We take each other for granted. Many of us pretend that we don’t need anyone else to carry on with our lives. This idea that we are truly self-sufficient is absurd. I watched a video the other day about a man who decided to see how hard it would be to make a toaster from scratch. He mined the metals necessary to cast the functioning parts and even made his own plastic cover to encase the toaster. In the end, he managed to build a toaster that worked for about five minutes before its component parts melted. The whole thing seemed so complicated and this was just a toaster. It got me thinking about the things we actually need to survive.
As human beings, we have a natural inclination to seek shelter from the elements. To protect ourselves, we typically live in homes, apartments or for the lucky few, trailers. But could you build any of those things? Sure some of you are handy enough to nail some boards together, but could you also make the nails or screws to hold it all together? Do you know how to make glue beyond the water-and-flour variety? How about tools? A hammer might be easy enough, but could you also make a screwdriver? Sorry, not the vodka-and-orange juice kind.
Well, if houses are out, we will all live in tents. Most modern tents are made of nylon, a synthetic fabric. I don’t know about you, but I have no idea how to make nylon. My understanding is that nylon is formed when scientists/magicians dump a shit-ton of toxic chemicals in a large vat in a well-ventilated room until… bam: nylon! I’m guessing there are probably a few more steps, but I doubt many of us would make it past figuring out what chemicals we need and where to find them.
Our common lack of understanding toward materials raises another important issue, and one I’m sure is pressing for many of my female readers out there, what will we wear? Some of you out there can sew two pieces of fabric together, or at least attach a button, but do you actually know how to weave a piece of cloth?
A lot of what we wear is made of cotton. Have you ever picked cotton? I haven’t, but I’m guessing it is a real pain in the ass if our early love of slavery is any sign at all. Have you ever seen raw cotton? It’s closer to the balls you use to rub things on your skin with (no, not those balls) than it is a T-shirt or jeans. How that puff of cotton becomes clothes, I have no idea.
At least we still have animals. We could use their skins to make clothes or even to build tents, couldn’t we? I guess it depends on your level of comfort toward rotting flesh. To preserve animal skins, they need to be turned into leather, and I’m pretty sure that takes more than just shaving the hair off. Besides, there are literally deeper issues here, like what the fuck are we gonna eat?
Ted Nugent can’t feed everyone, so I guess we will have to learn to hunt, which means we will need weapons. I’ll call a mulligan on this one since even if a nuclear bomb goes off, we will probably still have guns lying around everywhere. So you strap up and mow down a herd of cattle for supper, what’s next?
Butchering. You say you like steak, but what part of the cow does it come from? The easiest animals to prepare are probably fish and chicken. Both have their downsides: gutting a fish is disgusting, and who knows how to pluck a chicken’s feathers anymore? Fish are obviously easier to prepare, but the chicken has the added advantage of having leftover feathers to make clothes with.
So where does all of this leave us? I consider myself mechanically minded and fairly handy, but the outlook, even in my case, does not look so good. If we were truly on our own, many of us would be sitting under rotting cow hides in our chicken suits, trying our hardest to not die from Salmonella. So, the next time you think you can do it all on your own, or that we can do without certain people, picture that scene in your mind, and remember that if we ever hope to survive, we are going to need each other.
By Bocephus Chigger