Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Desirable Skills

I'm inventing a new hobby.

With all the ways the world could end at any given moment -- gas crisis, financial collapse, unending war, zombies, global warming, the list goes on and on -- something's gonna give at some point and we'll all be in the crapper. I'm not saying this is a certainty, or that I know how it will all fall apart. But I do know that sh|t is wierd enough at this point that if you don't get ready for it and it does hit the fan, y'all are gonna feel pretty friggin' stupid. And it won't really matter how it ends or what causes it, over is over.

So, given the inevitability of our suspiciously delayed doom, I'd say we've got some work to do. Everyone knows all the physical preparations required to survive the apocalypse (conventional wisdom seems to indicate that a shot gun and a back pack full of MREs should more than suffice, and who am I to argue?) but who's skill set is up to date? We all know the van will be better off with a little extra armor, but do you know how to weld? We'd all love a cache of AK-47s buried out in the woods, but do you know how to properly store them?

I sure don't.

When I got thinking along these lines, I realized there was a whole laundry list of skills I'd always meant to learn how to do, and never had. These aren't skills that are important for day-to-day living -- if they were, we'd all know how to do them. But if it ever comes up, I'm going to be glad I learned how to (for instance) evaporate salt water and trap the vapors for something to drink. Ya, we've all heard that one. You ever try it? Me, neither.

So, I think its high time to Level Up. Screw Warcraft, I'm going to level up ME. In real life, with actual skills. I don't need to be an expert, and neither do you. I don't mean to spend a year becoming a certified welder, but I'd like to be able to up armor the van, right? And these don't all need to be survivalist skills, either, just anything interesting but non-essential that I should have learned to do while growing up, but didn't. I'm going to make up a list of Interesting and Desirable Skills, and go out and learn them at at least some basic level. I will call this my new hobby, and I'm encouraging others to try it.

If nothing else, this could be fun at parties.

So, here's my list:

    Desirable Skills:
  • Constelation/Star identification and recognition
  • Astral Navigation (navigation via star recognition)
  • Map and Compass navigation (ya, I can hike with a map, but...)
  • Juggling
  • lock picking
  • hotwire a car
  • collect drinkable water
  • knot tieing, Navy style
  • welding
  • electrical soldering
  • lip reading
  • trip wires and traps
  • clean small game animals
  • CPR/First Aid
  • make fire without matches
  • use my sling accurately
  • firearm cleaning and storage

So, that's my list. I haven't made much progess on it yet, but I just dreamed this up over the weekend. I DID learn how to tell North with a stick, though, so that's a start.

What's on your list?


Luggagemonkeys said...

I am interested in your ideas, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter!

At least three of your items, maybe four, are covered in a book I got on the B&N discount shelf a few years ago, "How to Stay Alive in the Woods." I'll bring it by sometime.

Also, if you're administering CPR, just remember "Stayin' Alive" by the Beegees. They say it's great for CPR since it has 103 beats/minute, and the recommended pump rate with CPR is 100 pumps/minute.

Luggagemonkeys said...

"These aren't skills that are important for day-to-day living -- if they were, we'd all know how to do them."

Also, you might be surprised how few people really know how to balance a checkbook, lose weight, or fix a toilet. But then, none of those are really fun.

Anonymous said...

I suggest you look into joining your local fire/ambulance companies. First off, you're making a serious commitment to your community, the biggest solution to the whole reason you might need those skills.
Secondly, certain skills, such as First Aid, need to be higher than "Red Cross Basic First Aid and CPR." That particular course devolves down to 4 hours of how to call 911, and an adult CPR course.


NTaker said...

Lets see on your skills list...

Desirable Skills:

-Constelation/Star identification and recognition-Astral Navigation (navigation via star recognition)
...check...did several courses on sailing with my dad as a kid on sailing using astral navigation when the electronic worky bitz on your boat go "PHHHTT"

-Map and Compass navigation (ya, I can hike with a map, but...)
...check..camped a bunch in my youth and did all of that BS in Basic.

...nope..have not found the need or use as of yet.

-lock picking
..nope...but on the few times I had to jimmy open a lock I have gotten lucky.

-hotwire a car

-collect drinkable water
...check..again lots of camping and what not

-knot tieing, Navy style
...kind of...though I did the sailing thing...I was kind of shity at this.

...check..gas or electric rig..once more I growing up I learned this from my dad as he had full summer we built a two horse trailer from scratch...lots of time to hone the old skills.

-electrical soldering
...check...having done the punk rock band thing...this was how we kept our shity PA system running.You have not yet soldered until you have used a spoon and a gas stove ehilr in a shity Southside house to get the job done.

-lip reading
...not sure...but it seems kind of easy

-trip wires and traps sis and I growing up spent a bunch of time booby trapping each other's rooms during the secret war...also lost of kids and a big patch of woods in the neighborhood.

-clean small game animals
...check...of the hoof,claw and scale

-CPR/First Aid

-make fire without matches

-use my sling accurately takes me a few shots before I zero-in

-firearm cleaning and storage
...a big time on the cache is once a month and not missed on all of my gear having used any of them or not.

One that I would like to add...

Diesel engine mechanic
...I know fuck all about this and would like to widen my skills some day.