where will i go when things get bad

Years ago, there was an avid reader of this site named Dorothy. She was a retired pharmacist who lived on a farm somewhere in Pennsylvania with her husband, who, as I recall, was a retired large animal veterinarian. As some of you might remember, she often left feisty anti-Bush comments here. Anyway, at least once every few months, she would send me an email telling me that, if the shit ever hit the fan, and society really started falling apart, the family and I could come and live on the compound with them. I realize, of course, that she probably never really existed, and that Dorothy was likely just the creation of some bored cubicle drone who got off on stoking my fear about the impending collapse, but I loved having this idea that my family had a beautiful farm to escape to… Well, it just occurred to me right that I haven’t heard from Dorothy in a few years now, and that I don’t have the faintest idea where I’d go if things got really bad…

Speaking of the collapse of societies, I just stumbled across a good comment in a Metafilter thread about a 1972 forecast by the Club of Rome which, so far, has proven to be balls-on accurate. (It predicts total economic collapse in 2020.) Anyway, here’s the comment I liked. It reminded me just a little bit of Vonnegut.

Easter Islander #1: Dude, I think we’re running out of trees.

Easter Islander #2: Fuck off, you fucking commie. Trees come from the ground. We have plenty of ground.

[cannibal holocaust]


So, where are you planning to be during the cannibal holocaust?

[Tonight’s post was brought to you by Jared Diamond’s “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” I know it doesn’t sound it, but it would make a wonderful Christmas gift.]

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  1. ME
    Posted November 24, 2008 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Wherever you go, there you are…

  2. mark
    Posted November 24, 2008 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Yes, you raise a good point.

  3. mark
    Posted November 24, 2008 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Seriously, though, if you have a large farm, access to fresh water, and enough fire power to keep the cannibals at bay, drop me a line. I’m probably too old to pull a plow, but I could document our activities on a blog or something.

  4. Brackache
    Posted November 24, 2008 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    I advise everyone to move out of the city and go up north, because my like-minded friends and neighbors are staying here, and we want your stuff.

    I wish we were all sitting around a backyard campfire right now, drinking. A blog is just no place to brag about disaster plans. It can’t capture the wild gesticulation and crazy eyes.

    Seriously. We were just planning this stuff again last night.

    Disclaimer: my friends and neighbors do not agree with me politically, nor do they have red mohawks, football pads, or assless chaps. Except I know they probably do.

  5. Posted November 24, 2008 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree Brackache. What we need first is a campfire and drinks.

  6. Brackache
    Posted November 24, 2008 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Just please nobody use “cannibal” as a perjoritive, like we’re a seperate species or something. We’re just like everyone else.

    And our time is coming.

  7. mark
    Posted November 24, 2008 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Are these “assless” chaps you pal around with assless because you’re a cannibal?

    – Curious in Ypsilanti

  8. Brackache
    Posted November 24, 2008 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    There’s something about pasty unattractive British ass that drives me wild with predatory hunger.


  9. Derek Foreal
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    I always planned to take over the Farm Bureau tower. From the top one could see interlopers from far away and in all directions. RPG’s and bullets would bounce off, and there’s good water supply close by.

  10. mark
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    I’ve met some of these chaps, and, as I recall, some were almost solid ass. I suspect you could live quite well on them if that’s your meat of choice.

    As for the Farm Bureau tower, I’ve been up there, and I think I’d rather take my chances on the ground… I’m not a structural engineer, but it looks to me like the whole thing is one good, stiff wind away from collapse.

  11. Posted November 25, 2008 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Not to mention, what are you gonna eat …? Have you been secretly stocking up the Farm Bureau tower with canned goods?

  12. Derek Foreal
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Freshwater mussels, muskrat, carp, wild grapes, birds, squirrels

  13. stella
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I am probably a naif but Dorothy felt pretty genuine.

    I have a fieldstone basement, we’re digging down.
    And, I’m going to loot the Indian stores for spices, or else the squirrels will taste shitty.

  14. Brackache
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    We’re going to have to pitch in together and turn Riverside and Frog Island parks into crop and grazing land, not to mention people’s lawns. Now that Mike Shaw isn’t around to protect them, those squirrels aren’t going to last a month.

    I suppose a water wheel on the river might also be helpful, maybe some windmills for grain (or even small amounts of electricity), if any of y’all have the skills to design such things.

    Kircher’s houses will make great fuel.

    These are more medium-long term ideas, once we run out of people to eat.

  15. Brackache
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    We’ll also each have to dig toilet pits for our households. I can help if someone sucks at it but is good at something else. I like digging.

    No crapping in the river!!!

  16. Paw
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    First we need to burn a ring around the city and build a stockade fence. We can do that this winter, as a few of us make trips out to loot the historic seed libraries of various land grant universities and bring back fertile women. I’m not suggesting it, but we may want to temporarily enslave Ann Arborites to help us in our work.

  17. Brackache
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Paw, that very suggestion regarding Ann Arborites was brought up around the dinner table the other night. So many of us are intuitively on the same page about this — it’s very encouraging. Be prepared, not scared!

  18. Derek Foreal
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    No crapping in the river is irrelavent. The AAWWTP will not be working. Ann Arbor turds will be free flowing by then.

    (Ann Arbor Waste Water Treatmnent Plant)

  19. Posted November 25, 2008 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Now I’m kinda hoping it happens.

  20. Brackache
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Depending on how well you and your neighbors can work together, it’s doable. Our grandparents and great grandparents survived without most of the stuff we have now.

    That part about the river being ann arbor poop water needs addressing. How would that work? Does the AAWWTP immediately dump sewage into the river when it stops working? Any experts or dabblers in the field of crapwater here?

    How would we solve that problem?

  21. Posted November 25, 2008 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    If you disappear into the hills and dales of Pennsylvania, who will I visit when I next come to Ypsi?

  22. voluntary cannibal feed
    Posted November 26, 2008 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    There’s a chance that some people, facing a life of austerity unlike that which they’re used to, might chose to end their lives and donate their bodies. One full grown baby boomer could probably feed a young family of four through the first winter. It would be a noble, selfless act.

  23. Posted November 26, 2008 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    “Depending on how well you and your neighbors can work together, it’s doable. Our grandparents and great grandparents survived without most of the stuff we have now.”

    Yeah, but they lived on farms and didn’t have to depend on sewers AND knew what the fuck they were doing.

    Plus, most of them died of stupid shit that we laugh at today. Like starvation.

  24. mark
    Posted November 26, 2008 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    I like the idea of baby boomers stepping up, taking responsibility for what they’ve done, making amends for the years of rampant narcissism and gluttony, and offering their bodies to feed the young. I’d gain a hell of a lot of respect for them.

  25. mepatrickyounot
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Here’s the way the WWTPlant would work in a “Shit hits the Fan/Chuck Norris-Type” situation. The wastewater plant would get flow from toilets for a while just like always. But if the Drinking water plant is shut down too, there is no water to the toilets except what is held in whatever cistern/tank that happens to be already full. So, the flow into the WWTP would stop soon enough. But, if the pump stations that bring the flow to the WWTP stop operating and overflow, the shit will just run into the river from the storm/sewer drains anyway. Then, people will abandon their homes and just shit directly into the nearest creek. Which is dangerous and that is the reason we have Wastewater Treatment in the first place. There is no escaping the fact that a densely populated area needs to get its waste treated and/or transported far away from their homes and food sources.
    I think in one of those apocalyptic situations, the best place to be would be among people. If you pay attention to how those survivor shows work, you see that if there is a guy with real surival skills that are actually useful, he is voted off soon after his skills are used. The winner is always a manager type, not a skillful person. It is a myth that humans need a bunch of survival skills to survive a dangerous situation. What they need is the ability to cooperate for a while and then screw over their enemies to get the upper hand and win.

  26. stella
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Which is why I kept my books from the 70’s which taught us things like how to build clivus multrum self composting toilets.

  27. Brackache
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I love this thread.

    Even if people did shit in the river, you could still boil it, right?

    And I’m still not convinced that many people would risk mockery of their bare asses to squat down rearend-riverward. Seems it’s easier to dig a hole in your yard, surround it with a screen of some sort, and shit in that. I bought OEC a clay pipe found in an Ypsi outhouse shaft from Maple St., so I know it was commonly done at some point.

    I hope he’s smoking it right now, wherever he is.

  28. Brackache
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Dude, I don’t know if it’s a form of Stockholm syndrome, but your posts are getting funnier and funnier to me.

    The point is not to make society collapse cause it would be a barrel of laughs, the point is to be more prepared for some sort of societal collapse than we are now, thus increasing our survival past, say, three weeks.

    That’s why we’re talking about this.

    Yes, eventually we’ll die of consumption and polio or pink eye or something.

    Which brings up the question of medical care… who’s got the medicine/skills/bonesaws?

  29. Robert
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I just always assumed I’d be staying at Brackache’s place.

  30. Brackache
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Hence the pseudonym.

    On the other hand, the local post-societal collapse society could always a few more gunmen in the division of labor pool.

    We get to be the knights.

  31. Brackache
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Please insert the word “use” somewhere in my previous comment until it makes sense.

  32. Paw
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone called moonshiner yet? If not, I want that role, at least until I can get the brothel and games of chance setup and running.

  33. Ditch Digger
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Sweet. We might need more than one, though.

    No pooping in the stills.

  34. Poop police
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I feel like my whole life has led up to this moment.

  35. Boomer brunch
    Posted December 8, 2008 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    If the boomers did offer themselves as sacrifices, they will finally and forever be more righteous than the Greatest Generation. Think about it — your many long decades of unresolved teenage rebellion will finally be at an end. You’ll be remembered as peaceful selfless world-changers for the good, far surpassing your warmongering parents.

  36. mepatrickyounot
    Posted December 9, 2008 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    Yes, you could bring nasty shitwater to an energetic, rolling boil for a few minutes and drink it. It would be okay. But that would only take care of biological problems. There could be industrial waste or even nuclear stuff in the water if the brown Shinola really hits the fan.
    By the way, I can build fires by rubbing sticks together. Can I be in the Apocalypse Club?
    Maybe somebody should update the movie Red Dawn for the Manga/Comic Book generation with Patrick Swayze in a cameo role.

  37. Robert
    Posted December 9, 2008 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Red Dawn? Hey Steve Swan, didn’t you do a film by that title? If I remeber correctly, dawn was red from excessive spanking.

  38. Rex Rapk
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    When the shit hits the fan, I’m going to the Sober Valley Lodge.

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