On the Importance of Taxidermy

Jun 22 2011

“I plan on recruiting a commune,” my husband said reassuringly.

Oddly, I didn’t feel reassured.

Blogging has provided an unanticipated opportunity to get to know the inner workings of my husband’s mind.  Now, I’ll be honest; Greg’s mind terrifies me.  So much so that I don’t often go there.

I prefer to stay in the vicinity of Greg’s heart.  It’s warm and welcoming, and it doesn’t scare me.  I know exactly where his heart is; Greg’s priorities are solidly with me, our kids, our family, and our community.  He’s a man of faith and conviction.  He has unshakeable beliefs and morals (which are often irritating, since I wander around wondering, doubting, changing my convictions and generally blathering, but that’s neither here nor there.)  Greg’s heart is a safe place.

I also enjoy Greg’s hands.  Quite a bit.  They’re big and muscular, dry and rough in all the right places, and they do the most amazing…

Alright.  I’ll stop.  I’m just stalling anyway.  Because I’m headed into scary territory.  Greg’s mind.

Let’s dive into the terror together.

After you.

No, no; really.  You go first.  I’m right behind you.  I swear.

FINE.  I’ll go first.  But you should know that you’re a chicken.

First of all, Greg is so much smarter than I am, academically speaking, that if you compare the two of us to water, he is the ocean and I’m a tiny drop of water in the desert that quickly evaporates when exposed to heat.  I’m not maligning myself by telling you that this is so.  It is simply fact.  Then again, I’ve saved Greg’s life thousands of times while crossing the street because looking both ways with all of that academic prowess is apparently very, very hard.  So there’s a give and take here, folks.

Second of all, Greg’s manly hunter / protector sense has apparently meshed inextricably with all of his science fiction and apocalyptic urban fantasy reading.  I didn’t know about this until I blogged about Aunt Lillian’s dandelion pancakes.  There, I wrote:

I’m a mother, and, therefore, a protective freakazoid who thinks up apocalyptic scenarios in my spare time.  I often wonder what I’ll do when modern society collapses, and I’m forced to burn my dog’s dried poo for warmth (should’ve bought a bigger dog) and contemplate how much meat is on his bones (aaannnd again with the bigger dog… poor end-days planning on my part, I tell you.)

It’s not just me who’s a freakazoid, though.  Greg invents improbable scenarios, too.  For example, feel free to ask him all about exactly what he’ll do when terrorists take over his office building.  FYI, his office is in a two-story strip mall above a grocery store.  So it’s super, duper, extra likely that a terrorist will take over his office someday.  That’s why Greg has an executable plan that includes hiding in the ceiling and some form of jumping into a dumpster.

I mock now, but when the apocalypse happens, I’m going to have to apologize to Greg so he’ll share all the survival knowledge he gained from reading Robinson Crusoe and Mysterious Island.  That apology is going to suck for me.

Well, here’s the thing.  That little bit about the apocalypse and survival opened up a whole new part of Greg’s mind that I got to explore while alternately shivering in horror and giggling like a loon.

Greg has a half-hour commute to and from work every day.  He uses it to plan for the protection and survival of our family in case of a total and complete breakdown of society.

Greg let me know that he’s mentally writing his “alternative universe apocalyptic autobiography,” which is a relief.  Because, when this whole apocalypse thing is over, we’ll have a sure source of reliable funds in his best seller.

Now, you probably think that the apocalypse just involves general anarchy, disease, war, and a lack of every modern comfort, including, oh, food, clothes, shelter and water.  That’s where your apocalyptic planning falls short, my friend.  Because Greg’s got us covered for all of those scenarios, and he has back-up plans in case our physical universe is altered.

Did you ever think about what you’d do when physics no longer adhere to scientific laws?  Well, did you?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  You have got to think, people.  Physics anarchy could happen to you. Among other heinous things I can’t remember about physics, engines won’t start.  Which means your big plans for driving all those abandoned cars across the country to find pockets of surviving humans are right out.  You’re gonna need horses.  Lots and lots of horses.  And you’re gonna have to feed those horses.  And you’re going to have to feed all the people you collect.  Because you’re gonna be collecting people.  That’s inevitable.  People collection… and the right kind of people collection… is essential.

Greg has thought of all of these things.  I haven’t gone as far or deep as I should to find out how we’re going to execute all of his plans, so I’m going to have a lot of catch-up to do after the apocalypse starts.  But at least I know what to do first.

While Greg is on his way home from work (FYI, the apocalypse will start while Greg is at work for sure — this is kind of the lynch-pin in all of his planning), he’ll have a lot of stops to make.  Among the stops: 1) the big, huge, giant knives manufacturer for dozens of machetes, and 2) kidnapping the taxidermist (I’ll explain later, but you’re going to be embarrassed you didn’t figure it out for yourself).  Of course, in the event of the Physics Collapse, he won’t be in his car, so he’ll have to hijack a horse or four along the way, and, well, those things could take time.

My assignment, obviously (really, it’s obvious; I know ’cause Greg said so), is to head to the all-purpose store in our area.  The one that sells everything from food to hunting knives.  I’ve been instructed to bring our Burley… the attachment that goes on the back of my bike for hauling children.  It looks like this:

Of course, first I’ll have to find our tire pump.  And then probably the tire repair kit.  Which I bet we don’t own.  But right after I make sure the tires work, I’ll be set.

I’ll head to the store to buy bows and arrows, hunting knives, and all the wheat products we can carry.  I don’t know what we’re going to do with my mother, who’s on a gluten-free diet, but I was specifically told “wheat products,” so that’s what I’m buying.  I’ll have only about an hour to do this before the general populace figures out that money is worthless, so it’s going to be a time-sensitive operation.  Maybe I should look for that tire pump now.

As a side note, I’ll tell you I was very excited to see that bows and arrows are on the list.  One time, about 18 years ago when I was a camp counselor, I learned how to shoot a bow and arrow so I could teach the campers.  I even regularly hit the 4-foot-diameter stationary target from about 20 feet away.  So I’m completely qualified to shoot rabbits and quail running through the brush.  It’s a transferable skill that will take almost no training.  That’s going to work out well.

My next stop with the Burley (after dropping everything off at home to free up burley space), will be the library.  I’m instructed to snap up all the books the Burley can carry on basic farming, how to make soap, tallow, etc.  “Pretty sure we need a pig for tallow,” I said.  “And we have NO IDEA what to do with pigs or how to milk them for tallow.”

Greg had already thought of that.  “I plan on recruiting a commune,” my husband said reassuringly.  Oddly, I didn’t feel reassured.

Nevertheless, such is my faith in my husband, that I figured I’d get a leg up on the apocalyptic commune recruitment.  Remember how important people-collection is?  Yes.  Me, too.

Commune openings include:

  • Pig farmers – I actually know some of these… Sarah and Bubba, you in?  It’s B.Y.O.Pigs, but we’ll all help raise ’em and husband ’em (is that weird?); but, well, if Bubba can still do the slaughtering, that would be awesome.
  • Fence builders – ’cause no commune is complete without a huge fence.  Priority will be given to people with large stores of barbed wire.
  • Chickens
  • Aunt Lillian
  • Taxidermist – No, not because we’re stuffing pigs.  Because of his hide-tanning skills.  That’s crucial.  Doy!  Fortunately, Greg’s got a handle on this one.  “There’s a shop on my way home from work that says ‘taxidermy and tanning.'”  Still up for debate is how to convince the taxidermist that a) there’s an apocalypse happening, and b) he should go with Greg on his horse.

We’ll be taking applications until the apocalypse begins.