Boring “Survivalist” Successes

Orwell was onto something. Redefine a word and you eliminate an idea. “Survivalist” was a perfectly acceptable word. To “survive” implies “not prone to die easily”. Where’s the nobility in dropping like flies? Who has a problem with surviving?

Well, one group has a problem with it. People who’d rather lord over a populace of weaklings find themselves by definition at loggerheads with survivalists. They fired up their pet press and went to work until intentional wordsmithing had redefined “survivalist”. Now it brings to mind tinfoil hatted paranoids plotting mayhem in their parent’s basement. In a world where there are real threats I think it’s stupid to invent pretend ones but that’s why I’m not electable or employed by the press. By now, “easily defeated” is treated as a noble trait and personal duty by people who otherwise look like adults. I call bullshit. Who the hell thinks “surviving” is bad and why would we listen to them?

Also “prepper”, the replacement word, sounds like the brand name for baby wipes. A truly unfortunate word.

At any rate I’d like to point out that “survivalist” in a connotation completely devoid of politics is still a generally positive idea that may pay off in a totally mundane way. It doesn’t take a zombie apocalypse; it just takes normal life.

Here are two “small ball”, non-paranoid, utterly uncool, survivalist successes. I hope to illustrate that even in the absence of Ebola laden politicians from hell dropping nuclear fallout on my backyard… being prepared (as the Boy Scouts knew) is a good idea.

1. Ammunition:

Like everything, the price of ammo has gone through the roof.* Something happened in oh, I don’t know when exactly…. lets just say it all started around the time of an unspecified event in the fall of 2008. I’m not saying what the hell happened, maybe it was space rays or bad guacamole that struck the nation en masse…

Ammunition, formerly an unexciting manufactured commodity made of brass, copper, powder, and lead… became far more expensive than market forces would imply. I don’t buy the gold plated investment grade bullshit that ammunition is somehow suddenly made of unobtanium. The price spiked due to unspecified events right around November 2008 and/or a reaction to it that was widespread and honestly felt. (Also, if I hear any horse shit about “hoarding” in the comments I’ll strike it. Americans are free citizens. They can buy whatever the hell they can afford and do whatever the hell they want with it… including amassing great piles and lying on it like Scrooge McDuck. “Hoarding” is a word coined by the economically illiterate to define a situation where people do something with their money that doesn’t meet with their approval.)

Anyway it’s not rocket science to make the stuff so it should (and hopefully will once again) cost about the price of raw materials (which also soared) plus the cost of manufacture and a reasonable profit. Economics are math and math always wins.

At any rate, I never cared because I’ve been too busy breaking tractors to spend much time at the range. It just wasn’t part of my reality. Until last week…

I had a hankerin’ to sight in a .22 and maybe hammer a bunch of tin cans until they cried for mercy. It dawned on me that a brick of .22 is harder to acquire than a nude supermodel holding a McRib. What the hell?

Being a guy who doesn’t shop if I can avoid it (and I’m good at avoiding it), I naively stopped at a few sporting goods stores for the first time in a long while. I learned what you’ve all known for years. A box of .22 is rarer than the Ebola vaccine. Also everyone at every store is royally pissed off about it. Imagine that; nearly 100% hatred right to the core. If I’d have been in power (which is something I studiously avoid) I’d never had stomped on toes like that. What kind of jackoff thinking is it to pick one group and get them riled up like rabid hornets? Here’s a hint. If people hate you because of what you’ve done, and they’re otherwise studiously law abiding (possibly even boring) people, you’ve done wrong. I let them vent because it seemed therapeutic. Then I skedaddled back to my homestead.

What’s a survivalist to do? Nothing. The die was already cast and, of course, I was already prepared. Duh! I just dug around on my shelves and found enough tin can puncturing goodness to tide me over. Why not?

This is where the rubber meets the road of survivalism. I didn’t have to do anything.

Without options I’d be more likely to internalize the bullshit. I, like many, would be prone to anger over such a crappy situation. A shortage of .22, like a shortage of coffee, bacon, or oxygen, clearly indicates humanity is on the ropes. When small game season comes, you need ammo or you’ve let the squirrels off the hook. Since when are Americans logistically incapable of shooting a freakin’ squirrel? Only politics could give a damn rodent the upper hand!

I could burn too much cash. I could get on e-bay and sell my left nut for a pack of “match grade” bespoke gold plated squirrel rounds. I could wait in line at dawn like a strung out groupie hoping to score on the next shipment to Wal-Mart.

Nope! I didn’t have to do any of that. I simply turned to my own resources. That’s why you maintain your own resources… to avoid buying match grade ammo to shoot a tin can.

I spent the afternoon popping tin cans and having a grand time. I can afford patience while waiting for the world to turn sane again. No need to sweat the small stuff. That’s the whole point of preparedness.

2. Major illness:

One day, long ago, it dawned on me that I’d been feeling under the weather in unspecified ways for far too long. I looked in the mirror and said “if I was a used car, nobody would buy me”. It’s wise thinking to look reality in the face and react to what is and not what we wish was true. Reality was, I needed to do some damn sit ups. “Fuck this, I’m going to get in shape” I muttered.

That’s precisely what I did. The process was hard earned but deeply fulfilling; feeling like shit sucks and feeling healthy is better. No question about it.

Gradually, with much effort and a few setbacks, I got in shape. The exterior is still as ugly as ever but the inner workings, muscle, lungs, etc… are in decent condition. I’m happy with that. Just as I don’t care if my truck has a dent but I’ll carefully keep the fuel pump in top condition, so too I’ve maintained myself. At least reasonably so. To do otherwise is trusting to fate and good luck. Is it not “survivalist” to minimize trusting to luck?

So what? Here’s the second part; a few years after looking into the mirror and getting serious about working out, shit got real. With no warning and I had a sudden medical event (which I won’t specify at this time). It wasn’t lung cancer bad and I’m not complaining. Others have faced far worse. Yet for me, it was a big honkin’ deal. I’m proud to say I got to the emergency room under my own power but that’s about all I could manage. In serious pain I addressed the surgeon (or doctor… I was hazy by then). “Get ‘er done doc!” Then I quit worrying.

Sometime the next day I was unceremoniously kicked out the hospital door feeling like a pincushion that had been hit by a train. What’s a survivalist to do? Recover. Duh!

I recovered fairly quickly. Did I recover so easily because I’m lucky and my doctor was a miracle worker? Maybe. Was modern medicine great? Certainly! Still, I get some credit for stacking the deck in my favor. As a “survivalist” (or “prepper” if you wish) I had a reasonable bank of “health” upon which to draw. Physical duress, no matter who you are, is tough. It’s less tough if you are in reasonable overall shape before you take a hit. I was in decent fighting trim when external factors pole-axed my ass and it made a difference.

That too is “survivalism”. It paid off in the mundane. It didn’t take an earthquake/hyperinflation/bubonic plague/EMP pulse/bacon shortage. Life tends to surprise you in it’s own way and on its own schedule. In these cases it was nothing terrible on a large scale but I skipped around personal difficulties more or less without drama. I’d banked a little “luck”.

I’ll get off my soapbox now. All I wanted to say was that shooting tin cans on a sunny afternoon and a speedy recovery from injury aren’t flashy or exciting but they’re nicer than the opposite. We all play an unknowable but significant role in our own fate. Anyone who tells you different is out to drag you down and boss you around. Rise above.


* The press and government stats report no (or minimal) inflation. Yet the cost of everything from Spam to screws went up in a way that looks exactly like inflation and was timed exactly as one might have expected during certain events right around late 2008 and early 2009. Math works like that. It doesn’t much care your opinion. I don’t expect the press to address the difference between what they say and what is, until and unless the party in power changes. Here’s a hint, if December 2016 rolls around and the press is still blowing sunshine up your ass… you know the stupid party once again managed to snatch defeat from the hands of victory. (They’re good at it!) If it suddenly dawns on the press that inflation sucks and America has more debt than ever before amassed in the history of mankind (which is a true statement… say it a few times to yourself and remember that math never loses), you’ll know the evil party played its hand all the way to its logical conclusion.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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11 Responses to Boring “Survivalist” Successes

  1. abnormalist says:

    On the 22 shortage,
    You need to realize that we actually on the tail end of the SECOND great ammo shortage since 2008… First ran roughly 2008-2011, second ran 2012 to current..

    First one was the bad guacamole incident you described, the second was inspired by the @55-hat in Newtown CT

    I should start out with the info that I shoot a lot of 22, so i like to maintain a decent in house stockpile (hoard if you will). For example I, recalling that 22 was the slowest ammo to recover the great ammo shortage of 2008-2011, bought every mega mart out in the area i could of 22 back on December 15th. I went without christmas presents to supply myself with a decent sized stockpile of cheap bulk pack rimfire goodness.

    Lately though I’m starting to see the bottom of that ammo can more than I care to. Some bulk 22 is starting to filter out in to the general population, but I’d rather not wait outside my local sporting goods store at 6 AM like some demented Black Friday shopper. So like you, rather than turn to the interwebs and 22 scalpers for my squirrel killing fulfillment, I turned to my cheap Italian replica of this!

    I have enough 38 caliber lead balls and Pyrodex P on hand to last me about three lifetimes, and can buy more at the local Walmart (pyrodex at least). And a bushy tail shot with that is just as dead, as they were a hundred and fifty years ago…

    Adapt, improvise and overcome. It ain’t just a fun saying….

    Now if only I could get another 8lb keg of Winchester 231

  2. Dan F says:

    I lost track of which was the evil party back about 1992, when I stopped watching the news.They both look the same to me. I do enjoy a survivalist success story so thanks.

  3. PJ says:

    Air rifles kill squirrels too. I just got an air rifle scope on my one-and-only airgun and it helped tremendously. The per-pellet cost is really low, even after being boosted, and they are available…

    Something I wrote a few years back:’

    As to good words being trashed, I have in my quotes file something from Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom”:
    “The most effective way of making people accept the validity of the values they are to serve is to persuade them that they are really the same as those which they… have always held… The people are made to transfer their allegiance from the old gods to the new under the pretense that the new gods really are what their sound instinct had always told them but what before they had only dimly seen. And the most effective way to this end is to use the old words but change their meaning.

    Few traits of totalitarian regimes are at the same time so confusing to the superficial observer and yet so characteristic of the whole intellectual climate as the complete perversion of language, the change of meaning of the words by which the ideals of the new regimes are expressed….

    If one has not one’s self experienced this process, it is difficult to appreciate the magnitude of this change of the meaning of words, the confusion it causes, and the barriers to any rational discussion which it creates… And the confusion becomes worse because this change of meaning of words describing political ideals is not a single event but a continuous process, a technique employed consciously or unconsciously to direct the people. Gradually, as this process continues, the whole language becomes despoiled, and words become empty shells deprived of any definite meaning, as capable of denoting one thing as its opposite and used solely for the emotional associations which still adhere to them.”

    However, I think there is some value for continuing to use a demonized word. If people know you are a decent sort, and you then call yourself a “survivalist” or say an “anarchist”, their curiosity is naturally piqued.

  4. rapnzl rn says:

    Survivalism begins with the survival”ist”. We DO play a significant role in our own fate, and all the ammo stashing and ‘prepping’ in the world won’t help us recover from a poleaxing. (Relieved to read that you survived, however!)

    As for the impending overpopulation of .22 “bait”, I have my own survival plan…..heh heh heh…

  5. Rick C says:

    “If it suddenly dawns on the press that inflation sucks and America has more debt than ever before amassed in the history of mankind”

    What’s going to be interesting is seeing if the press tries to talk about the former but not the latter, because if they talk about the latter, they have to mention their recently-left-the-scene[1] Glorious Leader was really bad in that regard.

    [1] What? come 1/20/17 he left the White House, what did you think I meant, O NSA spook?

    • Southern Man says:

      I use an astronomy analogy for my kids at school: if every star in the Local Group of galaxies (that’s the Milky Way, Andromeda, Triangulum, and about forty small galaxies) sent us a buck apiece, it wouldn’t cover this year’s Federal budget.

  6. Geodkyt says:

    Hey, I’ll use the word “hoarder”. Of course, I don’t use it with a negative connotation, necessarily, given that I’m a fan of “Buy it cheap, stack it deep!”, and I try to keep an unbroached case in reserve for every caliber that isn’t a pure “range queen” – before I crack that last case, I want it’s replacement in hand (or at least, paid for and on order).

    I have come to the realization that ammo by the case is WAY cheaper, and if you just toss the “shelf price of a box” in your peanut butter jar every time you shoot 20 or 50 rounds, you’ll soon have money for a full case, plus a nice chunk left over as the starter on your next case. . . by Joe Six-pack “a box a year in deer season” standards, *I’m* a hoarder. By the standards of a serious action shooter, I’m just the guy who buys .22LR by the brick instead of the 50 round box. 😉

  7. Chocs says:

    “Unspecified medical event” – Dude. I’m glad to hear you’re getting back into shape, but seriously you have to take care of yourself; No other blog makes me cackle like an insane wendigo like yours! And that reminds me, I have to prod my “firearm trainer” that we need to do a big batch of serious reloading soon; it’s getting past spring here and I need some good time on the range 🙂

    PS: An entry confirming your complete recovery from Mrs Mudge (thanks Joel) would be awesome. Too many good blogs have disappeared/gone deleted lately. (yes I’m a worrywart)

    Salutations from a Sunny Sunday in SA,

    • from Mrs. ‘Mudge – He recovered just fine if a little more cranky 🙂 I just have to stop trying to kill him with Thanksgiving dinners that can’t be beat.

      • Chocs says:

        Yaaay! And yes, Thanksgiving can be very, very dangerous indeed.
        I think it’s partially ego, because you remind me of me, unfiltered. (this can be verified by several people) Also, I tend to scare the bf when I cackle as I read your adventures…. this is a good thing, because I tend to get chocolate treats and footrubs to control my megalomania. 😉

        This entry did make me think though – I’m a definite packrat and I’m definitely overdue for a cleanout (which occurs every two years approx). It’s just that I’m lazy, and I can’t be arsed right now. (obv this does NOT apply to ammo, which one cannot have enough of, IMHO)

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