If the apocalypse was coming, and you knew it, who would you save? That’s not an easy question and it plays your emotions off against your critical thinking almost immediately. When it comes to my family I know I’d save the eldest of my younger brothers; he is a useful, athletic and agile mind of great worth in any new society—even if he can be a prick. I also know I’d save my stepdad because he is an amazing diplomat and phenomenal thinker. My mum is not so useful, but I’d save her anyway—perhaps just to appease my stepdad (?). I’d save all my siblings for the same reason, I just want to. Humanity’s survival is not as important as me not feeling guilty. What do you mean ‘selfish’?
But then you get to the interesting family members. My dad is the complete opposite of a diplomat: he sets people up against each other; he demands being in control, even of situations he doesn’t understand; he aggravates people. He would hinder the likely success of the survivors, but he’s my dad. The truth is that I should leave him as 14 stone of lean 50-year-old mutton for the zombies, but I wouldn’t. What about my grandma? She would be a leech on the resources. I still want to save my grandma.
Before I consider the broader range of people who might be beneficial in a post-apocalyptic world, I want to consider my friends. I would have to save Robin J White; this whole apocalypse thing is his fault (blame him! I saved who I could). But after him, breasts become very important. Should I save that slightly gay friend I had at college, or the easy girl with low self-esteem and giant knockers? I am friends with the gay guy, but my survival instincts (read: penis) tell me I should save the boobs. And it goes on like this: my close friend who now lives in Winchester or the pseudo-friend with an insatiable sex drive? The friend so close I’ve basically adopted him as a brother or the girl with the ass more perfect than the girl with the perfect ass? (Not the easiest nickname, admittedly.)
What about my ex-girlfriend*? My survival instinct (*ahem*) says very much that I should save her. I want her (again, what do you mean ‘selfish’?) I can even reason it by telling myself she will be the keeper of recipes I don’t want to live without (like tikka! Yes, Robin, I want to save tikka. There’s a chili con carne recipe in this for us too). I would entrust her with her two greatest passions: teaching and writing; she would be in charge of the Bible (a new Bible, without anything supernatural in it**). If I save her I’m also going to have to save her niece, and before you know it she’ll have a class to teach.
*I have no idea if she’s unsubscribed, but if not this post might annoy her a little. Haha.
And teachers bring us on to the broader set of people to save. We’ll need Bear Grylls, not Lawrence Krauss; Andy McNab, not Sam Harris; Ray Mears, not Francis Collins. We also need someone who can brew Guinness. So there are four people to save. They (and people like them) will have to run seminars and expeditions while we pick up the skills. My ex would have to write and draw these skills into the new Bible (if I save her. I think it might be awkward, especially if I have to save her brother as well—which I think guilt will make me do. Although, he is a good addition to the McNab-group of people). I would have to lament not saving Sam Harris, because he’d be awesome to talk to. In fact, my entire interest list would suddenly become something that is 1000 years before its time and would have to wait until society and technology rebuilt itself before it had any place to exist. Quantum mechanics aren’t useful anymore. I may see if I can get a few pages in the new Bible to write some basic ideas to lead the future…
I will not save Gillian McKeith.
Now we need a few midwives and nurses. It sounds like I’m back in the breasts (and I am), but people who know how to deliver and care for babies at the perinatal stage will be crucial. And so will people with a basic understand of pain management and herbal antibiotics; everyone’s closest friend, Google, will be dead post-apocalypse.
And that is my rag-a-tag group of people to wonder off into the wilderness with. I’m going to need a few geeky-looking men so that I don’t look too pathetic next to Bear Grylls. And maybe my dad’s axe.