t shake this feeling of being unprepared for threats against my family. I’m talking about having to protect them amidst the violent chaos of a total planetary reboot. Financial. Political. Cultural. Or otherwise.
I was watching our recent obsession, “The Walking Dead,” as the lead of the show ran through a forest and across fields carrying his injured, near-lifeless son. I looked over at my wife and said, “I couldn’t carry Finn (who’s a solid 30 lbs.) more than a half mile, let alone run it.”
Now, it’s very possible I’m the only one carrying these thoughts around in my head, but I’m alarmed by all these movies and books that depict apocalyptic events. In every case my focus is drawn toward my own faults, my failings if that thin veneer of social order were to fracture.
Under duress and threat of public stoning about six months ago, I read the entire “Hunger Games” trilogy over a few days. Following those (Young Adult, my ass) novels, I woke up to the realization that I have very few life skills. I can’t shoot, kill, clean, cure, or cook an animal with any proficiency. If I had to choose between edible plants, I’d probably lick night shade and wipe my butt with poison oak before the fauna came in for a groin punch against my survival.
Let’s not even talk about The Road. That shit messed my head up for months. Not a hobby of mine, you know, thinking about ending my life if the social fabric frayed. And I’m not exactly pro-cannibalism or anti-thumbs.
To make matters worse, my wife and I attended a seminar on disaster preparedness a few months ago. They talked about supplies in the car, under the bed, in the closet, even in our pockets. They had everything covered. If Hurricane Katrina or any other of natural (let alone man-made) disasters have taught us anything, it’s that basic services go first. Resources become limited and our ability to communicate even more so. Do you have a plan for those possibilities? We were busy furiously writing down notes on the 1000′s of dollars worth of supplies we needed, when they dropped the bomb:
“Los Angeles has very few entrances and exits. If something catastrophic happens, you need to be on the road in 15 minutes, at most, to make it out. Or else you’re stuck here.”
This is why I’ve been to the gym five times this week, running and lunging with a 45 pound weight in my arms. I’ve tested my strength and endurance. I’m desperate to find courses on nature survival, basic hunting. Once found, will this help me stop fretting about the end of the world, please?
Sorry if you wanted to read a post about my son’s diaper rash and his inability to use the letter “L” in the word “clock.” I guess I just want to wake up and know a thing or two. Or 15.
Originally appeared at How To Be A Dad.