Emergency

I mentioned Neil Strauss’ new book Emergency in my last post, but I wanted to talk about why I was gung-ho about it and why I pre-ordered it. (In paper no less, not Kindle)

If you’ve read this blog for long you know I’ve got a lot of interests. Photography, guns, pretty girls, computers, filmmaking, writing, personal development, etc.

My wife says I have a tendency to cycle through them. I’ll get gung ho on guns for a few months, and then get into photography again. I think I’ve settled to doing a number of them at the same time now and just cycle through focus. And I’ve figured out how to combine them. Now business, photography, and pretty girls are combined in Glamour Apprentice for example.

But since I was a wee lad, I’ve been into what was called survivalism when I got into it in the late 70s and early 80s. I wasn’t dedicated enough to move out to the country and live off the land, but I had plans for when the Shit Hit The Fan (SHTF).

I blame Robert Heinlein, and I do for a lot of my philosophical early development. As a teen I read Solider of Fortune and Survive magazines. Books like Lucifer’s Hammer, Farnham’s Freehold, and The Out Of The Ashes‘ series were fodder for my imagination.

So naturally when I read the prologue to Neil’s book I was hooked. This paragraph in particular hooked me.

But that wouldn’t happen anymore. Today I can draw a holstered pistol in 1.5 seconds, aim at a target seven yards away, and shoot it twice in the heart. I can start a fire by rubbing two pieces of wood together. I can identify seven hundred types of footprints when tracking animals and humans. I can survive in the wild with nothing but a knife and the clothes on my back. I can find water in the desert, extract drinkable fluids from the ocean, deliver a baby, fly a plane, pick locks, hotwire cars, build homes, set traps, evade bounty hunters, suture a bullet wound, kill a man with my bare hands, and escape across the border with documents identifying me as the citizen of a small island republic.

I thought. “That’s cool I want to be able to do all that.”

I’ve bolded the ones I can already do competently. Those I’ve at least done and/or trained for.

It reminded me a Heinlein quote, which I had to search for.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Again I’ve bolded the ones I can already do competently. Those I’ve at least done and/or trained for.

Now Heinlein’s quote is by a fictitious science fiction character, but I still find it somewhat unrealistic. Or at least fuzzy and I’m not sure why I need to know how to write a sonnet. And do I have to be able to do it well? We learned sonnets in High School, but I’m not poet. I’ve never pitched manure, but really is it a “skill” I need to learn? Or is he talking about the mindset that will do what needs to be done.

Now I’m curious, and we’ll start a little meme here. Write a blog post with these two lists of survival traits with those you can do bolded. Then trackback ping this post, or comment with a link to your post below.

One thought on “Emergency”

  1. Ha-ha, 🙂
    I’d love to write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently etc…
    not at the same time but actually I can do all of that 😉
    Thanks for the post
    Regards
    Josh – freelance writer

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