Why We Do What We Do

by Aunt Bea

Last night I had a dream. Homer Simpson and Tommy Lee Jones were both preppers. Each character proceeded in his own way. Homer’s preps were a disorganized mess. It was unclear whether Homer was ever able to gather food and water, let alone learn survival techniques. But, we all know that things will work out well for Homer in the end.

Tommy Lee Jones created stock piles of food and water. He understood how to defend himself and his family. He can direct anything and has always been my imaginary hero! Of course, his preps will pay off and he will be ready for whatever comes!

These two characters really juxtapose my emotions about prepping. Some folks, I imagine, are playing around like Homer, hoping and assuming the best will happen, and in any event they will be ok. Others are working with military precision, as one of Tommy Lee Jones’ characters might, learning how to do everything necessary to exist in a pre-1850 world with the addition of a complete arsenal.

Personally, I am someplace in between. I am learning and growing in many of the arts and skills necessary to live post TEOTWAWKI, but know the task is too great for one person.
I owe this trajectory to the announcement made by Hank Paulson in October 2008 that the US had to give him BILLIONS which he would use to stop a major, worldwide economic crash by forwarding it on to banks.

I watched this jaw-dropping announcement and quickly resolved to learn more about our economy. From research on the economy, I found people like James Rawles, Lew Rockwell, Peter Schiff, Gerald Celente, Mac Slavo, this blog and others who all espouse a similar message….we are in deep mess, the government can’t help and is really part of the problem. Prepare for the worst.

I made the mistake of agreeing with a comment about wishing for SHTF sooner rather than later some time ago. Many others disagreed and chastised those who were weary of waiting. This got me to thinking about why someone would wish for the crash? Do all preppers prepare for the same reasons? I have not seen the psychology of prepping addressed. Perhaps it is assumed. But, from Homer to Tommy Lee we must all have personal reasons.

For me, it begins with an underlying feeling of being out of control, of the world spinning so quickly, changing at such a rapid pace, adding levels of complexity that no one could completely understand it. It is impossible to keep up. I am dependent on so many people and processes that I don’t understand but are required for survival. I like knowing antibiotics are available, that someone else kills the animals I eat.

What makes me uneasy is not being certain the drugs we take or the food we eat is safe and healthy. The United States is in immoral wars, China sends us tainted dog food and children’s toys likely made by other children, the MSM tells me there is no inflation, the TSA gropes passengers on the way to their destinations, Japan is in the middle of a nuclear meltdown which will affect all of us.

Left or right, our leaders lie. I repeatedly hear pundits say that no one cares about these things, there is no outrage. I am outraged, but these social problems are beyond the scope of something I can change. This is a Goliath!

So I prep, sometimes like Homer, sometimes like Tommy Lee. And, sometimes when I hear another lie or see the US bomb another country I wonder how long our unsustainable lifestyle last, when and how it will end. What about you?


  1. Good cracker aunt bea!Goooooooood cracker! I would like to think I prep like Tommy would but,,,,,,Dohhhhhh!!!

  2. Aunt Bea, I love & adore ur use of Home Simpson & TOmmy Lee Jones characters, along w/ our memories of ur character!! Looks to me like u are an independent & creative thinker -the kind that would be a good prepper. Yes, we all have to have our own personal reasons for prepping. Please say Hi to Andy & Opie!

  3. I also prep somewhere in the middle. Some of my preps are organized some in piles and boxes that I may remember or not remember that I have. I keep track of the basic’s like food and water but have lots of other preps that I have accumulated that I know I need to work with or try out but haven’t either took or found the time to do it. I generally rage against the folks that seem to want the STHTF as I hate to see the millions that will suffer and die because of it. I think that most of those types really have no idea what this is going to be like. On the other hand at times I think if it is truly coming in my lifetime I would rather it comes when I am still fairly healthy and strong and able to do some of the things I need to do to survive. At 60 years old I can still dig a garden,cut down a tree ect but physically pay for it now so I can just imagine what it will be like 10 years down the road. If it does come I hope it is in the dead of winter so there will be must less accessibility to the are I live in for the first couple of months as I feel they will be the worst.

    • Poor man
      I vote against those who want shtf. They occur to me like they have destroyed their souls with hatred when they get gleeful about 300 million in the US dying. I have never been through a catastrophic event like that but it might completely unhinge survivors. I hope to survive anything like that, but I don’t discount the horror of it.

      • Rebecca

        Yes those who wish for disaster are clearly not sure what the extent of it will be like. And yes I am a serious prepper but sincerely hope and pray it doesn’t come to a SHTF lifestyle, because frankly I like eating out for pizza with my wife and kids, or going on a hunting vacation, or having air conditioning when it’s 90 and humid. Could I do without all that? Yes, but it wouldn’t be at all fun, and at 61 years old, I will pay for extreme physical exertion the next day, and a few after that!

        • Bwhntr61
          I am grateful for this long period of extension, if only to prepare more thoroughly. I too enjoy the little things available now, that may go away. I am a sucker for Vietnamese food now and again.
          I am 62 and healthy… but can not do some things without payment in pain.

      • Axelsteve says:

        I have been looking hi and low trying to find tactical donuts

        • OhioPrepper says:

          I don’t know about tactical donuts; but, standard donuts are pretty easy to make if you can heat a pot of oil to deep fry them

    • A smart enemy, will strike when and where, there is the most vulnerability. Four guesses on which season.

  4. I prep because I believe the crash everyone thinks is on its way is already in process as a slow slide. I started in 2006 in a more organized way, but have been interested in a pioneer lifestyle since a kid camping for months at a time with my dad.
    The more I have learned about our government and corporate marriage, the less I want to rely on our corrupt and complex system. In any event, with technology changes, jobs are unstable and I want to be more self-sufficient, as in no debt, and able to feed myself. I need water, food, shelter. I have paid off debt and live at a much lower lifestyle than I used to, but can now live on few FRNs. It seems a better life style to me, less anxiety. In looking at my lack of some skills I am going low tech. I decided to shift now instead of for “just in case” and my need for FRNs dropped again. I am enjoying the transition and feel more content than I have in years… retired early and learning more skills.

  5. The crash is inevitable and indeed we have been in the long emergency for at least 8 years. But there is good news. Because the government props up the stock market and welfare replaced the long food lines of the great depression life goes on. How is that good you ask? Simple; today you can go to your local walmart/Winco/Costco/super market and buy anything you need at prices you can afford. I have seen 50 lbs of rice for less than $10. I cannot predict what will happen after the crash but I am pretty sure that you won’t have a lot of money and everything will cost more IF you can find it. Stock up, prepare, it’s coming. I am not one who wants it to happen or happen sooner rather than later but it is beyond my control. What I can control is what I’m going to eat in the first few years of the next great depression and whether or not I wipe my butt with TP of my left hand. You can to.

  6. Will SHTF today or never? I prep for today and for future generations. Books, teaching skills (homesteading: like Backwoods Home Magazine Anthology, defense: A Failure of Civility), seeds in the freezer and other supplies that will be good a decade or more from now. Today, some favorites are scythes, wheel hoes, grain mills, toothbrushes, floss, reusable canning lids, powdered bleach (double jarred), wood stoves, stainless mesh- for turning cars into dehydrators, salt,PM’s, etc. It is obvious Big Power wants us weak and vulnerable. After 30 plus years of prepping, I am now trying to take the long view.

    • Also, many water bails and pump removal tools. Wells are everywhere.

    • thanks
      I also have over thirty years of prep it can be a lonley place at times , i also store books and send as gifts year round , I just hope and pray my family will have have some when the need comes

  7. Personally I believe that we (collectively and personally) can not continue our current economic strategy. I know for a fact that personally you can not spend more than you make for very long; I don’t see how doing it in larger quantities makes it better.

    So, I do what I can. My DW is very relieved than I have always been a planner, looking for solutions to problems rather than just identifying them.

    Our small house (which is grid dependent) is all wrong for where I now want to be. It is getting filled up with stuff, to the point that further expenditures are becoming impractical.

    I am at my “comfort level” in several areas, but not even close in others. And there is always something else we “need”.

    At least, my days of panic buying are over. I have lists, and prioritize my expenditures accordingly. I too am a little more Tommy Lee Jones than Homer Simpson (at least I like think so), but far from where I want to be.

    My ultimate goal is shared by many – When “IT” happens I want to be able to lock the door, make a pot of coffee, load my rifle, and watch the show, Will I ever get there? Probably not, but nothing I have done or plan to do will be a waste. No, I don’t travel or vacation as much as some think I should, but that’s okay with me. I always have been a bit of an “odd duck”.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      I always have been a bit of an “odd duck”.

      That pretty much fits my families opinion of me. I would bet many here are in the same boat…

      • OhioPrepper says:

        I also have family and friends who think I’m a bit of that odd duck also; but, many of them see the practicality in what i (we all) do and just don’t have the mindset to stop everything and go there with us. I have a few potentials that I work on slowly like convincing them that filling the gas tank when it hits 1/2 instead of waiting for the empty light to come on is a good idea, so who knows.

  8. mom of three says:

    I would hate to see a melt down too I don’t want people, to suffer but as most of us think and believe, we can only do so much to help our family and friends. We got rid of a boat load of debt this year but we still have a mortgage, two credit cards(business only) that hubby pays each month. I also do alot of coupon shopping, it starts slow but if you keep it up pretty soon you don’t do grocery shopping unless you have coupons, that is me anyway. Each week I get only what I need and try to have a list going and try to only buy on sale or coupon. Prepping should be a lifestyle for everyone because none of us know when the next emergency, or earthquake, flooding, snow, economic meltdown will happen.

  9. I cannot imagine a person wishing for people to suffer, die, or have any hardship.

  10. I prep because I do not live on denial and know anything is possible and things are getting stranger every day. What really bothers me is I feel alone in this, people are so scared of the truth and what might happen , most of them prefer to continue on livin a dream and consider a prepper “a paranoid nut” , so I just chose not to talk much about it and just be vigilant and educate myself as much as possible, if it ever happens, I know I did my best to be ready.

  11. Chuck Findlay says:

    I have the mindset that every day it doesn’t crash is another day to prep.

    I buy preps, tools to make money, learn new skills (from here, U-Tube, books and on the net from other blogs and web sites) Practice the new (and old) skills. Prep my mindset for SHTF.

    But all the while I hope it doesn’t go all crazy.

    I have no idea how it’s able to not crash with all the dumb stuff the government is going that should in all reality cause a bad crash.

    But I am working and will continue to use every day to get better prepared for what we all thing is around the corner. I think I’m doing well at it, but depending on how bad it could get, who knows how well I will do if we get a bad crash?

    But at the same time I still want to and do enjoy life every day.

    I have no better answers then anyone else on this issue, I just do what I can to build a good and hopefully happy life for myself if a bad crash happens or not.

    • Chuck, I agree on this one. I am doing the same and enjoying the journey to greater self-sufficiency. I love how my life is turning out and living on acreage. I learn from everyone on this site plus other resources.

      I decided I like the “off the Market Economy” lifestyle and feel like I am simplifying by taking on more responsibility for my basics. Some thing it is too much work. Not if you count market economy work hours required to pay for a 20 minute timesaver.

      • OhioPrepper says:

        Chuck & Rebecca,
        The actual truth is that none of us are totally prepared for a real deep crash; but, many of us are more prepared than most, so it will hopefully be only uncomfortable instead of fatal.
        I personally like flipping on a light, watching TV, or having the A/C or fan running; but, I’ve roughed it many times camping, and think I have the tools and the skills needed to get through nearly anything I can think of. Then again, if I missed something, we’ll have to improvise and probably whine a bit..

        • Ohio Prepper,
          I would so miss hot and cold running water.

          • OhioPrepper says:

            So would I; but, as long as you have water and a way to heat it, it wouldn’t be that bad. We would have to substitute baths for showers; but; I’ve been there before and a hot bath even heating and hauling the water would be better than grimey, sticky and stinky.

            • Chuck Findlay says:

              A solar shower would be pretty easy to make and it would use less water then a tub full of water.

              • Chuck
                I have a solar shower and used it many times. I just love endless running water from the tap. The best of modern luxuries. I would miss that.

              • OhioPrepper says:

                I agree; but, a tub was easier to explain than a solar shower if anyone asked for details, and is a lot easier to construct for those who aren’t as handy as some of us.

            • OP
              I could stay clean, and did for several years in Mexico. Just not as wonderful as our hot and cold running water.
              Nothing else about primitive living made me miss home. The kids missed US milk and we had to stop the first place across the border for milk.

          • Curley Bull says:

            A few years back the question was asked; “what three things would you miss most?” One lady answered coffee, TP, and clean shaven men. I agreed with the first two but chose steaming hot showers for number three. I think now it would be the means to stay cool in hot weather. A good root/storm cellar would work . . .

            • Chuck Findlay says:

              On the cold and hot running water I think I have it handled. I have a camping demand propane hot water tank, I have LOTS of plumbing parts to build a water system. I have 2 solar pool heaters (got them for $5.00 each at a garage sale) that would be over kill for making hot water as they are large. I have solar panels and 4 new 12-volt demand water pumps (the kind used id travel trailers) Spare faucets (kitchen, bathroom faucets) to make anything I need. I have some rain collection stuff in place, only 2 55-gal barrels. But I could scale it up pretty easy. So I’m sure I can make a gravity-feed system without much problem.

              • Chuck
                you already over my head. I know I will be living primitive because of it. I will have good food and such, and I can eat in the woods. Mechanical… not.

  12. Like others, I wish there was no need, to prepare. Sometimes I almost get positive enough to forget the whole deal. But, late at night, or on some strange days, when I see things that puzzle and trouble me. My gut speaks at length to me. It is coming, how bad or how long, no one can tell. I too am glad, that I seem to be past panic buying, or the icy grip of fear, of the unknown. So, if for no other reason, prepping has caused me to overcome these issues. I have friends who also are true believers, in being prepared. I have friends and family, neighbors also, who are not concerned at all. To them, I say nothing, what is there to say. My own security must come first, with my family’s well being a priority. My attitude on what is coming has changed though, I must say. I think it will more in the line of treachory, in social circles. And people who are connected, will be using legal forms of theft, to acquire the goods of others, who have prepared. Now is the time to start your security, and your low key life. It will be to late, when the SHTF.
    Stay faithful, rokflyer

  13. actually homer was a prepper in one episode, he had a sot of breakdown after one of the many mass panics in town then one of the militant springfield preppers started talking to him in Moes tavern and convinced him to get into prepping, he built a secret room in the basement (perfect except he never put a doorknob on the inside and got stuck in it), then he put everything the family owned in there. the springfield preppers had a retreat compound and after homer caused an EMP at the nuclear plant (because he was not paying attention while reading a book on prepping), the preppers fled to the compound and immediately started plotting against one another (they really only invited homer so they could use his fat for candles if needed). homer then decided to take all the prepper supplies back to town and help everyone, he sabotaged the icecream cooler as a distraction and the family ran off with the supplies and the preppers chased them all the way back to town as a lynch mob. upon reaching town they found everything was back to normal, lenny told them that things got back in order in a day or 2 since all the crazy people ran off in the first 5 minutes (the prepper group), the preppers and homer all have a good laugh and each one admits that they were each plotting against the rest of the group to either steal the supplies or kill each other off (for the supplies and the fortified compound) they all stand laughing about not really needing to prep for anything and the just before the credits a meteor with an army of zombies riding on it is seen falling from the sky headed towards the town.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      He never put a doorknob on the inside and got stuck in it

      \Not related, but at the same time it is. Several years ago my mom got stuck in the bathroom because the door handle fell off and all she had on the inside was a glass handle. The other handle and knob fell out in the hall way.

      After that I went over and epoxied one side of the handle and screwed the rod in, tightened up the screw and then made sure the epoxied side was on the inside of every knob in the house. If there was ever a fire and this happened, you could end up dead.

      It was an easy fix, it took a few hours to take apart, glue and then put them back in. But it’s not hard to do and could save your life.

      PS” I only epoxied one side of the knob so it could be removed if needed later.

      Even modern knobs can fall out but not as easily as the old ones.

      My parents house (and knobs) are from the 1930’s and have old style knobs and locks that are not easily updated to new style without replacing the doors. And new doors are all JUNK compared to the all wood (real wood, not cardboard and sawdust with paper thin veneer of wood like new ones) old doors in homes of the past.

      • OhioPrepper says:

        We have a similar problem with our current bathroom, in that we can’t find appropriate fitting hardware and I’m not currently interested in drilling and fitting a whole new knob assembly. So, we simply used a combination of duct and packing tape to hold the latch mechanism out of the way and with enough thickness to allow the door to stay shut with friction when we pull on it. I’ll eventually get around to putting on a new knob assembly including the strike plate on the frame; but, for now this works and the DW doesn’t seem too concerned.
        As Red Green often pointed out, Duct tape and WD40 can fix a lot of issues, at least in the short term.

  14. OhioPrepper says:

    My self reliance and prepping adventure / lifestyle started when I was a kid, perhaps 7 or 8 years old. My parents always had a big garden and we had grape vines and cherry trees on our large edge of the city property. We had a pantry full of store bought and home canned fruits and vegetables, bought our baked goods from the outlet and stored them in the freezer along with beef (purchase by the quarter) and pork (by the half). Two blocks from our house was a large wooded hillside (several hundred acres) where I spent lots of time.
    I do however distinctly remember the moment I knew I was a survivalist or whatever we were called back in the 1950’s.
    At about age 8, I was reading a magazine subscribed to by my father called TRUE The Mans Magazine; but unlike so called men’s or adult reading of today, this was a blend of something like Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, and Field and Stream.
    The article I remember was a listing of the contents and uses of the equipment in the survival kit carried by the pilot of the IIRC F86 Sabre jet. I put that kit together and carried it on all of my further ventures into my “woods” on the adjacent hillside, substituting my air rifle and a green squirt gun for the firearms in the article. 6 years later at age 14 I did my first long weekend survival campout, where I learned to eat things most would not have tried, along with numerous ways to start a fire and build afield expedient improvised shelter from natural materials. The knowledge that I could survive when others may not and do things that many others could not, was empowering, and is the kind of thing that makes a kid have real confidence and self esteem. On top of that, my parents could seemingly do anything, from pouring concrete to plumbing, wiring, cooking, etc, so I basically didn’t know that I was supposed to be limited in what I could or should do.
    Looking back I don’t know if that article opened the mind of a young self reliant person or was just enjoyable because I already had the mindset; but, in any case, it’s been a part of my personality as long as I can remember.
    My prepping journey has been long and often interrupted by other life issues or finances, and we still have many preps to add or finish up on this homestead, where we’ve lived for 32 years of our 34 year marriage. A few times things were delayed while I convinced the DW it was something we needed. For instance, getting bees sited on the property less than 150 yards from the house took a bit of doing.
    At 65 my health could be better; but, I don’t know any other way to think or live.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      OP it would be interesting to know what that article said to have in a kit from that era compared to a kit today.

      • OhioPrepper says:

        Although it’s been a long time (more than 50 years) as I recall, the contents aren’t much different than what someone would carry today; although the items would have been noticeably upgraded due to technology.
        Back then we had shelter materials made from canvass, food was not freeze dried, communications gear was heavier, bulkier, and not as efficient with the included batteries.
        Although I’ve never been in the military and taken SERE or similar training, I have friends who have and I’ve been involved in wilderness survival and communication for most of my life and just the kit carried by a civilian spending our own money has improved in materials and reliability as well as cost.
        As a teenager I’d have almost killed for some of the nylon and Mylar things we regularly use in our kit today.

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