The 13th Floor

Here’s How to Survive The Apocalypse

When I was a kid, I hated bedtime. Like most annoying children, I was positive that all the cool stuff happened when I was sleeping, and I didn’t want to miss out. As I’ve gotten older, as my hair has thinned out and gotten a whole lot grayer, I’ve learned to love bedtime, but now I hate death. I have this constant thought that five minutes after I die, all the cool stuff will happen. Personal jet packs. Civilizations on other planets. A cure for whatever killed me. My goal, for a long time, was to only die when the rest of the human race dies. I want to go out in the apocalypse.

These days, with Climate Change, growing tensions all over the world, and the United State’s first baby POTUS coming into power, there’s a real sense that maybe we are at the brink of the apocalypse and suddenly, I’m looking to survive it.

So here I am, sitting in my bunker two hundred feet underground, eating cold beans and drinking my own urine that has been turned back into water by using that thing Kevin Costner used in WATERWORLD, and I’m plotting what I’ll do to survive the apocalypse. Because I’m such a swell fella, such a good egg, such a mensch, I’ve decided to share with you what I’ve learned, and lucky for you, I learned it all from movies!

Learn Sign Language

We finally really did it. We maniacs! We blew it up! Ah, damn us! God damn us all to hell!

And the worst part is, those of us left have lost the ability to speak. Well, most of us. Some of us may be living underground worshiping the biggest nuke in the world. The point is, we can’t communicate anymore unless we all take the time to learn one of the oldest language in human history, sign language.

The apes who take over the world won’t be able to control us so easy when we can work together and actually discuss tactics. You can also use it to say mean things to the apes who will undoubtedly want to use us for science experiments.

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Films to Study:
CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD
THE MIRACLE WORKER
THE TRIBE
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
HUSH
ORPHAN

Take Swimming Lessons

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WATERWORLD (1995) Universal Pictures

The ice caps are melting, and a whole lot of this here planet, like Tangier Island,  is going to find itself underwater sooner or later. We’ll be spending a lot more time in the ocean, and doggy paddle just ain’t gonna cut it, so get your butt to the YMCA and take some serious swimming lessons.

You’ll also want to learn how to hold your breath for longer periods of time. I can go about three minutes at the moment, but I’m hoping to get to five minutes before the next major glacier break. The end goal, of course, is to learn to live without oxygen, but I’m pretty sure someone else will need to figure that one out; I’m no science man.

Films to Study:
SWIMFAN
WATERWORLD
JAWS
THE SWIMMER
THE GUARDIAN

Pick Up Some Tools

Bad news, team. With the end of the world happening and all, Maaco is sadly closed for business. Sooner or later, your car is bound to break down, and you’re going to have to know how to fix it yourself. Sure, you’ve changed a broken taillight or popped on the spare tire before, but can you do it without YouTube? If not, you better learn real fast.

You should also consider getting yourself a hybrid. Gas is gonna be a hot commodity, and there won’t be much of it. A car that can go hundreds of miles on a single tank will be a great car to have.

Learning to fix things isn’t the only reason to have a sweet tool set. You’re going to want to build some stuff too. A bunker like mine takes a lot of work, but if you are someone who wants to keep on the move, traveling in the winter will be a real headache, so you’re going to want to find yourself a sturdy base. Knowing how to build up the defenses of a home will be a handy skill to have.

Films to Study:
TAKE SHELTER
WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005)
THE ROAD
10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE
BREAKDOWN

Learn To Shoot

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THE HUNGER GAMES (2012) Lionsgate Entertainment

I’m one of those pinko liberals who hates guns, so you know I’m serious about surviving if I’m heading down to the local shooting range a few times a week. As much as I would like to see the world head in a direction more like STAR TREK, I’m pretty positive we more likely to end up like ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK.

It isn’t just jerk humans you’ll need to worry about. The supermarkets are gone. So are all the fast food joints. Applebee’s is a distant memory. The only way you’re going to get meat is if you can kill it yourself. There’s no BBQ without you getting the skill to kill some deer or whatever animals are still out there.

And you can’t go around wasting ammo, either. Sooner or later, we’re going to run out of bullets, and that’s when bows will come back in fashion.

Making arrows is a hell of a lot easier than making bullets and gunpowder, not that I have a clue on how to make either of them, but I figure whittling is easier than science. The point is, you’re gonna need to get your arms ready for this stuff. Pulling a bow is, from what I’ve seen, really hard. Like, a lot harder than it looks. And shooting straight? Keeping the bow still? That takes a lot of work.

And your eyes! What good is being able to shoot if you can’t see well?! If, like me, your weak genes gave you garbage eyes, you better start hoarding eyeglasses and contact lenses in your bunker.

Films to Study:
THE HUNGER GAMES
SHOOTER
ZOMBIELAND
WANTED
SHAUN OF THE DEAD

Use All of It

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THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974) Dark Sky Films

There’s more than meat on that deer you killed. You need to learn how to tan the hide and get yourself some warm blankets to help get you through the nuclear winter. Bones can be sharpened and made into weapons or other tools. Extra meat can be used to barter with other survivors. The guts can… I don’t know, maybe they can be used for a stew? I guess the stomach lining could be turned into a fashionable but prudent bag? Maybe you could make a nice intestine necklace for yourself or someone you love?

Films to Study:
STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
THE WITCH

Find Your Max. Find Your Furiosa

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MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015) Warner Brothers

Let’s be honest, most of us are doughy doofuses who sit at computers all day. The chair at our desks have permanent imprints of our lazy asses, and more than likely a thin coating of Cheetos dust and cookie crumbs.

It isn’t your fault, not entirely. Chances are you’re working fifty or more hours a week just to survive. Or maybe you’re having it worse and you’re working multiple jobs that have you on your feet all day dealing with dipshit customers who get pissed at you when their credit card is declined. Maybe you’re slaving away over a deep fryer just so you can get your ungrateful spawn an education. Maybe when you’re not on your feet, you’re driving drunk assholes home from the bars at three AM, knowing you need to get back to your other job in six hours.

The point is, maybe you don’t have time to learn how to shoot. Maybe you can’t make time to learn sign language. Maybe going to the gun range just isn’t feasible. Maybe cutting up an animal makes you all pukey. Whatever the reason, you’re going to need someone who knows how to live in the wasteland.

Someone who is tough as nails and doesn’t take guff from any swine. The dark, brooding type who has a past they want to forget and a future they want to keep away from. Those types are the hero, but the hero always needs a wise-cracking sidekick, and that’s where people like you and me come in.

We can make with the wit while they’re busy wasting sleazoids from Morton Joe’s camp. We carry all the crap they don’t want to be weighed down with, like a post-apocalyptic caddy to their gun toting Jack Nicklaus. We speak to the traders in Bartertown while they make with the squinty eyes so everyone knows just how badass they are.

Films to Study:
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
ARMAGEDDON
NIGHT OF THE COMET
12 MONKEYS
A BOY AND HIS DOG

Have Fun With It

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THIS IS THE END (2013) Columbia Pictures

This may be the most important lesson.

We have to be honest, if you can’t laugh, what’s the point in living? Learn to enjoy the end of the world. Find the funny and you’ll be able to stay sane a whole lot longer. Like the old saying goes, tragedy plus time equals comedy. You’re alive! You made it when so many others gave up the ghost! If that isn’t a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.

With some good friends (hopefully one or more of them is a Max of Furiosa type), some drinks, a guitar, and a bit of safety, you can turn this apocalypse into a funocalypse!

Films to Study:
THIS IS THE END
THE WORLD’S END
HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD

*Header Photo: PLANET OF THE APES (1968) 20th Century Fox

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