Surviving The Apocalypse (and other minor hiccups)

You’re sitting at the Crowbar, finishing up a toast to your buddy Ron who just announced he’s going back to culinary school. The lights flicker. Then they go out. They’re still out 15 minutes later, so you drive home. Every single stoplight blinks red, if it’s on at all. Uh-oh, you think. It’s happening. The apocalypse.

The Four Horsemen... minus Ted. He was working a double.
The Four Horsemen… minus Ted. He was working a double.

Be it at the hands of North Koreans invading à la Red Dawn (2012), or Satan returning to Earth à la Rapture-Palooza (I haven’t seen this movie yet, is it any good?), the destruction of civilization is a surefire way to put a crimp in your social plans, your diet, maybe even your pulse. I can’t tell you how to survive the apocalypse in 600 words, but I can tell you where to go to learn how to prepare yourself. Strap on that headlamp—we’re about to go spelunking into the depths of the Internet (and OK, maybe the occasional book).

How Will YOU Survive?

Survivalists typically fall into two camps: Pioneers and Stockpilers. The Corvallis Pioneer probably has a substantial garden, dabbles in home brewing, has a solar array that makes their household energy self-sufficient, and might even tinker with a solar oven. When the apocalypse comes, the Pioneer will live on homegrown produce and meat, spinning their own wool and having sweet campfire sing-alongs, preferably in the middle of nowhere.

The Corvallis Stockpiler probably has a year’s supply of water, canned food and ramen noodles, toilet paper, sugar, lard, and blankets, and possibly some rifles and a plan for bunkering down in the nearest Bi-Mart. Especially sharp Stockpilers might have a map of all the local community gardens for scrumping produce. If you can make enough room in your garage for all your favorite non-perishables, life can continue almost unchanged post-apocalypse.

The Internet

You can’t rely on the Internet existing after the lights go dark, so take advantage of these sites while you still can. A keen tech and MacGuyver-friendly site, go here and use their search engine to learn how to make a candle out of toilet paper and a stick of butter, add emergency info to your phone’s lock screen, read reviews of the best battery packs, and even better, peruse The Complete Guide to What to Do Before, During, and After a Disaster ( FEMA’s one-stop-shop for information on everything from making a plan, dealing with a pandemic, and even sections for businesses and kids. Available in over 10 languages. The Center for Disease Control’s website, for those concerned with public health emergencies—not just hurricanes, but fungal meningitis outbreaks, anthrax, and bioterrorism response plans.


Hard copies are the only thing you can be sure will stick around. Laminate your collection, or at the very least, seal it in a plastic bag—it’s foolish to invest the money only to lose it to toxic sludge or a river of blood.

Survivalist Magazine: Recent themed issues include #7: When the Lights Go Out, with info on How to Build a Solar Still, Collapse Medicine for Lice and Ticks, and How to Build a Homemade Battery; #9: Urban Survival, includes Emergency Childbirth, Bug Out Vehicles, and How to Make Ethanol.

Mother Earth News Magazine: After getting a couple copies of Survivalist, make your postman’s nervous laughter go away with a subscription to Mother Earth News. Learn how to plant the your most efficient garden, how to saw your own lumber and build an earthen structure, and how to make some damn good jelly.

Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios by Lisa Bedford: Learn how to maintain your current standard of living during apocalyptic conditions by hoarding pounds of sugar and stockpiling canned food and medicine, with tips on how to make space for it all.

Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life by Neil Strauss: A narrative of one man’s quest to survive the destruction of L.A. by buying a condo on a tropical island that he will never use, then changing his mind and learning life-saving skills. (He keeps the condo. Just in case.)

I won’t tell you which type of survivor I am, but hey, maybe I’ll see you at your community garden sometime… if you happen to be there at 2 a.m.

 By Mica Habarad


What Not to Do… Unless You Have a Strange Lasagna Fetish

mreLast Christmas I received a backpack full of survival gear from soon-to-be in-laws with the best—or at least somewhat decent—intentions. Utility knife, radio, rope, poncho, tent, matches, emergency whistle (in case of bears or frat kids), MREs, etc. Basically everything I’d need to survive a whopping 48 hours in Corvallis’ concrete jungle. Well, I figured that in the event of the actual apocalypse, I’d be the first to go, anyway, and so I did the only thing that seemed to make sense after a few beers: try the MREs (meals ready to eat). And, being an editor, I then immediately modified my plans to include forcing someone else to try it for me.

Now, herein lies the importance of reading directions. This particular box of food contained a self-heating element that rather violently activates with water. The trick is to read the directions, and THEN follow them. Not perform the task as you’re reading. Right when this poor sucker was reading the part out loud that says, “…and then quickly prop the box up against a rock,” everyone involved was interrupted with a banshee scream in conjunction with a flying box of lasagna. Several “Oh my God, it’s burning!”s later, we had gotten the magma-fueled meal open for a try. It tasted like a congealed mixture of salsa and SpaghettiOs after having its soul sucked out with a Flowbee.

The apocalypse is a tough place to find yourself. I recommend just skipping it.

By Johnny Beaver