Don’t Come With Me if You Want to Live

Like this. Only totally opposite.

Like this. Only totally opposite.

I threw in my lot with most of you a long time ago.

And by “most of you,” I mean all the people who are going to die quickly in a post-apocalyptic scenario.

I think about this A LOT for a guy with only a week’s supply of canned goods in the pantry.

While most “preppers” are stocking up on generators, water filters, lamp oil, weapons, can openers and grains, I’m mostly drinking beer, confident that my French-style green beans and condensed cream of mushroom soup (just add milk!) will carry me properly nourished into tomorrow.

After all, I never know what I’m going to be hungry for from one day to the next. I figure: Why tie myself down to such a strict meal plan?

Need protection?

I’ve got one shotgun in the house—which I’ve never fired.

They say in a post-apocalyptic world, ammo will be the new currency. That means my financial status after the societal breakdown will be about as awesome as it is now.

I literally own zero shotgun shells.

The current plan is to point it at bad guys while running away and bludgeoning people who try to steal my French-style green beans.

It’s not laziness or apathy. I do think there’s value in preparing for a situation in which the power shuts off indefinitely, and the grocery stores are no longer open for business, and the police stop coming but it doesn’t matter because there are no functioning phone lines anyway.

My problem isn’t a lack of prudency. It’s a lack of resources. I’m glad people have made better choices than me and can afford to stock up on expensive firearms and months’ worth of food and fuel.

But I have iPhone data plans and cable television to pay for.

My fate was sealed the day Steve Jobs gave me mobile internet in a shiny, user-friendly package.

I Probably Need to Drink More Dr Pepper TEN

I totally have a manliness complex.

I cried a lot after my wife left last year.

But I also spit sometimes and watch football.

I occasionally listen to soft musical artists like Josh Groban, Bon Iver and Florence and the Machine.

But I also really like ZZ Top, Disturbed and Volbeat.

I’m infinitely better at constructing a four-course meal than I am, well, anything with a wrench or hammer and nail.

But I also do boy stuff like install major appliances and have sex with girls. (I mean that more in a theoretical sense because I’ve been celibate longer than most monks.)

I got to thinking about this a bunch this morning after one of my friends introduced me to some killer and hilarious writing at The Nicki Daniels Interview.

She published a post Monday ripping on girly bearded hipsters that went absolutely ape shit on Facebook because it offended a bunch of people—namely the hipster Nancy-boy beard-oil users, and the girls who love them.

We interrupt this blog post to bring you a very important vocabulary word and definition.

Satire – noun: a way of using humor to show that someone or something is foolish, weak, bad, etc.; a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn; trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly.

While, theoretically, I would want Nicki to not group me in with the grande chai tea double mocha latte drinkers on vegan diets, and to find me sexually appealing, I’m self-aware enough to know pretty much who and what I am.

I’m not a mechanic, a lumberjack or a cage fighter.

And I’m never going to be.

I’m a writer. A cook. A feeler.

But I’m still prone to privately judge others’ unmanly behavior when my hypocritical brain stumbles upon it.

Things like really efficient compact cars. Skinny jeans. And home brewers intent on recreating Zima.

I think what I’m trying to say is that I have enough manly redeeming qualities to pass most Y-chromosome and testosterone thresholds of dudeness.

But that doesn’t mean you want to count on me after a full-fledged societal breakdown.

“Hey Matt! Why don’t you do something useful like build something or grow food?”

“Maybe later! I’m a little busy right now reading this five-year-old issue of Esquire while experimenting with condensed soup and French-style green beans.”

Day 2: No Water

The toilet in my upstairs bathroom now has two unflushed pees in it.

My water still isn’t running.

I’m pretty sure I have a frozen pipe somewhere, since it was literally 20 degrees below zero yesterday.

The water main breaks in my town can’t be affecting me as all of my neighbors have running water.

Turns out, when you have frozen pipes, you’re supposed to take quick and decisive action, not casually do nothing for two straight days. *shrug*

For the second morning in a row, I used bottled water to clean myself.

I think if I were to do this a few more times, I’d be an expert.

I got really smart last night and made a pit stop at the grocery store for another case of bottled water.

Yesterday, I microwaved refrigerated water to make it warm in an effort to avoid doing things that make my penis look smaller.

Last night, I took three bottles of room-temperature water up to my bathroom and set them by my heat vent. (I’m a thinker!)

Three bottles—if you’re willing to not rinse your hair thoroughly and get shaving cream all over your washcloths and towels—is the perfect amount.

Two bottles for scrubbing and hair washing. One bottle for shaving and teeth brushing.

Hey Matt! What the hell are you doing with our drinking-water supply over there?”

“What does it look like!?!? I’m washing my hair! Two questions: 1. Do you have any pomade laying around so I can spike my hair? And 2. Can I use the generator to power the microwave? This cold water is making my penis look smaller.”

Surviving the Apocalypse

Do you have a plan? Or at least a general idea of what you would do if society totally broke down and we lost basic goods and services?

Most smart people will grab everything they can, band together with their neighbors, and make their way to some great place in which they can grow food and fortify. Survivalists pimp Utah and Idaho as ideal locations for this very thing.

I take a pill every day for acid reflux. I have for nearly 10 years.

When I think about the end of things like functioning grocery stores and pharmacies, the first thing I think of is how worthless I’m going to be to my survival group if my esophagus is on fire every day for the two or three months I stay alive after the shit hits the fan.

So, I’m always imagining scenarios in which I’m looting abandoned pharmacies and collecting antacid medicines that haven’t already been pilfered by the methamphetamine cooks.

I need water first, then this, then shotgun shells, then 80's rock cassettes.

I need water first, then this, then shotgun shells, then 80’s rock cassettes.

My Survival Strategy

1. Pack L.L. Bean backpack with critical supplies: toothbrush, iPhone with 42% charge, iPad with 81% charge, my buck knife, a few liquor bottles, American Crew pomade, French-style green beans.

2. Siphon gas from my snow blower that won’t start.

3. Load up Jeep with things people might be willing to trade for: Autographed football cards, an REO Speedwagon cassette from 1985 (I seriously have the Wheels are Turnin’ cassette in my sock drawer for reasons I can’t explain), more beer and liquor, a change of clothes and some freshly washed linens.

4. Find ex-wife and son. Organize post-apocalyptic shared-parenting agreement. “Have you considered Idaho? I hear it’s nice this time of year.”

5. Carry unloaded shotgun across back like a cowboy to look tough even though my hair is spiked and I’m wearing a button-up.

6. Loot every pharmacy for stomach medicine and Toblerone chocolates.

7. Trade liquor and French-style green beans for admittance into heavily armed survival group that lives near survival group of which my ex-wife belongs.

I feel good about this plan.

I’ll have clean teeth. My hair will look rad. And I’ll be able to drink myself silly every night for the rest of my life. (Life expectancy: Three-ish months.)

But I do genuinely care about you and want you to survive, too.

Which means you absolutely, under no circumstances, should come with me if you want to live.

Well, unless you really like drinking. And REO Speedwagon.

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60 thoughts on “Don’t Come With Me if You Want to Live

  1. This was awesome! My kids and I tease my husband that he’s a “prepper” because he insisted on a “safe room” in our basement when we built our house. It consists of a four concrete walls with a door (in case of tornado). The only thing in this room is bags of old quilts and comforters. We keep talking about stocking up on water, medicine and non-perishables, but haven’t actually done it…. We are clearly slacker “preppers”. So in case of disaster or zombie apocalypse, we will be safe from the elements and we will be warm with all those blankets. But we will likely die of lack of food or water. Here’s an even better example: we live only a few miles from a nuclear power plant and all residents are supposed to get iodine pills from the pharmacy in case of exposure or radiation breach. Lived here 8 years. Haven’t seemed to make it to one of the two pharmacies that are less than a mile from my house….

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I’m so pleased that this level of negligence doesn’t rest solely with me.

      I laughed thinking about the zombies pounding on your doors and windows, while you guys bundled up in the safe room.

      I promise not to laugh should that scenario actually materialize.

      Thank you for reading, Gretchen. Maybe go grab some iodine pills this afternoon!

      Or don’t, and blog about it. :)

      Like

  2. Great. I am now seriously craving French-style green beans.

    In my family we often reflect on how much easier it would be to survive in a crisis at our family cottage than in the city. Even though the cottage is equipped with such modern amenities as running water, electricity and a land-line telephone, we are much better postioned there to “get by” without those amenities than we are in town, and in fact we do periodically have to do just that when an electrical storm has knocked out the power for a few days (Usually by dropping a tree on the power lines that deliver civilation to our little island.) The reasons we are better equipped? We have an outhouse. We have a functioning fireplace in which we could, if pressed, boil water and cook food. We are a short stroll from a body of realtively clean fresh water. Unless it’s We have boats that can get us to places that provide food, and we are more apt to have “backup” food on hand precisely becuase there is always some possiblity of getting storm-stayed.

    But I think the other factor is that when we’re at the cottage we aren’t so focused on running around “doing” things. We’re more into just “being” there, and so nobody minds if doing the laundry is a half-day project that involves a lot of buckets and clothespegs instead of efficient machines that do it all for you.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      That sounds like a wonderful place to escape to.

      Even if the lights always stay on. :)

      Like

      • Oh it is. It occus to me that I haven’t done much blogging about it, but it truely is my happy place. I feel very fortunate. It’s not something I could ever afford myself (It was purchased by my Grandfather 77 years ago; my mom is now the owner) but I’ve had the good fortune to have been able to vacation there every year of my life. It’s certainly where my daughter’s love of wilderness canoeing had its genesis.

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        • Matt says:

          I love places like that.

          I had the good fortune to grow up visiting my grandparents nearly once a week on 43 acres in the Ohio countryside. They have a gorgeous private pond and a little wooden cabin we called a “cottage” nestled next to a couple huge weeping willow trees.

          Surrounded by forest and field.

          It’s one of my favorite places on Earth.

          Everyone should have somewhere like that to which they can escape.

          Like

  3. David says:

    Between the two of us, you’d out-survive me. I’d turn vegetarian (squeamishness) and then starve (winterishness). In my short time remaining, yeah, I’d spew some witty observations about the society that just crumbled, but that wouldn’t even earn me a can of those French-style green beans you gourmets talk up so much! On the other hand, with a beard and little incoherent rambling, I’d look scary enough to make it another week.

    Like

  4. Loved this post! You’re fun(ny).

    Like

  5. OHkls says:

    First laugh I’ve had all day. You, my friend, are a genius!

    Like

  6. Sofia Leo says:

    I’m laughing out loud at the picture you painted. You forgot one little detail, though, and that is that liquor will also become currency. Not as valuable as ammo, but you might be able to buy yourself some more time. Or get knocked on the head for your stash :-)

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Yeah! That’s my only real bargaining chip to be adopted into a well-stocked group looking for a guy who can’t build or repair anything.

      Group: What do you do?

      Me: I can write shit down for the history books of the future.

      Group: Give me your L.L Bean backpack. *steals liquor and REO tape.* Get out of here, idiot.

      Me: Ha! I still have “Wheels are Turnin'” on my iPhone, dick! The sound quality’s much better!

      *iPhone dies*

      Like

  7. mel says:

    I was nearly crying, laughing so hard at this.

    I don’t understand the “man must prove manliness” thing. But I specifically avoided commenting on your man points post for that reason. (Man has penis: +100 man points, you win.)

    You know… McD’s and Toblerone chocolate are TERRIBLE for heartburn…Ok, I’m done lecturing, I swear.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Mel. I forgot to reply to your fast food-and-chocolate lecture earlier. Sorry!

      If the world as we know it comes to an end. And I don’t have heartburn medicine. And I have a bunch of Toblerone?

      I don’t give a shit how much it makes my insides hurt. I’m going to crush those Swiss nuggets of goodness.

      Like

  8. I busted a few blood vessels laughing while reading this. Thank you for the Buddha belly laugh part on “How Does This Water Make My Penis Look?” I believe it was the Stephen King movie of The Stand ( or in the book, which is my favorite apocalyptic fictions ) one of the characters after the 90% die off occurred, pulled out a six-pack from a near by creek while taking a break from painting a picture. Just think, if you make the three month mark, winter would nearly be over and you too can pull cold beer out of a nearby creek. Where there is a will there is always a way!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I’ve watched “The Stand” a bunch of times. That’s right when Stu (Gary Sinise’s character) rolls up. The old timer is painting with his dog.

      Good stuff.

      Always been a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories.

      Like

  9. mewhoami says:

    Thanks for the laugh! I would pack up all necessities and lots of seeds for planting vegetables. Then, I would head deep into the mountains where I could hide, hunt for food and during the summer, grow vegetables. I could, hopefully, preserve the vegetables in the winter by burying them in snow. With a ton of firewood I could stay warm. With a stream nearby, I bathe and have a nice supply of drinking water. The best part of all – nature and lots of peace and quiet. Ah, now I’m just dreaming.

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    • Matt says:

      That sounds lovely. Right up until I get pneumonia and die while trying to chop firewood that won’t be properly seasoned for another 24 months.

      I’m just going to eat Toblerone and drink. That’s my best plan.

      Like

      • mewhoami says:

        Good point. I’ll take some firewood up with me so the first winter will be covered. :)

        mmm…I love Toblerone. I’ll have to take some of that too. Stop giving me ideas, or else I’ll have to rent a truck.

        Like

        • Matt says:

          Correction: You’ll have to steal a truck.

          You’ll have to abandon your principles to survive in this world of creek bathing mountain cabins. :)

          Like

          • mewhoami says:

            Oh yes, you’re right. Well in my not so ‘good’ days, I did run from a cop once, as he was trying to stop me for speeding. :) So, I have it in me to do it.

            Creek bathing isn’t so bad. It gives you that special scent that you can’t find on store shelves.

            Like

            • Matt says:

              Go you!

              I’ve never bathed in a creek.

              But I just added it to my bucket list. I LOVE special scents that don’t involve bathing with bottled water two days in a row.

              Like

  10. knace says:

    All I can think of is that scene in The Road Warrior- or was it Mad Max? where Mel G. is eating dog food out of the can. You’re going to need a LOT of Prevacid.
    But, on the brighter side, if for some reason you have internet access and there still is an internet and other people also have internet access, your Apocalypse Blog for those three-ish months is going to just so….amazing!! I hope I survive long enough to read it before I am eaten by my elderly country club neighbors. (They are much more cunning and dangerous than they let on)
    p.s. Does the Wheels Are Turning album have that one song “Heard it from a friend whooo heard it from a friend whooo, heard it from another you’ve been messing a-rou-ound” song?
    Really dislike that song.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Wheels are Turnin’ does NOT include “Take it on the Run,” you’ll be pleased to know.

      Just nine lovely songs from my sixth year of life. My first favorite album. Ever. *shrug*

      How messed up would that be if we still magically had electricity and the internet but nothing else?

      I would totally blog about the end of days. You would be my only reader.

      Which is cool!

      Like

  11. knace says:

    Six and listening to REO? That is super cute to picture. I think my first cassette was an Abba album and also the Grease soundtrack. =)

    Like

    • Matt says:

      It was cute!

      1. REO
      2. Prince – Purple Rain
      3. Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

      Those are the three albums I cut my music teeth with.

      *shrug*

      Like

  12. knace says:

    I owned both Purple Rain and No Jacket Required. We all did, back in the 80s.
    And Air Supply and Men at Work. And that one Wham album.
    *cringe*

    Like

  13. your survival kit cracks me up.

    Like

  14. Dawn says:

    Thanks!!! Just Thanks!

    Like

  15. A quick check shows I have: 1 can of beans, 1 can coconut milk (which I am cooking with right now), 1 can tomatoes & red capsicum; 8 cans tuna & 1 bottle of white wine. I think I would be in serious trouble if the apocalypse were tomorrow. I don’t have a gun but I do have a compound bow and plenty of arrows. I can also use it, perhaps this makes me somewhat useful? If only I had a badass motorbike and saddlebags full of prescription drugs I could almost be Daryl’s twin sister except a compound bow is slower than a crossbow and much harder to use, sigh. I’m deadly in heels does this count as a useful survival skill???

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  16. Thanks for the giggle. I’ll share your alcohol. I used to love Wham and Duran Duran, but then traded them for The Cure :) (Oh and I also have pills for acid reflux).

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Just a couple drunk heartburn sufferers dancing to “Wake me up before you go-go.” That seems like the kind of tune I can get behind after a lot of whisky. People will think we’re awesome before they murder us and take our stuff.

      Like

  17. This is such a delightful read. And judging from all the comments above…many people liked it too. It’s refreshingly different :)

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thank you. :)

      I met a wellness coach the other day and she really wants me to start using more positive affirmations.

      But then I won’t be able to make fun of myself for 1500 words.

      What kind of way is that to live?

      Thank you very much for reading and saying hi.

      Like

  18. […] the skills of a man destined to live at least three months in a survival situation, I plugged in a space heater and pointed it directly at the potable water entry point in my […]

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  19. […] It dawned on me that I was in real trouble in a post-apocalyptic scenario. Don’t come with me if you want to live. […]

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  20. […] But moral compass aside, I also don’t want to accidentally kill someone, or be forced to because of self defense or in a scary post-apocalyptic survival scenario. […]

    Like

  21. […] It’s going to be interesting to see what happens once people in my personal life find out that I publish bad words, have a bit of a pooping complex, write about sex and that I’m going to be no good to anyone in a post-apocalyptic scenario. […]

    Like

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