It needs to be noted that not all of them are preparing for the same disaster. Some of them are worried about gigantic tsunamis, others about monstrous volcanoes. Some are convinced the Earth's magnetic poles are going to suddenly switch places, which strikes me as only meaning you need to hold your compass upside down. Still others are worried about standard stuff, like financial collapses, asteroid strikes and Mayan prophecies.
To protect themselves, these people are burying shipping containers in the ground, buying enough rifles and ammunition to overthrow a fragile democracy and gathering a pile of canned goods the size of Chris Christie.
I can't afford to do any of that. Mastercard and Visa constantly send me reminders that I've already spent my money on other things. If the end of the world came suddenly, I would have to survive it on the resources I have on hand. That does not look promising.
I live with my son in a condo complex on a California beach, so if the end of the world took the form of a gigantic tsunami, we would be among the first squashed bug-flat by it, so I would look smarter if not any less deceased if I didn't make any preparations at all. If we survived until the morning after Doomsday, we would find ourselves in an eerie twilight world, surrounded by hostile strangers. That's actually normal for us, as most of the condos in the complex are rented out short-term to vacationers, bizarre out-of-towners who live to drink, holler at their kids, burn meat on the community grill and tell you what temperature it is in their home town. Only the numbers would change in the event of a nuclear holocaust. "It's 40,000 degrees in Phoenix now," they would say cheerfully.
If mankind's final day came in the off-season, most of the other condos would be deserted. That means we could, if necessary for our survival, break into the other units and collect enough musty sheets, marine-themed placemats, and colorful door placards that say things like "Life's a Beach" and "Walk a Mile in My Flip Flops" to insure our final days were cheaply and cheerfully decorated.
Food might be a problem. I do have fishing rods, but if the ocean were turned into blood or something equally repulsive, or there's enough of the government left to remind you you're only supposed to eat fish once a month because they are mutating into plesiosaurs, we would have to get by on what we have in our cabinets, which are canned goods that we haven't eaten so far because we hate them, plus a few boxes of cake mix and some tubes of frosting. That's hardly enough to survive on until Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson rescues us from the nuclear cannibals everyone else plans to turn into the minute Armageddon gets underway.
The only other sources of nourishment available to us are the condiment packets we keep stuffed in the silverware drawer. Fortunately we have wads of them, collected from every fast-food joint in southern California, so many that we can barely get out a fork without a few soy sauce or mustard packs cliff-diving onto the kitchen floor at the same time. We don't eat ketchup, so we are able to save every package of it that is thrown our way; enough of Heinz's finest that if French fries start washing up on the shores of the Apocalypse like so much tsunami debris from Japan, we could season them for weeks. If we're reduced to eating our old shoes we have enough little tubs of honey mustard to smear on them to make sure that stale sweat taste really pops out.
We would have to rely on our condiment stash for self-defense as well. If attacked by zombie hordes we'll have to fight them off by squirting Del Scorcho sauce in their dead eyes or breaking open those envelopes of dry peppers that Domino's supplies in case you want to taste something when you bite into their pizza and tricking the zombies into snorting them.
Please also note, along with the sauce packets in the accompanying picture, the abundance of unused trash bag ties. These could obviously be used to lash together a raft, in case Mel or Bruce orders us to do so.
I look at the drawer and I realize that, while it's not a boxcar buried a fallout-free six feet underground in a national park, it will offer us the chance to survive for maybe twenty minutes longer than those hopeless fools who have made no preparations at all for the ultimate disaster. Then I yank on the end of a spoon and fifty seasoning packets flap out at me like I was standing in front of Big Cave Full of Bats National Monument at sundown. I start yelling.
"How many weeks have I been telling you to clean out this frickin' drawer? And the refrigerator? And what, for God's sake, do we need this icing for?