Posts Tagged ‘Prepper Normal’

Prepper Normal (Confessions of a not-very-good prepper) – Part 1

I know many hardcore survivalists and I salute them. Those who can survive 3 weeks in the wilderness with a pocket knife and an empty paper bag. Those with basement gun ranges and quarter acre gardens that feed 20. However, at the Self Reliance festival we set up at a couple of weekends ago, I had some thoughts about those of us wanting a slightly better shot of not dying in the first 3 days of a catastrophe, but without the desire or ability to truly live the ‘all-in’ philosophy, off-grid raising all our own food and learning all the skills.

I had several people stop by my table at the show wanting to purchase things using a standard credit card…now, that’s not so unusual. What is, is some of these folks were talking serious Crypto and a desire to be totally ‘off-grid’. They looked pretty sheepish when I told them I had no cell signal so could only take old-fashioned cash, and they said they’d be back tomorrow after they hit the ATM. My wife and I are definitely ‘softcore’ preppers, but we’d never be caught without cash, for any number of reasons.

Now, please note, I say these things not to shame folks who might want to be more or less of a thing and just aren’t there yet; in fact, the opposite. In many instances, I’m the one ‘without the cash’, figuratively speaking.

In the old days when I started prepping, I sometimes felt some shame (maybe not the right word; maybe like the kids who called me ‘scrub’ because I wasn’t good at a certain video game) because I have no particular skills naturally related to prepping.

I was a pretty good shot in the army (I usually hit 38-39 of 40), but I never really embraced ‘gun culture’, and couldn’t tell you the calibers of a Mosin-Nagant or an M1. I still use Youtube when I clean my weapons, because I don’t ‘train’ it until its automatic. I like hiking, and can haul a 50 pound pack 10 miles or so without much discomfort, but I couldn’t track a deer or make a shelter from scratch or otherwise in any way act Les Stroud like. I bring along a lighter when all of the other preppers I know are using fire-steel.

We have chickens who I adore, but I could never think of killing the ones no longer laying, and occasionally my girls and I will have a memorial service for a chicken who ended up as hawk-food or a dog-toy. Sure, at the end of the world I’d try to work the whole thing out, but right now, our chickens have social security at our house. A couple of times we’ve spent $70 at the vet to save our $4 Tractor Supply hens; one day we had a friend ‘operate’ on a hen with bumble foot. I was humbled and shed a few tears that I had a friend who would embrace our crazy and spend 3 hours of her day operating on one of our girls. We’re just those people: a bit prepper, a bit preppie.

We have a Frenchie, not a Pyrenees. We beg friends to bush-hog our fields because I broke the one I had, and struggle to get the tractor running. I freeze dry chicken nuggets and hash browns (and lemons for my wife), not home-grown vegetables or self-caught venison. My girls are all girl and wear Kickie-pants, not camo. I spend my spare time designing board games, not honing my primitive survival skills.

And…I’m finally OK with that. When I say ‘Prepper Normal’, I just mean that I hope people will still be cool with me if I’m not out cutting my own lumber to build a cabin in the woods, or if we can’t keep a garden alive to save our lives. It means it’s OK to prep to whatever level you are comfortable with, and I’m not going to judge you. I’m coming clean here and now and letting you know that by contemporary prepper standards, I definitely don’t measure up.

What I do have is a desire to feed my friends and family as long as possible should something terrible happen, so I buy and store food weekly now (and praise God my Freeze Dryer is finally running after 14 months of trouble-shooting). I have left behind the thought that I’m going to turn my neighbor’s kids away at gunpoint to protect my farm’s food supply. I’d rather die starving than live with that on my conscience.

I do have enough state-of-mind to know how people will react when they miss a few meals, and know that many people will try to take all of what we have than be OK with us just sharing a Mylar bag of rice and beans, and so have the hardware to arm a few of those family and friends.

Do I think my family and I are going to live out an apocalypse as well or as long as the truly self-sufficient or survivalist types? No. But at the same time, I can’t guarantee there’s going to be an apocalypse, and so I make judgments as to the amount of effort I want to focus onto something that may or may not happen, and spend the rest of my time home-schooling my girls, playing games with my friends, and trying to serve my community.

I have some more thoughts on this, but its already too long.=) So part II of Prepper Normal will talk more about the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of prepping, and the 80/20 rule, which I apply to most areas of my life.


04 2023