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A Post-Apocalyptic Primer, in Honor of the Great American Eclipse

Do you know where your pillows are?



et me get this out of the way up front: I don't think we're gonna die in a hail of nuclear fire from North Korea, and the eclipse is going to be over sooner rather than later.

With that said, I also have some pretty good ideas for my post-apocalyptic future... just in case. I'm not good at hunting, killing things or anything requiring balance, skill or dexterity, so I'm going to become the best post-apocalyptic male companion the world has ever seen. I might be quite large and hirsute, but I have a feeling bears will do OK at the end of the world.

Now you know my secret. Just in case you need your own plans for the world after the rain of fire and destruction, here are a few movies that might give you some ideas on how to deal.

Mad Max: Fury Road: We learned from the original "Mad Max" that it's best not to become too attached to anyone. "Road Warrior" taught us the importance of storing fuel and "Thunderdome" stressed the importance of how annoying children are even when they are starving and feral. Ain't nobody got time for that. "Fury Road" has a much more important message to impart: Always be with someone who is supernaturally good at driving. You're probably going to be chased a lot, so make sure you become a legit incredible driver, but also make sure you travel with one too, so you can get some sleep, or in case someone eats your arms.

The Road: While a very tough movie to watch, it has several teachable moments like: 1) Never trust a cannibal. No matter how close you become, you're still just brunch to them. 2) Maybe join a roving band of marauders. You might have to do some things that are awful and will scar you for life, but it gets lonely out there. 3) Practice archery. While bringing a bow and arrow to a gunfight is not recommended, you can hunt for food without drawing attention, and quote "The Hunger Games" to make your new marauder friends laugh.

Planet of the Apes: I mean, we already know the importance of wearing a loin cloth (freedom of movement, sexual chemistry with monkeys and a cool breeze when you least expect it), but the real lesson here is that just because we were once at the top of the food chain doesn't mean we'll always be there. If you find yourself in a position in which apes, Pomeranians or even irradiated raccoons are in control, instead of focusing on how different everything is... roll with the new paradigm. Find the slave collar that fits your personality and pray for a quick, yet elegiac death.

Escape From New York: The lesson here is obvious: Avoid cities—especially ones that have become penal colonies. Obviously cities are OK if you join a band of marauders, but you're still going to be fighting other madmen for food and sleeping in some very uncomfortable positions. I would try to have a sleeping bag and pillow with you all times. Writing your name on both (as long as language hasn't been lost yet) will let everyone know that "While I am a friendly sort, this is my bedding and I will most certainly eat your leg if you attempt to make off with them." Creating some rules gives everyone a sense of structure that will make the days go quicker as you wait for the radiation sickness to take you. Everyone is a winner!

I hope these lessons were helpful in planning your "hypothetical" future. Goodnight and good luck.

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