If you’ve read my book, Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza, you know how much I loved the Sky Mall catalog, with its can’t-live-without merchandise like the fake grass and miniature-plastic fire hydrant indoor dog potty. When I found out it was no longer going to be published, I grieved. I don’t mean, “Oh, that’s too bad.” I mean wracking sobs the likes of which hadn’t been seen since I first saw Rose Tyler get trapped in an alternate universe in Dr. Who. I was sad. I was really really sad.
Until yesterday. Yesterday, the new Costco catalog came in the mail.
I wasn’t really looking at the catalog, just kind of turning the pages to pass the time, waiting for it to get late enough to go to bed without shame. Blahblah, cheap mayonnaise, blahblah, fifty-five gallon drum of green peas, blahblah, pallet of toilet paper, blahblah. Then BLAMMO. The catalog page to end all catalog pages appeared.
It was the survivalist page.
For only $3,399.99 – DELIVERED!! – you could get 33,000 servings of freeze dried and dehydrated food, enough to feed a family of four for a year. You could also get a bucket with 180 servings of mac ‘n’ cheese. My daughter legitimately wants this – she got a dreamy look in her eye. “Is this,” she began reverently, “just a big bucket of the noodles and you scoop out as much as you want and sprinkle the cheese on?”
“I guess so,” I said, and, basing my opinion on the look on her face, made a mental note about what to get her when her birthday rolled around.
You could also get 80 servings of beef stroganoff with tender mushrooms for less than $100. Now, I have been known to actually cook beef stroganoff. I like it. But I’ve never dumped it out of a can, and unless I decide to start running a Victorian orphanage or a field Army base, I can’t imagine why I would want that many giant cans of the stuff. Not even Oliver Twist would ask for more.
Of course, if you were going to eat that much freeze dried and dehydrated food, you’d need something to moisten and re-hydrate. I’d like to report that they sold a urine purification kit on the next page, but I can’t. I’d like to report that somewhere in the catalogue was a still capable of rendering water potable or potato juice into vodka. But there wasn’t that either. Just the food with a shelf life taking my children into middle age.
I’m just not that worried about a situation in which I might find a need for a year’s worth of dehydrated food. Maybe I’m naïve, maybe my head is in the sand, or maybe I’m not paranoid enough. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m perfectly rational. I’ve read Cormack McCarthy’s “The Road,” Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games,” and Veronica Roth’s “Divergent.” I‘ve seen a few episodes of The Walking Dead. I think that makes me an expert on what a post-apocalyptic dystopian life would be. I think my family would be ok. My children both compete on the national level in archery, and my husband is more or less trained as a police sharpshooter. My son is a black belt, and my daughter is working on hers. All of which goes to show nothing at all, beyond that three out of four Duffs can aim and shoot in a purposeful direction, and maybe even take a punch, and probably could probably fend off a hoard of zombies for some time while we trap and eat squirrels and haul silty water out of the creek. We would probably survive the zombie apocalypse for a while if we wanted to.
But truly? If my days consist of eating dehydrated chicken & dumplings and recycled bodily fluids, I’m not sure I want to continue to provide fuel for my body. Of course, I’ve probably got six months of reserves on my bones, so oblivion would be a long time coming. Not only that, but given my family’s inability to drive more than 15 minutes in a car together without someone melting down into tears, I’m pretty sure that if we were stuck in a bunker for more than a week we’d be plotting which one of us would get eaten first.
Oh well. It is time to put my head back in the sand. It is warm and comfortable there, and in that oblivion, all of the food is pre-moistened.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.