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By Asha Pruitt



I’m not surviving the apocalypse; this I know for certain. It’s not because I am particularly pessimistic about my own survival skills (though my failure to participate in Girl Scouts means I can hardly be trusted to start a fire, let alone hunt or forage or build a shelter), but rather that it’s quite presumptuous to assume that anyone is coming out alive after nuclear holocaust or ecological collapse. Still, there’s something beautiful about the irresistible way in we all try in vain to immortalize ourselves.


Doomsday Preppers premiered on National Geographic in 2012—the year that the world was purported to end—and its participants, who stockpiled corned beef and built underground bunkers, became easy targets for ridicule. But whether it’s a reactionary behavior to the current political climate or an instinct inherited from generations of fearing the rapture, the show is a fascinating case study of American individualism. These survivalists selfishly believe that homemade pepper spray will save them during martial law, whoever builds the best quarantine system will withstand the next pandemic, and fuck everyone else. 


I’m a hoarder, too—of books, vinyl, magazines, DVDs, cassettes. I shoot photos on film, protecting the negatives with my life, and keep every letter I’ve ever received in a shoebox at the foot of my bed. Despite the risk of flood or fire at any moment, I still trust physical media far more than anything in the cloud. I, too, selfishly believe that my collection of useless pages and tapes will outlast an asteroid impact. I couldn’t care less about my own life—I doubt that I’d find iced coffee in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, anyway—but I’d hope to leave something behind for someone or something to find. An Elliot Smith record, a Joan Didion book, anything to prove my artistic tastes to be better than everyone else in the world, who are all just as dead as myself. 


I spend a lot of time thinking about long-term nuclear waste warning messages. Towards the end of the Cold War, physicists and anthropologists became concerned with the prospect of keeping future civilizations safe from our own mistakes, knowing that nuclear waste could outlast the world as we know it by hundreds of millions of years. The solution? Frightening symbols, hostile architecture, an atomic priesthood, radioactive cats. Each aimed to convey the same message, outlined in a 1993 report from Sandia National Laboratories: “This place is not a place of honor... no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here... what is here was dangerous and repulsive to us...” and so on. 


What experts in nuclear semiotics failed to consider is that Tumblr shitposts might be the one thing to entrench these cryptic warnings into the collective consciousness. All it took was one person to copy and paste the 1993 report onto a Live-Laugh-Love wall hanging, prefaced with “In This House, We Believe” in curly lettering. Will memes last as long as uranium isotopes? Probably not. But I still choose to believe that one day, aliens will pull from the rubble my fossilized booty shorts with THIS PLACE IS NOT A PLACE OF HONOR plastered across the butt and understand, somehow, that someone from the past cared to memorialize their own life while trying, futilely, to save another’s.

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while watching the tv series Lost. We were repeatedly faced with the revolting image of people casually swimming in jeans.  And wondered, when you have all the time in the world...why wouldn't you just take your damn pants off? 
your thighs would chaf, your pants (which in this situation, you don't have many pairs) would take forever to dry and those puppies would be so heavy to swim in.
click through the pockets if you love horror
if it's a life or death situation we can let it slide. But for a casual float in ocean? Disgusting.  

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