Slack Tide: Doomsday cramming

If you’re reading this, the world didn’t end on Dec. 21, 2012, the date of the prophesied Mayan apocalypse. Nice one! But let’s not start cheesing our victory nachos just yet.


First off, according to an alternate translation of the Mayan Long Count Calendar — which supposedly stops abruptly sometime this year, most likely because when the Mayans developed their Long Count calendar 5000 years ago, they figured 5000 years was probably long enough — the end actually comes on Dec. 23. That’s today. Just FYI.

Also, what if the Mayan apocalypse really was scheduled for Dec. 21, only it got delayed somehow. Anyone who’s been to South America knows things tend to run a little behind schedule down there. Plus a whole apocalypse — that’s a pretty large-scale undertaking. It’s perfectly reasonable to expect unforeseen production problems. Let’s not even talk about budget.

So what if the world is ending after all, possibly sometime soon? Suddenly it might be dawning on you — especially if you’re one of the 1.5 million people tuning in to the new season of “Doomsday Preppers” on the National Geographic Channel — you’re not doomsday prepped at all. In fact, you’re kind of doomsday screwed.

Instead of building bunkers, stockpiling munitions and converting all your money into non-hybrid crisis seeds like your weird, geeky neighbor, you’ve spent your last year on earth watching a surprisingly engrossing reality TV show about weird, geeky neighbors who prepare for various apocalyptic scenarios. By the way, now would be a good time to go over and knock on that weird, geeky neighbor’s metallic air-lock door and make friends with him (a good start: stop calling him “weird” and “geeky”; also, bring a peace-offering of SPAM).

Fear not, ye unprepared! You may not have time to construct the panic room of your dreams. But it’s never too late to do a little last-minute doomsday prepping, aka “doomsday cramming.”


If you’ve already stockpiled Twinkies in your survival pantry, break them out now. Contrary to popular belief, Twinkies do not have an infinite shelf-life. So, go ahead and see if they’re still fetching $100 a box on eBay, then sink your money into ramen. That stuff lasts forever. Also, it’ll make the post-apocalypse seem like you’re back in college, especially if you’re listening to Van Morrison and nursing a hangover with warm Milwaukee’s Best.

Other foods with extended shelflives: rice, jerkied meats, powdered milk, sugar, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff and vegetable oil (can you say deep-fried fluffer-nutter night in the bunker?).

Of course, living in Juneau puts us at an advantage as far as abundant hunting, fishing and foraging. But consider this: dry goods come from outside. I can’t be expected to enjoy my doomsday halibut platter without Panko breading, can I?


Ideally, you’d be self-sufficient for the duration of societal collapse, which would mean a water capturing, filtration and recovery system. Even if society doesn’t collapse, think of the bragging rights you’ll have with your greenie friends — sure, they compost, but you wash dishes with recycled pee!

While in other parts of the country, the best doomsday crammers can do to secure a source of hydration is to start gathering quarters for the vending machine, here in Juneau, fresh water abounds and everyone owns a Nalgene bottle (thank you, REI dividend).


Experts recommend a thick-walled metallic structure reinforced with concrete, rebar and sheet metal. But a shelter need not be that complicated. For example, in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” Indie survives a nuclear blast holed up in an old refrigerator. But then again, later in the movie, he almost gets sucked into an inter-dimensional vortex by telekinetic aliens, so they weren’t exactly going for scientific verisimilitude.

Ambitious doomsday crammers can take the added step of placing plastic sheeting and duct tape over the windows. Not to keep out poison gas, radiation or biological weapons or anything, just in case you want to slap on a fresh coat of paint. If you’re going to get vaporized, you may as well get vaporized with a Bordeaux accent wall.

And let’s not forget the easiest, and in some ways most logical, shelter for a doomsday crammer: in bed, with the covers pulled up. Especially if you sleep on a steel mattress with a Kevlar comforter.


You won’t find a more perfect opportunity to order that ninja sword you’ve always wanted. And you may as well buy the strap-on hand claws, too, while you’re at it. Oh, and spring for expedited shipping. The apocalypse could be coming any day now, and you’d hate to have to face it without your strap-on hand claws.

Should the idea of weaponry scare you — and let’s face it, the idea of certain people you know owning a ninja sword is frightening — thanks to advances in technology, quick, cut-rate security is no longer limited to barking dog records. Now, you can download barking dog mp3s. Gun-fire mp3s, too. Hey, it worked for Macauly Culkin in “Home Alone.”

Some Doomsday 2012 scenarios include a sudden geomagnetic reversal of the earth’s poles. Back up all your devices before this happens, especially your iTunes library. For one, you don’t want to lose your security system. But also, after civilization falls, you’re going to have a lot of time on your hands — perfect opportunity to make the ultimate skiing playlist.

The practical doomsday crammer also thinks outside the box, although not if he or she is using the box as a bunker. You’ll want to have certain supplies on hand. Dental floss and mouthwash, for instance — nothing worse than morning-after-the-end-the-world breath. Also, apoca-lip balm. Have you ever been inside an underground bunker? So dry in there. Plus, you’d hate to have to kiss your butt good-bye with chapped lips.

Happy doomsday cramming, everyone. And remember: whether you’re living large inside an old ICBM silo with a hydroponic garden and a solar-powered entertainment center or eating Little Smokies by headlamp in your crawlspace — either way, you’ll be relieving yourself in a bucket.

• Slack Tide appears every other Sunday in Neighbors, although Geoff will be going on break until Jan. 27.


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