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Television’s top 5 apocalypse survival lessons

Spoiler alert: one of these five did not make it through the season. When it all goes down, will you survive the end of civilization?

The recent rash of apocalypse-themed television isn’t just fun viewing. It’s an opportunity for a life lesson. Seeing as the apocalypse is clearly more of a “when” than an “if” question, we do well to consider our options now. Fortunately, we have already seen several scenarios played out on the small screen, giving us key insight into end-of-the-world life skills. Below is my top five list.

5 – Personal development is key.

Not every apocalypse story is about survival. Some of them are about everyone getting killed in horrible ways by horrible things. Both types of story have their merits, but we are talking about lessons for surviving the apocalypse. And if we’re looking at apocalyptic survival narratives, one trope seems universal. At some point, something happens, the reality of the situation sets in, and we see a character broken down and rebuilt for the post-human world. Some go nice, others turn nasty. Either way, if you’re going to survive, you’re going to have to actualize the hell out of this thing.

Personal development is key for surviving any apocalypse, be it zombie, alien, or other. Unfortunately, such a world promises to be thin on life coaches and I’m pretty sure that self-help books don’t really cover this type of thing. Sorry, but this one’s on you. Expect some deep visualization exercises and major re-framing of your life goals. For example, rather than saving for a trip to Europe, try not getting eaten.

4 – Everybody misses the little things.

Watching The Walking Dead, Falling Skies, or Revolution, I have to think that a guy could make a good living at the end of the world if he just had the foresight to horde all the whiskey and toilet paper before everything went down. I mean sure, you need to protect yourself. And yes, you still need food and water and shelter and medicine. But how much do you think someone would pay for a roll of toilet paper after six months without plumbing? I’m just saying, there’s a market waiting to be cornered.

For that matter, when you’re watching an apocalypse show, you seem to catch everyone having a drink from time to time. That’s how you know that someone is a main character: they have a flask of whiskey they can whip out whenever they need to look brooding. But do you ever see where they get the whiskey? Ever see someone fill the flask? That’s what I’m saying. Whiskey, toilet paper, even batteries. Why does nobody talk about hunting down some batteries? Pop a few into an LED flashlight and your life just got a lot easier for the next month.

3 – Rednecks are super useful during an apocalypse.

Take this advice: practice being nice to rednecks because you’re going to need at least one on your team when civilization crumbles. Why? They can fish and hunt and trap, they have a natural deference to authority, and they don’t whine about getting dirty or doing what needs to be done. Any decent one knows how to use a gun. In short, your standard off-the-rack redneck is apocalypse-ready.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that all rednecks are crossbow-toting survivalists. Sure, not everybody from the back country knows a recipe for chicken-fried squirrel. Obviously, you can’t just grab any old hick and call yourself ready. But if you do find yourself a Darryl, your chances just got a whole lot better.

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