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?