Waiting for the End of the World

By Ron Scopelliti

There’s no denying that things are looking pretty gloomy this January. There’s lot of angst, and a lot of worry about the times to come, now that the country’s in the hands of a guy who’s more interested in maintaining a healthy orange complexion than attending intelligence briefings or press conferences. A lot of talk about the possibilities of nuclear war or economic disaster – speculation about whether the world as we know it will end with a bang, a whimper, or a tweet. I figure if civilization is about to collapse, it’s high time I start preparing.

Most people think the way to prepare for the fall of civilization is to stock up on water and canned food, but I think this is wrong. I figure there are lots of natural sources for food and water, assuming you’re not above eating rodents and insects. The first thing I plan to do is stock up on allergy pills. I feel like I could deal with the day-to-day, dog-eat-dog struggle of a post-apocalyptic future more effectively if I didn’t spend all my time sneezing and suffering from sinus headaches. And I don’t know of any natural substitute for cetirizine hydrochloride, so my first order of business would be to raid every CVS and Walgreen’s in range.

My next goal, naturally, would be to obtain a crossbow to protect my stockpile of Zyrtec and squirrel jerky. I could take the more traditional approach of getting a gun, but a crossbow strikes me as cooler. I’m not sure why, but the crossbow seems to be the ultimate bad-attitude weapon in post-apocalyptic fiction. Whether it’s The Road Warrior or The Walking Dead, somebody needs to have a crossbow.

Maybe it’s because the sound effects associated with them make for an interesting break from the typical bangs and pops of firearms. Usually with a crossbow there’s a woosh on release, a thud on impact, and a gruesome sucking sound when the frugal shooter retrieves the crossbow bolt from his victim. Maybe that’s a more practical attraction – that you can re-use your ammunition. I suppose it’s also more effective for hunting small game than a grenade-launcher or a sub-machine gun.

I’d also start stockpiling DVDs. I’m assuming that when civilization crashes, it will take down Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and every other online video service with it. People will be scrambling for entertainment and DVDs will become a hot commodity. Books may even prove popular for those who can’t rig up a Gilligan’s Island-style generator to power a DVD player.

Then again, there might not be that much time for leisure at first, when we’re all busy finding drinkable water, gathering edible things, killing other edible things, and preventing mean dudes with Mohawks from stealing our edible things. Mohawks are a danger sign. You never see a good guy with a Mohawk in a post-apocalyptic movie. Initially we’ll be too busy aiming our crossbows at anyone sporting a Mohawk to goof off and watch movies or read.

But, I think once pockets of survivors start collecting in groups and forming villages, we’ll soon re-discover specialization of labor, and leisure time will re-emerge. We’ll eventually have time to take a break from the apocalypse by playing “Fallout” and “Doom,” or watching Escape from New York. Or maybe someone will turn the Dunkin Donuts Center into a real-life Thunderdome.

I suspect this will all fit in with the gradual re-emergence of an economy. People will start farming and selling food. Others will begin repairing machines, and finding alternate means to fuel them. Hair stylists will start coming up with ways to make hair gel from rendered possum fat or some such thing, so that the bad guys can spike up their Mohawks.

And this new, rebooted economy won’t be burdened with those pesky anti-trust laws, or those business-unfriendly taxes. And the EPA? What EPA? It’ll be as dead as that department that Rick Perry tends to forget the name of. Now that I think of it, this post-apocalyptic economy seems like just the sort of thing The Donald might like.

I suppose he’d say that instead of whining about impending doom, we should look at the decline of civilization as a chance to break from the establishment, and drain the swamp. A chance to slather some possum grease in your hair and spike up your Mohawk. Bigly. A chance to put some orange war paint on your face, and start making America great again – one crossbow bolt at a time.