First of all, let me apologize for the misleading title. The truth is, my chance of surviving all apocalyptic scenarios are tied at zero. I don’t own a gun, I don’t have any farming or survival skills, and most importantly, I live in the exact center of a large downtown metro filled with about a million other people, all of whom could probably kill me and take my stuff without too much trouble. Somehow, I don’t think my 25 minutes on the elliptical yesterday is going to help me fight off marauders, zombies, the old lady that lives next door, etc. However, some scenarios would absolutely kill me faster than others, so that is the metric I will be using to rank them. Let’s dive in.
Nuclear Winter…Or Any Kind Of Winter
This is what I refer to as the “The Day After Tomorrow” scenario, named after a truly awful movie where the world is immediately plunged into climate catastrophe that blankets the whole earth with a thick sheet of snow and ice. So basically, a normal winter in Chicago that lasts forever. Seems doable, right? No. Not for me. If my options were to die a relatively painless death by freezing or try to eke out survival in a permanently cold tundra, I know my choice. Fuck winter. Fuck never being warm. I give up.
Survival time: Under 5 minutes.
I’m not entirely sure what to call this, but it’s been a repeated trope in tons of post-apocalyptic movies, most notably Mad Max. It’s essentially the opposite of the “Day After Tomorrow” scenario, where instead of snow, the whole planet has dried up and turned into a giant desert. The sun is scorching, food is scarce, and water is scarcer. This is a very real scenario that could occur in our lifetime, and because of that I’m proud to say I would crush it. This is the only apocalypse I truly have a chance with. I thrive in 80+ degree weather, and I regularly go 24 hours without remembering to drink any liquids. While all you hydrated, water-obsessed people perish around me, you’ll catch me relaxing on my front porch with a rocking tan and some sweet sunglasses I stole off a dead person. Not only would I survive, I would thrive.
Survival time: I’d die at 56-years-old to skin cancer, so pretty much as long as I was expecting to live anyway.
Oh hell yeah. This is by far the scenario I have the most experience in. I’ve watched every zombie movie known to man, and even kept up with The Walking Dead for nearly 8 whole seasons. That alone should show my tenacity and refusal to give up. I do have an axe and a baseball bat in my car, along with several gallons of water and all of my camping gear. Basically, if I can get out of Denver, I have a chance. Except I won’t. I’ll die, stuck in traffic, along with every other Denverite who also have a full car of camping gear and the exact same plan as I. We’d all flee for the mountains in our Jeeps and 4Runners, and we’d all die on I-70 in gridlocked traffic. So pretty much a normal attempt to go camping.
Survival time: 11 hours of traffic followed by 9 minutes on foot before I get eaten.
I’m not even going to get into the specific of this scenario because it doesn’t matter. I live in an apartment building with hundreds of other people, I work in an office with hundreds of other people, and I have the immune system of a premature baby. I get, like, nine colds a year. I touch a million doorknobs a day. Not only would I die immediately, I may actually be patient zero in this apocalypse.
Survival time: 5 hours, when my girlfriend finally kills me after my continuous whining and demands that she make me soup.
I’m a pretty strong swimmer, and my apartment is on the 30th floor. I’d probably survive the initial tsunami, and then die shortly after when I run out of “rations,” aka the four cans of beans I have in my cupboard.
Survival time: Three weeks, but I’d die with a rocking bod from all the swimming.
This is any situation where 90% of the people on earth suddenly disappear. Fortunately, there isn’t any disease, or zombies, or major climate event to have to survive. Unfortunately, pretty much all of the technology and mechanisms I use daily would soon be rendered useless. Within a year, I would have to survive without electricity, internet, cell phones, plumbing, heating, and all the other niceties that I’ve grown up with. I would have to hunt/grow my own food, make fires to stay warm, and entertain myself with…books? I guess? I would also have to be prepared to defend myself from any of the other 33 million remaining people scattered across the country.
Luckily, I’m young, in fairly good shape, and without any major illnesses, so I’d have a chance. Unluckily, I have the wilderness survival skills you’d expect from someone who grew up in a major city to parents that don’t like camping. I can make a fire, but that’s pretty much it. However, I could probably raid homes for needed items like canned food, and then when that runs out, find some fishing rods and guns and hunt for my food. There’s a good amount of wildlife in Colorado, and even more bullets, so I think I would be set for pretty much as long as it takes for me to run into other aggressive people, at which point I would be killed and/or taken as a slave. Not ideal.
Survival time: Until I either die of boredom or get killed by marauders.
And there you have it. If society breaks down, so do I. Apparently, writing (my only skill), is not super useful in an post-apocalyptic scenario. Maybe I could endear myself to a group of marauders by writing custom erotic stories for them? I mean, porn would no longer exist, and I am a fantastic sexter. That’s probably my best bet for survival. Let’s go with that.