Though statistically we’re living in the most peaceful time of human history, it’s hard not to feel like everything is about to come to a terrible end. Be it the media, or the ready access to information we didn’t always have, or the fact that everyone feels nostalgia for their early years when things were simpler – it’s hard not to feel like this is the worst timeline. With events that once were local now feeling national and things that were national now feeling local, we’re all understandably on edge. After a moment to breathe, most of us can step back from that feeling of impending doom and put it all back into perspective. But others…
And looking at people like this, with their crazed ramblings and demands for us to repent before the end comes, leaves us with one very important question: what do they know that we don’t?
How are they so confident of this doom? Have they been gifted with visions of this dark future by a god? Are they Oracles who’ve come to warn us of our fate? Which ones are we supposed to trust more, the guys with the cardboard or the billboard? More importantly: how do we prepare for the doom they warn us of?
Preparing For The Worst
It’s inevitable, with so many people predicting the end times, that one of them is going to be right eventually. As the old saying goes, a broken clock is right twice a day. Irrelevant as that saying may seem in the age of digital clocks and smartphones, it still has meaning to it. If people keep predicting the end over and over, eventually one of those people is going to be right. So of course, we need to start preparing before everyone else catches on and takes the supplies that rightfully belong to us. But with social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, news of doom and gloom gets around incredibly fast. If we’re going to be ready, we have to get ready now.
But first we have to figure out which end is actually coming. As silly as it sounds, since all the doomsday preppers buy the same things like underground bunkers and lifetime supplies of bullets (a minimum of one per person in the bunker), doomsday scenarios require drastically different preparations. Yes, we all want to believe we’re the ones who’ll be spared or that we already know what we’re doing. But you need to know the exact form of doomsday if you’re going to properly prepare for it, and that means first figuring out which one it happens to be. And, given the frequency of their references, we have a pretty good idea of the top few doomsday scenarios to deal with. So, in an effort to properly brace for our terrible ends, let’s start with one of the most popular…
Cause: Jesus is coming, look busy
Best Case Scenario: Rapture happened before the Tribulation and you got a reprieve
Worst Case Scenario: You got Left Behind with Kirk Cameron and he wants to tell you about bananas
Not Worst Case: You got Left Behind with Nicolas Cage and you get to meet Nicolas Cage
- A backpack
- Portable solar panel
- Water purifier
- A tent
- Library card
- A plane ticket
- A trumpet
For a lot of people this is the end times of choice. In fact, when polled about it in 2011, 41% of Americans believed it would happen within the next 40 years. It’s worth noting that, if you are one of those people, this guide probably isn’t for you. And, if you’re still reading this, it’s worth noting that while you believe it’s coming really soon – so did a lot of other people. In fact, according to the end-times author and self-described Christian numerologist David Meade, we just missed a rapture date just this last April. If you’re reading this, either it didn’t happen or a lot more people were left behind than we all thought would be.
Though it is worth noting David is a firm believer in Nibiru, a topic for another day!
For those who are to be left behind, it’s worth going over some of the key points. After a period of unrest and a series of major world events go down, it’s said that people who’ve lived righteous lives as members of the church will simply ascend into heaven while the rest of us are left to deal with a horrific war to end all wars. Though the exact timeline of events is a matter of debate between a great many denominations, the timeline we’re going to work with assumes that you had some warning in the form of people floating off or vanishing from the face of the Earth like the winner of a reality TV competition. And, given the fact that the way out is written right into the very documentation, it seems that the perfect escape route is to simply be one of those who gets swept away.
Unfortunately, statistics say that you’ve probably screwed up somewhere.
So it’s time to consider a backup plan and that’s going to involve some equipment and some travel plans. Now your first instinct, given that everyone who vanished was supposed to be righteous, is to identify which version of God they believed in and go get good with him. However, the problem with that is that this particular end is supposed to be brought about by Abrahamic religion and, I’m sorry to say, if you plan to go to the “holy land”…
Though the doomsayers believe that a peace agreement is supposed to be reached in the Middle East and that the area should be fairly stable, they also say World War III is going to start there too. In fact, they say the war that starts there will kill one third of the world population. So to say it would be a good idea to stay out of that area would be an understatement. In fact, stay off the mainland of any country that might take part in such a war. Of course, being that most of my readers are on North America, this means getting the hell off the continent ASAP. Because you know if World War III happens, America is going to get a piece of that action. Hell, some people expect us to cause it!
So what you’re going to want to do is be able to get off the mainland and to an island where you can stay indefinitely. If you’re an American citizen, that leaves some options but those options are getting narrower with each passing day. Unfortunately, Puerto Rico’s seen better days, Guam is basically waiting for ICBMs, and Kilauea has decided humans need to get off Hawaii (and the rest of the islands in the chain are just too expensive). So what are we left with? The American Samoa.
So about now you’re probably asking why we’d want to head to an island in the South Pacific. There are two key reasons for this trip and you’ll appreciate both of them as all hell literally breaks loose. First, should World War III actually happen, there’s a good chance that it’s going to go nuclear and that’s going to make being near a hot target a bad idea. Any country that is likely to fire ICBMs is also likely to be hit by them too, so it’s best to head to a target with relatively minimal value. Guam missed the boat by being the closest thing Kim Jong Un could potentially fire at, but while the American Samoa has the highest rate of military enlistment per capita in the US, it also only really has a recruiting station. So the likelihood anyone’s going to target that spot is relatively low. Secondly, once we get done kicking our own ass, the books say we should expect some divine retribution. Though I’m sure they’ll get around to everyone eventually, horses aren’t an efficient means of crossing the ocean.
You’ll want to delay actually setting up the travel arrangements until after people stop vanishing, however. Though everyone should be disappearing roughly simultaneously, be sure to give them some time. It’d be a short trip if it turned out your pilot disappeared halfway over the Pacific. This isn’t a huge concern, as most pilots are so underpaid and underappreciated that they’re already a little dead inside, but it’s still something to keep in mind. The good news is, after it is over with, flights should still be going on time because the aforementioned suffering means pilots really just fly because they like it. And any familiarity with airline policies will tell you all you need to know about airline executives – business will go on as usual.
Once you’ve obtained your ticket and are ready to go, there’s some packing to be done. You’ll want to make sure to bring several key items to be used for later. First, a backpack is a must, you’re going to be doing your best to avoid being in the middle of any city riots and that means going to the fringes as much as possible. Second, you’re going to need a tent, a portable solar panel, and an electrolytic water purifier. These are going to be important for when things really get ugly. And finally, you’ll need to be sure to have a library card and a trumpet.
You’re going to want to use that library card first and head to your nearest library to borrow every religious book you can fit into your backpack. Yes, that could rack up the late fees like crazy, but you have no intention of coming back anyway. Be sure to grab every Abrahamic book in particular because each denomination has a different idea of what rules should and shouldn’t be followed. You’ll be reading these both over your particularly long flight and for the next 7 years as you try to see if you can somehow get warped away before things get really bad. Sure, it’s a long shot, but believing against all odds will probably earn you some brownie points.
Once loaded up, you should head out to Samoa. Be sure to bring your life savings as you won’t likely be coming back unless it turns out that people vanishing was one giant false alarm. Once in Samoa, while your instinct would be to get a hotel room or something similar, it’s a better idea to buy up bug spray, a mosquito net, and some supplies. Yes, the island is probably stable when you first arrive, but avoiding population centers is a must when riots, famine, and diseases start spreading like wildfire. The good news is that Samoa is fairly lean on dangerous animals, so you really just have to worry about the centipedes which have a bite that can be compared to a red hot poker – which, all things considered, is probably good practice.
An electrolytic water purifier will be good for making sure you have clean drinking water over the next few years. Though there are a lot of passive filter systems, something that can kill pathogens will be a must, particularly when the riders show up and disease spreads across the world. These will require a recharge, so keep the portable solar panel handy to lower your chances of dying an agonizing death. However, do also be sure to pick up a regular filter too, as the electrolytic purifier just kills pathogens and later the waters are supposed to turn into blood (though, whether that particular event is part of the Tribulation or the Final Judgment is up to debate). Fortunately, while that sounds like it would mean there’s no water to drink, you’ll be happy to know that blood is 92% water and just requires a careful approach.
And, speaking of careful approaches, let’s talk about looting.
Though civilization should continue to go on for a good portion of the terrible times ahead, it’s going to collapse eventually. With a third of the population dying over the course of one hell of a war and a great many having vanished into the heavens, you can be sure that the remnants of human society will begin to fall apart before long. As such, looting is going to become a major concern before long. This is where the trumpet comes in. If the books are accurate, you can expect to find that all really terrible events are heralded by a trumpet sound first. For most, this means that the sound is going to be a source of dread. For others, this is a source of opportunity. Keeping the trumpet handy will give you an opportunity to clear a room faster than yelling fire while avoiding potential resistance. It’s best not to be seen carrying it, but to be heard will surely buy you a few uninterrupted minutes to browse what’s left of store shelves. Sure, it’s a dick move, some would even say that this is the sort of thing that would get you damned, but if you’re still around to do it then there’s not a whole lot left to lose. So blow that thing like Dizzy Gillespie.
Now, survival in these conditions for the entirety of the predicted tribulation isn’t going to exactly be easy, and the order of events and just how much time you have tends to change from one denomination to the next. But, with these few key factors in mind, and a willingness to learn some general survivalist training, you just may make it long enough for the four horsemen to appreciate your level of dedication. Of course, that’s assuming that this is the correct version of the end times. Next time, on An Asshole’s Guide To The Apocalypse, let’s take a look at the next most common dread…
Full blown nuclear war.
(I write novels and dabble in screenplays. Yes, I’m aware people really believe the end is nigh. But I have better things to rant about on twitter.)