Survival, tee hee isn’t it cute

In the ladies' guide to the apocalypse by summerburkes2 Comments

Light disaster can be dealt with, but Generation X Americans have never known a war or catastrophe rough enough to rough us up. Consumer culture’s got us drooling and chained to systems, where our very recent ancestors made their own little worlds and fed themselves.

This writer is not a rabid survivalist-woman by any means. We’ve never spent a night alone in the woods. Growing up in bland-ass Southern suburbia, we learned basic carpentry from and fishin’ from Grandaddy — who could’ve surely gotten our whole family through the Apocalypse, had he not chosen to store dozens of gallons of oil paint in the bomb shelter.

But we ain’t never killed nothin’ bigger than a fish. Never killed anything that bled and ate it, either. However, a lot of time in life has been spent seeking out people like Grandaddy, who teach things Grandaddy might’ve told us if he were still alive.

Regular wilderness camping isn’t our thing, but we have a long habit of coming out to the Black Rock Desert to live in “rustic” accommodations (tent, van, bunkhouse, etc) for one to two months out of the year.

Neither hunter nor farmer nor born-in-nature child, we nevertheless aspire to be a GenX version of all these things when we grow up.

Life is a series of being exceedingly interested in subjects without being anywhere near well-versed, and for us, survival is one of them.

she had a lot to do with it, as did an endless childhood supply of fire-and-brimstone sermons about Revelation

Survival. Those who ‘prep,’ even casually, are the butt of jokes. We’re only glad it’s not more trendy, because then the stupid people would catch on, and buy too much gear without learning things, and talk all the talk without doing things, and play along that they wouldn’t be the first to be eaten by zombies when the radiation hits.

Co-opting fashion without understanding the history or meaning of the movement always is always annoying. Just ask anyone who’s overheard a second-year Burning Man attendee dressed in a store-bought raver-pimp outfit pompously tell the first-year person standing next to them Just How It Is Here.

(Much love and respect to all humans and yada yada but everyone’s got something that gets on their nerves like that. At the end of the day we “desert festival workers” know the cowboys in town would stand next to us at the bar at Joe’s Gerlach Club and overhear our endless shop-talk and think the same thing about most of us.)

Anyway, so we don’t know any more than any other suburban-turned-urbanite, college-educated dirtbag about how to save our own ass if something REALLY went down.

Or we didn’t. Ever since a couple years of leafing through relevant books and trying to find the time to ingest them thoroughly, we’ve been pestering Otto and some of the other mountain men and ex-military shitkickers in our circle for information.

Survival, a book our friend STVCO donated to the Ladies’ Guide to the Apocalypse library — was written by the Headquarters of the Department of the United States Army.

Here’s a favorite quote from Survival:

“In all things indecision is more fatal than the wrong choice. Advance or retreat, but never hesitate. Every action produces its reaction, and the Will must foresee the onslaught of contrary forces in time to lessen or check it. All future things hang in the balance between Good and Evil. The Mind that cannot find equilibrium resembles a run in eclipse.”

Basically, in laypeople’s terms, act like you know what you’re doing, and suddenly, you will.

Sorry to be all doomsday, but from where we sit, it’s kinda fun. Some of us have been waiting for the (hopefully somewhat mild) humanity-smackdown ever since we first laid eyes on Mad Max. Subconsciously, we all want the oil companies to die.

It’s worth it at least to get your Apocalypse Starter Kit together, as well as a sterilized, vacuum-packed store of food you use for camping every summer if the apocalypse doesn’t come any faster than it already is.


Here’s something cute to memorize, from Survival:

S – Size up the situation.
U – Undue haste makes waste.
R – Remember where you are. (they mean pay attention to yr surroundings)
V – Vanquish fear and panic.
I – Improvise.
V – Value living.
A – Act like the natives.
L – Live by your wits, but for now, LEARN BASIC SKILLS.

Also, if you have a vagina — and this is going to either frighten or entice you — don’t be afraid to use it. Seriously, that’s what a MARINE told us. It’s the ugly truth, but we’re quite sure Tank Girl would agree.

[UPDATE 2015: Survival shows with terrible misinformation or a mainstream staple of television. Now everyone’s tinfoilin, not just the tinfoillers – ed.]

Follow Summer Burkes on Twitter.


  1. jesus christ, summer. you’re really starting to freak me the fuck out.

    it might have something to do with the fact that i have always considered the apocolypse and thought that it was a relatively certain that i would witness and either have to survive it or die trying. or die eating the last box of chocolate while watching the apocolyptic sunset. i bought survival shit right before Y2K at the military supply depot (read crazy-ass military nut jobs) in moss landing. the only things i’ve ever really needed out of it have been the rope (i always seem to need rope) and the tooth enamel scraper.

    but the point is… are you pulling our legs or do i really need to venture out into LA and find myself all the necessary accoutrements for a battle to the death?

    sincerely yours,
    sarah mac

  2. You are an amazing woman. I too am preparing for the apocalypse. And that has led many people to say that i am paranoid. But if you really think about it all ANYONE wants is peace of mind, some people find that to be marrying a handsome doctor and doing there nails everyday. I find that with a silenced 1895 Nagant revolver, a model 91/30 rifle , a titanium crow bar, and a s&w model 500… you know, in case of bear zombies. My point is that this is an awesome site and i kinda wish i was a girl because i dont feel welcomed, but i am pretty sure i can get my gf to believe me if she talked to another girl. Take a survival trekk. that is my only advice. You may find survival and you may find your self, hopefully both.

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