What if it all went down? I am talking of course, about the apocalypse that preppers prepare for. What if the Russians dropped the big bomb, or there was some other disaster like a meteor hitting the earth? Lord knows there have been enough movies about it. Everybody has thought out their own worst case scenario… I think.
I just bought the Christmas turkey. They told us the price was going up and they were right. A turkey I bought for $3.50 a kilogram two weeks ago has jumped to $8.50 a kilogram at the same store. That’s more than double. Shortly thereafter, I strolled by a gaggle of Canadian geese, going about their usual business of hissing at passersby and befouling nature. They were goose-stepping free-range style, looking for bugs to eat, all plump and belligerent. It made me think twice about the forty three dollars I had just dropped on a turkey and wondered if this was a test from God to gauge my intelligence. I started to salivate unintentionally.
My mind wandered to a scenario from forty years ago when I had just picked up groceries at Kensington Market. On the way home, I passed by two old gentlemen on a park bench. They had a bag of popcorn to feed the birds. I watched as they threw out the popcorn. A flurry of white descended from the sky as if on cue, as the flock of pigeons devoured the free food. Then the unexpected happened. One of the old gentlemen brought out a long stick and popped one of the birds over the head. All the pigeons flew away. The man plucked up their dead comrade and threw him into a bulging gunny sack at his side. He looked at me and smiled. Then he threw out some popcorn and the flock of pigeons descended once more. Now I understood that human beings are naturally one step up on the food chain, from pigeons. I would never regard innocent-looking geriatrics the same way.
This scenario also made me think of a trip to Newfoundland during their cod moratorium when the fisheries were shut down and the province was in a slump. Still, people had to get by and the Newfies seemed to have figured it out. We discovered very quickly that regular Newfies are do-it-yourself taxi drivers, and unlike other parts of the world, they are gregarious and honest. The Newfie we came across brought us to a hotel which happened to be his home, and he was the landlord. I understood at that moment that whoever invented Newfie jokes had apparently been hoodwinked. The Newfie told me quite happily that he gets as much cod as he wants for the evening supper, forbidden or not. He went out and came back with supper flopping in the back of the boat. Apparently the Newfie was also a restaurant, as the fresh fish came at a price. The next morning he fed us fried moose and eggs. The moose were also free for the taking, hunters are allowed two a year and anyone who has driven in that province knows they need to be culled before they cull motorists. The Newfie also had a sixty acre wood lot out back, and pogey for half the year. He offered us a swig of his home-made Newfoundland screech, with a wink. This guy was living the life of Riley. and I concluded that in a Darwinian end-of-days, the Newfie would survive.
Les Stroud, otherwise known as survivor man, has famously invited himself to far away corners of the globe where he documented how he managed. For the survivalist, there’s a few basic considerations - what will you eat, how will you stay warm, and how will you be sheltered? The answer usually lies in front of your eyeballs, if you look around. His take on survival is indeed food for thought.
When we first moved to Oakville, we were trying to furnish a fixer-upper on one income. My wife was busy caring for two infants and I had started a new job at a design firm in town. The office was undergoing a renovation. The boss had just torn out an entire basement level of work surfaces, which sat in a dumpster on the side of the building waiting for takeaway. One colleague informed me that the work surfaces were 1 1/4 inch cherry. Yes, he said, the whole office was built by a farmer who harvested the cherry from his own wood lot. I went out and checked. Indeed the pile at the side of the building was premium solid hard wood.
That night a station wagon pulled up to the building in the dark and the work surfaces vanished. The boss quipped in the morning that he should have sold them for money. I smiled. The work surfaces became a large coffee table and end tables for my living room. As I fashioned the world anew, that dumpster dive saved me thousands I didn’t have. In sustainable language I believe this is called recycling.
So what if it all went down? Would I survive? I know how to set rabbit snares and we have way too many rabbits in Oakville. The coyote population could also stand to be culled. People fear being eaten by coyotes meanwhile I am looking at them and wondering if that would be better baked, boiled or fried. Roll the dice. I’m placing odds that if it all went down I would survive. I might even thrive - who knows? Some people can’t recognize a Christmas dinner when it’s walking around right in front of them.