Older readers will surely recall being taught as children the importance of being prepared for the various emergencies that are a part of life. Before the usual suspects destroyed the Boy Scouts, preparedness was a central part of the Scout ethos. People used to regularly make sure they had things like candles and matches in the house. Every equinox we were told that it is a good time to check batteries, test out flashlights and portable radios, as part of general preparedness.
Being prepared fell out of fashion over the last few decades, as technology made the supply chain a marvel of timeliness. In a world where you can order something on-line and have it the next day, being prepared takes on a different meaning. Today, a weather event means having the latest games on the Xbox and your watch-list ready for a day of video entertainment. In modern America, emergencies are an excuse to have a party and enjoy the emergency unfold on television.
This is probably why some people panic and buy ridiculous things like toilet paper and bottled water before storms and now before the plague. The emergency triggers something in people. The items they buy are symbolic. At some level, people know they are dependent on a system that they don’t understand very well, or trust all that much, to be there when it counts. The panic buying is a reaction to the sudden reminder that we are not as prepared to make it very long on our own.
Putting that aside, people need to be prepared for what will unfold over the next weeks or longer, depending upon how the virus spreads. One thing you should do is get to know your neighbors. Most people have limited contact with their neighbors, as most moved from somewhere else. Take this opportunity to introduce yourself to the other people in the neighborhood. Give them your contact information. Simply being a good example like this does a lot to prepare for what’s coming.
Here’s the thing. If the alarmist are right, Netflix will not be available, because the stack or bodies outside the cable company offices will keep the techs from entering the building and keeping the grid running. Playing cards with the neighbors will suddenly have real meaning in your life. Even if this is not the zombie apocalypse, taking the opportunity to build a little community with the people around you will do more for our people than a million lectures from activists.
For young guys, take this opportunity to call the old people in your life. You will quickly realize the internet banter about the “Boomer Remover” is childish when you start checking in on the older folks. You’ll learn the joys and being a man and what it means to be responsible. The first duty of every man is to protect the vulnerable. Old people, women, kids, they are your duty. Now is a good time to practice that habit. You’ll find that it is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
Sadly, the generations of plenty means we have an unsightly build-up of maladapted mutants¹ in our ranks. Everyone has a nutty wine aunt or screeching AWFL² in their life these days. These people don’t get better under stress. In fact, they will seem worse, because your patience for them will be lower. Since we are not allowed to burn them at the stake just yet, you need to plan for them. Remember, they feed on your irritation, so the plan must be designed to starve them of what they crave.
There’s also the fact that many high functioning maladapted mutants will go haywire during this crisis. Remember back to the 2000 election. Think about how that sort of loopy liberal person in your life suddenly turned into a lunatic. That election triggered something in these mutants that sent them around the bend. The 2016 election made many people in our lives so unpleasant we had to cut them off. The mutant is most volatile in times of high social stress and uncertainty.
That means you have to be prepared for some people in your life revealing themselves to be totally bonkers. The social media ghettos are already full of mutants hoping Trump gets the coronavirus. They will no doubt be going on about how Orange Man made the virus situation worse by doing something or not doing something, as the case may be. Remember, you are not good to anyone if you are sidetracked by these crazy people in your life. Prepare for a mutant outbreak.
Now, to help with that, here’s a bit of good news on that front. Maladapted people, like that AWFL in your office, tend to be lower in overall fitness. Their numbers are mostly a product of good times. That means they will be more vulnerable to this virus than normal people. Think about it, these people tend to be sick more often in general, so nature is probably going to clean up the mess in aisle crazy for us. At least it is pleasant thought, as you prepare for the zombie apocalypse.
Finally, prepare for that moment when you heard someone use the phrase “flatten the curve” for the six millionth time. Ritualized recitation of popular incantations are a part of modern life, but they will get really bad in this crisis. At some point, you’re going to hear “slow the spread” one too many times and the fist will instinctively ball up. The counter to this is to unplug from the media. They are useless anyway. The first duty of the prepared is to keep their wits about them.
²Affluent White Female Liberal
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