When cleaning your shotgun, it is always a good idea to do so on your front porch. That way when a neighbor drives by, you can politely wave — preferably with the shotgun in the waving hand — sending a subtle (well, maybe not so subtle) message through your neighborhood. That neighbor, and soon others, will then know not to knock down your front door to raid your food storage when the revolution comes.
You see, Utah culture is quite unique in its preparation for the apocalypse. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints advises its members to have anywhere from three months to 40 years worth of food stored up — depending on who you talk to and how “faithful” they are — for when God or man decides to put the brakes on the world as we know it.
Being a moderately faithful Mormon (I’ll drink a Pepsi occasionally) I have only about six months or so of what could be defined as “sustenance” under the stairs in my basement. Regardless of my meager supply, I am of the firm conviction that any food storage is only as good as the supply of ammo you have to defend it. My parents, being much more faithful than I, have enough food stored up to feed Ethiopia for three to four years. Now granted, most of these stashed calories were packed up in the 1960s and could therefore be considered of questionable edibility, if they were ever edible in the first place (I fail the see the energy-retaining value in dried prunes), but as my dad always brings up: “They’ve found wheat and honey in the catacombs of Egypt that was still quite tasty.” This from a man who eats cold oatmeal with raisins every morning. But all of their preparation will be for naught when the neighbors observe that my parents are still fat while they are selecting which of their children to eat first.
Once the mushroom clouds have dissipated it will only take a few weeks, in my opinion, before armed former Green Peace activists are patrolling the streets looking for any house with lights still on. That is why a giant NRA sticker on your cars and in your front window will go much further in ensuring your survival than powdered and canned “Blueberry Dessert Product.” Of course my mom and dad say they have so much food so they can share. Oh, it’ll be “shared” all right but only for so long before your neighbors start fantasizing about your thigh roasting on a spit over the fire. This is why you should count the number of persons able to operate a gun within, say, a mile or two of your house and estimate how many rounds it would take to bring them down (without spoiling too much of the potential meat). If we all have — and it is common knowledge that we each have — enough ammo to wipe out the neighborhood, we can ensure our communal apocalyptic nightmare will at least be peaceful enough to quietly chew on powered milk solids as the iridescent glow from the nuclear winter gleams off the barrels of our well-maintained shotguns.
Along these lines, the Mormon Church also advises its members to have a 72-hour kit of survival supplies on hand for emergencies. My wife, again being more faithful than I, has taken this quite seriously. Along the wall and well within quick swiping distance in our garage are large hiking backpacks, which I foolishly bought with the intention of going hiking and backpacking, stuffed with every conceivable necessity for an extended high-speed race to… well, I’m not exactly sure where, but I assume wherever the emergency is not. We’ve got everything from games to keep the little ones entertained to extra big rolls of toilet paper. This, of course, is very wise of my wife for I will tell you now, when I see the mushroom cloud rising over the Oquirrhs, or a tsunami rising from the Great Salt Lake, the first thing to enter my mind will be toilet paper!
I don’t wish to alarm any of you over this. Just because I maintain a list of the “plumpest” children in the neighborhood does not mean I wish for any circumstances where the survival of my family’s genes, flat feet, diabetes and all, are ever held in the balance. Just want you all to know there is a 20-gauge shotgun with about 3,000 rounds (I’m a poor shot) in my basement right next to the 30-year-old potato flakes and also several sharp knives stuffed in the outer pockets of those bulging backpacks in the garage (“Get your own damn toilet paper!”), in case you get any ideas.
John Hamilton is the creative director for Transcript-Bulletin Publishing.