Always prepared

The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist is afraid that it is.

So, once more I’ve been asked “you’re a prepper, right?”. Which is a good thing, because most people just assume. And assuming does not give you a chance to explain.

Let’s start: Most of what you know about preppers is probably wrong. The preppers on television are there are not chosen because they are good examples but quite the opposite, that’s exactly why they make for good entertainment.

No, a rational prepper is someone who likes to prepare for problems that might occur in their future. And being rational, they prepare for problems according to their probability.

The first thing a mentally stable prepper buys is… a fire extinguisher. The first training a non-crazy prepper gets is first aid training. Not a buddy-team-room-clearing-tactics course to fight the zombie hordes or a shiny Faraday cage to avoid an EMP. A rational prepper does not buy seeds to repopulate the world after a fictional wipeout (a very specific, convenient fictional wipeout that allows them to plant seeds afterwards) – a prepper buys enough food so that they can eat for a few weeks in case they  they become unemployed.

That’s it. Not glamorous. Or TV material. Okay, some preppers may have a topic they love and where they might go overboard: Not just gun people like me – some IT people just love to ruggedize their equipment past nuclear EMP levels, some cooks like to reach self-sufficiency with their food and some people who like to take walks in the woods turn up at a rural escape-and-evasion courses.

But that’s just plain fun, a hobby, and not what makes preppers. What really constitutes a prepper is that we refuse to live a life where we have to bother others for mundane things, to rely on them, to burden them. That does not apply to everything of course, after all, humanity thrives on specialisation. But there is a surprisingly obvious line between  requiring help and being fucking annoying.

Consider that the next time you have to borrow a knife to open a box; a screwdriver because your table got wobbly; a bandaid because you got a paper cut; a jacket because you assumed the party would be inside; or look around panic-stricken trying to find someone who actually knows first aid.

That’s prepping. Moderately self-righteous, but oh-so useful. To conclude this debate, I’ll leave you with Tom Lehrer’s musical recommendations on how to be prepared.

Edit on February 6th, 2017: I’m famous! I am deducing this from the fact that I ran into my first link-insertion attack. Which was thankfully quite amateurish but taught me that an update script wasn’t working as expected. Awesome for me. But I’m sorry for everyone who saw an update in their RSS feed and had to read through this article to figure out what changed.