Monday, September 29, 2008

How To Survive In America's New Hoovervilles


Hopefully this piece will not offend anyone's sensibilities, because the last thing I'd want to happen is to hurt one faction's feelings, and have no one heed the advice contained herein. Advice designed to help you through this crisis that's about to come crashing down around all of our heads.

There are several steps you and your family should be taking right this minute, (not tomorrow, not the next day, but today), to safeguard your very survival should the unthinkable happen and the markets collapse.

Before you listen to the naysayers who are running around claiming that the markets will correct themselves and no action by the Congress is necessary, bear in mind that as the credit for companies to keep goods and services moving dries up, the sky really is about to fall. Not only that, but for the better part of this past year, while many of us were screaming from the rafters that this very crisis was going to happen at this time this year, those very same naysayers called us tin foil hatters. So keep that in mind as you watch a brief respite from falling stocks today, because in the end, this orchestrated collapse of our economy is going to happen come hell or high water if we don't pay the ransom being demanded by the criminals on the Street.

Since the very first order of business is going to be food and shelter, we should first look to the professionals as to how to make your very own shanty shack. Ideally, you'll have been smart enough to gather camping gear, and if you did, you don't need to read any further. This is for those who find themselves suddenly homeless, and that's why we'll look at how the already homeless build their shacks and how they survive on a day to day basis.

Considering that there is safety in numbers, it's not advisable to go off into the woods or the desert by yourself. Should misfortune befall you, you'll be on your own, and that's never a good idea. So, the best idea would be to choose a site such as the lawns of state capitol buildings, the park across the street from the White House, or some other such publicly owned building.

When you first understand that you're going to have to take to the streets with your family, gathering essential items is your first order of business. Assuming you're going to be on foot due to the high price of gasoline, duffel bags and backpacks are the order of the day. A couple of tools you won't be able to do without are:

a small hand axe

a small hammer

a utility knife

a hunting knife

a handgun (just in case)

a high grade flashlight with extra batteries

a portable radio

one set of eating utensils for each family member

plastic or aluminum plates, bowls, and cups

sewing thread and needles

nylon rope

a hand shovel

lighters and matches

soap

a small first aid kit

deck of cards

pen and paper

And of course, you'll need blankets, coats, a change of clothes, and as much canned food as you can carry, as well as a can opener, a small frying pan, and a small pot.

Your shelter: If you can not gain access to large sheets of corrugated metal, don't fret, because you can still build a simple but effective little home. First, locate a tree or large rock and tether one end of a blanket to it by piling other rocks or tree limbs to that end. Or use a length of your rope. Stretch the blanket out carefully and anchor the other end to the ground, making sure that it slants upwards to allow rain to roll off of it. Next, take your shovel and dig a hole large enough under the blanket for you to rest comfortably in. Stretch another end of your blanket to where the mound of dirt you dug out is and tether that end under the mound with rocks and dirt. Finally, stretch the blanket over the other side and tether it the same way. You can now slide under the blanket and have some shelter from the elements. This foxhole shelter will suffice until you gather the wood and metal sidings you'll need later on to build your new home.

Food: Making sure to dig a fire pit and surrounding it with rocks, you can easily gather some wood and start a fire. Use kindling to get the fire going, then build it up slowly. Now, you can heat some of that canned food you were smart enough to take with you. Got Spam?

Bathrooms: If you're lucky enough to have chosen a park that has a public restroom, you're in better shape than most. You have toilets, a sink to wash yourself, your clothes, and your eating utensils. If not, then you're going to have to use the behind a tree method for toileting, and drag potable water around. That being such a pain in the ass, I recommend finding a park with a bathroom.

Socializing: It's only natural to be wary of your new neighbors and to try to keep to yourself at first. That's not going to happen, because as soon as you set up camp, the community is going to come over to check you out. They're going to want to see if you're an easy mark, and if you have things they might want to steal. At this point, it's ok, to let the handgun poke out from your waistband. Everyone will get the message and become immediately helpful and friendly. Now, you've got brand new friends and your nights won't be too boring because you can play poker or rummy. (Someone may have been ingenious enough to garner a bottle of moonshine!)

Panhandling: Hey, you've got to eat right? This is no time to be proud or shy. It doesn't matter that you used to be a Wall Street banker, that life is over now and you need money to buy food and beer. The first thing to do is to find a street corner that doesn't have a lot of army troops or regular police hanging around. Find a large piece of paper or cardboard and make a sign asking for help. Don't mention to anyone that stops that you used to work on Wall Street or you're dead meat. Say you were an auto worker or something if asked. To maximize profits, any time someone gives you any bills, put them in your pocket. This way, as people pass by, all they'll see is the change and be more willing to give you something. If they offer to buy you food, accept it, save it for later, and get back to work. If done correctly, you should be able to make enough for food and drink, and believe me, by now, you're going to be drinking.

Dealing with authorities: Say you're just walking along and you're stopped by some gung ho army guy or police officer. They ask you where you live because you look a little ragged. Give them your old address and say the water has been turned off or something along those lines. Do not look directly at them or you'll get tased. Do not smart talk them or you'll get tased. Do not disagree with them when they call you names or you'll get tased. And whatever you do, don't try to run, because not only will you get tased, but then you're getting some broken bones for sure.

As you settle into your new life, you'll begin to gain knowledge of how to survive on the streets and in the New Hoovervilles the Republican Party has so generously helped to provide for us. You'll learn the ins and outs of dumpster diving, and which restaurants pour lye on the food they throw away and which ones are sympathetic and leave good stuff. You'll learn how to shift from foot to foot as you wait in a four block long food bank or soup kitchen line. You'll learn how to forage for wood, metal sheets and nails to build a more permanent house in the shanty town. You'll learn what despair and hopelessness means, but try not to get too discouraged. Because if all else fails, you can shoot one of those big fat squirrels running around in the park. They say they make good eating.

There's many other things you need to know, but these basics should help you get started. Don't be afraid to ask questions of those who have been homeless for years, because they'll try to help you get situated. They too were like you when they became the first victims of capitalism run amok, and so, they know what you're going through. Hopefully this mini guide has helped prepare you for what's coming. If you haven't already begun to put together your survival kit, then do so now. Because if you think this entire article was just silliness, then go to the White House web site and read Presidential Directive NSPD-51 and HSPD-20. No one knows where this thing is headed, but if the actions of our government and Wall Street are any indication, we'll see each other in some park very soon indeed..........





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