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13 July 2010

The Grasshopper and the Ant

The Ant and the Grasshopper 
Many are familiar with the tale of the fastidious grasshopper and his hippie-esque fellow insectoid American, the slovenly ant . In the original telling, the grasshopper is able to make it through winter alive and in style, but the ant...not so much... Of course, we aren't insectoids. Nevertheless, being prepared, as the Boy Scouts of America put it, is more than just the sum of your actions and supplies, it's also a state of mind. Almost like a sacred enlightenment that is achieved without warning. The time when you can think of almost any random TEOTWAWKI or SHTF scenario and say "I got this" with some personal reassurance that you do indeed have a plan that will see your's and your family's asses through to the other side of forever. Planning is good. But what are some of the implications of always being prepared?

I'd like to introduce something that I'm going to call "The Jackass Factor."

Now lets take your average survivalist Joe. Call him Dude X. He's got all his beans, bullets, and band-aids squared away. His preparedness library covers everything from A-bombs to Zombie Outbreak. He is skilled in 1,000 different forms of armed and unarmed combat, and he's handsome as a politician to boot. This guy's a shoe in for hero of the year no doubt, and if Hollywood movies have taught us anything, this guy will pull through unscathed, perhaps with a zany sidekick tagging along for comedic relief. But this isn't a Hollywood movie. This is reality, and in reality unexpected things can and do happen. Dude X planned TOO MUCH! When something unexpected happened, he froze up just for a second, and did something stupid. Let's say he fell down his basement stairs and broke his back, dying a slow agonizing death when his pet chihuahua's walnut sized brain decides his master looks more and more like kibble with each passing day. Game over Dude X.
Kibbles 'n Bits Brushin Bites Dry Dog Food
Now for the interesting part, "The Jackass Factor" if you will. Lets call this man Dude Y. Your average suburbanite loser. He only has enough food to last him until his next bowel movement, enough gas to get to the closest gas station, and enough cash on hand to leave a penny in the tray at the register. Typical guy. Now, in reality, this guy is used to living unprepared. He has never prepared for ANYTHING in his entire life. Rather, he just breezes through each day without a care or thought in his dopey head. And yet, he will survive. Why, you might ask? It's all about adaptability. Period. Being able to think on your feet, and change based on environmental factors that you may not have anticipated. Dude Y is an expert at being woefully under supplied, uninformed, and otherwise uninitiated to do anything that the world expects of him. And yet, he does manage to live, and not only live, but THRIVE.
Thrive, Don't Simply Survive: Passionately Live the Life You Didn't Plan
There's a lesson here.

Somewhere.

Figure it out yourself, I'm not getting paid for this.

We'll get back to this topic sometime later to further explore the virtues of being an oaf.

Lima Bravo, Out

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