Many of us in Nashville are getting a good laugh at the news that a survivalist company, called (hilariously) “4Patriots,” is opening its doors in the upscale, hipster neighborhood known as 12South. We’re all having a good time imagining shelves stocked with artisanal MRE’s, Chanel chemical toilets, or Gucci and Louis Vuitton gas masks such as those picture above (real, but created as an art project).
But we keed, we keed. This shop is the real deal, despite its location near hipster watering holes like Urban Grub, artisanal ice cream shop Jeni’s, and Reese Witherspoon’s new preppy clothing shop, Draper James. It’s a weird choice of locations, I must say. I can’t imagine following my stop at the Cupcake ATM and the hip homewares shop owned by Hank Williams Jr.’s ex-fashion model daughter to a place selling “survival food rated to last 25 years” (and it’s Glenn Beck certified, so you know it’s good!)
Maybe I shouldn’t worry. After all, it’s “by patriots, FOR patriots,” which means it’s definitely not for candy-assed liberal capitulators such as myself. (I love the testimonial from “Mark,” who says he now feels more able to feed his family in a time of crisis, and only wishes he could afford more of them. Ummm ….. )
I don’t get any of this, I never have. Certainly not in a city like Nashville. I sorta get it for people who live out in the sticks, where one ice storm or tornado can cut you off from the real world for a few days. I do not get the “patriots hiding in a bunker” BS. What kind of paranoia makes someone think they need to set by a 25-year supply of dehydrated soup? I guess the kind of paranoia the guy hawking the desiccated foodstuffs in the first place is selling, with ludricous claims about FEMA trying to buy out his supplier because,
I think that the government knows something we don’t and is worried that they see a full-scale disaster about to hit. And I think I found the factors that will trigger it.
Okay, whatevs, dude.
When I was growing up in the ’70s I remember my mom setting aside a couple of 50-gallon bottles of water in our garage, the kind that go in an office water cooler. And then she started saving cans of tuna fish. Whenever we asked her what this was for she’d answer, “for the revolution.” Interestingly, I’ve talked to several friends my age, and they all say their parents did the same thing around that time. Maybe it was the Arab Oil Embargo and the campus anti-war protests. Somehow, our parents’ generation seemed convinced the end was near.
And I do sort of get it for that generation. Mom was born in 1930. She was a Depression baby in every regard. Her teenage years were colored by World War II and all of the rationing that came with it. These were people raised on hardship and bread lines. So sure, I can see lines at the gas station and Kent State sending the message that maybe it’s time to stock up.
But now? Why now? What makes people think that now is the time to prepare for the apocalypse? Is it our pop culture? “The Walking Dead” and 9/11 and all that? Is it the paranoia of right-wing talk radio?
Let me give you “4Patriots” people some advice. Forty years after my mom set cans of tuna fish on a dusty shelf in our garage, my sister and I were throwing all of that crap away as we readied the family home for sale. We never used it. The tuna fish outlived both my parents. The revolution never happened and the apocalypse didn’t come. Hell, we lived in Southern California — we didn’t even need to crack a water bottle because of a goddamned earthquake! I suspect in 30 years your own kids will be tossing this stuff in a dumpster too, shaking their heads at the folly of mom and dad.