Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude: Day 15

I was part of a conversation the other day - about prepping. Not surprising, right? Seeing as how I consider myself a prepper, of sorts. Like many conversations about preppers, these days, it was spurred because someone had seen that National Geographic Show.

I've seen bits and pieces of the show, but never a whole episode, because I don't have a television, and, well, frankly, I've seen enough to know a few things.

First, it's not real. Yes, the people are real, and yes, many of them are doing the things that are shown, but, as with most things on television, their preps are sensationalized. The film crew spends three days with the prepper, and then cuts three days worth of footage to fifteen minutes.

It's television, and they are looking for the most outlandish, most crazy-sounding things that the people might let slip in three days. Sometimes those things that are said are taken out of the context in which they were said.

Second, many of those people are just average folks, like me. Some of them might be a little over-the-top, and certainly, I don't agree with or condone building a bunker and stocking it full of MREs and biohazard suits. For me, the whole prepping thing is something different, but I can see how what I do, even, could be sensationalized to make me look a little out-there.

And I think National Geographic has done a huge disservice to people, because by making that show, and by portraying these people as paranoid, fearful, and a bit unsettled, the shows producers have given the rest of us an excuse to do nothing, which, as we've seen from the unsettled weather since 2005 and the rough economic climate since 2007, isn't such a good idea. The problem is that no one wants to be associated with those preppers, and if having some stored food and water or transitioning to some form of alternative energy means one might be considered a crazy prepper, most of the American public says, no thanks, and then, we have Hurricane Sandy, and people without electricity (and heat or a way to cook their food) for a week (or more) and fighting in gas station lines.

Prepping isn't just about TEOTWAWKI. It really is about insulating oneself against life's little hiccups. One doesn't need a bunker to be ready for a hurricane, but if one heats and cooks with electricity, one does need to have alternative heat sources and ways to cook if the eletricity goes out.

At this halfway point through my month of thankfulness, I want to pause and be thankful that Deus Ex Machina and I turned our feet onto a new path many years ago. Perhaps our preps looked the way they do, because we have never been concerned about a single catastrophic event. We started and kept prepping for a lot of reasons. In fact, perhaps the biggest motivator has been just the simple desire to have a different life - one that wasn't ruled by the corporate hierachy of a 9 to 5 soul-sucking job.

And maybe that's where and why we differ so much from the usual prepper mindset. We're changing our lives and our lifestyle so that we don't have to have money, and not just-in-case-IT happens.

I cooked breakfast on the woodstove this morning. It was a leftover baked potato that I chopped up in a pan and browned in a little bit of olive oil. I also heated some water for steeping some roasted dandelion root for coffee and heated some milk for a dandelion-root cafe au lait.

And I was thankful, because with or without electricity, with or without worldwide global trade, with or without a viable national currency, with or without a job, I could still have hash-browned potatoes and dandelion-root coffee heated on the woodstove.

For me, that's what prepping is and should be all about.


  1. I agree. It's like Jack Spirko at The Survival Podcast says, "[...] if times get tough, or even if they don't." It just makes sense.

  2. Well said. It irks the crap out of me to see how network TV portrays people like that and you nailed the results right on the head.

  3. Small Town Big GardenNovember 15, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    I have not watched the show,we don't have cable or Dish or anything.We were watching so little television that I didn't a point in keeping the

    For me prepping isn't about being paranoid.It's about knowing what to do when the power goes out,what to do when we're snowed in(always a potential here in MI in the winter),and growing and preserving as much of our own food as we can grow here at home.It's the confort of knowing what's in our food,and more importantly,what isn't.It's knowing I can go down stairs to the pantry and put together several meals,and cook them,with or without power because we planned ahead enough to be prepared for when things pop up.

  4. Good piece! And I do believe there is a difference between stocking up with supplies and hoarding. Maybe there is a fine line, but one implies a nesting kind of attitude and the other seems to cater to selfishness. In the world we live in, it is very foolish for people not to be prepared for violent storms that knock out the power for extended periods of time. Stocking up is essential as are alternative forms of heat and cooking. Finally, as solar panels become ever cheaper, they could be a smart investment as well as a green thing to do.

  5. I have to say that even though the show is kind of crazy, it has turned my husband and brother and sister-in-law onto having some sort of "prepping" happening in our daily lives. So, while I think the show is a little on the crazy side, I think that it can actually be helpful as well. I think the combination of Sandy, and then seeing a Doomsday Preppers marathon over the weekend really made the rest of my family start thinking about all the stuff I have been talking about for a couple years.

  6. @ Heather - that actually makes me feel a lot better. It's good to know that the show hasn't turned people completely off the idea of being prepared. Even a little is better than nothing - I think.

  7. I do watch the show now and then. Unfortunately it does feature some extremist in prepping but it does provide some ideas and gets me thinking about potential situations and how prepared I would be.