The first question regarding lists like these is usually: “Why?” That’s reasonable enough.
Simply put, many of us believe we’re invincible and/or ageless, that we’re immune to life’s inevitable decline. Then, one day, something shifts and we find ourselves fawning over a handgun or paying closer attention to Rogaine ads. That’s when it sinks in—we experience our mortality for the first time.
I’m here to tell you there will be an ending and most likely it won’t come in a pleasant package. Unlike most people, I don’t believe existence is going to “vamp till cue.” I know the end will arrive at my door at 2:00 a.m. like a needy relative looking to “crash on my couch.” One sparkling morning, the planet will awaken to horrific news. The multiple news reports will be dire and offer up a spectacle that’s pure Independence Day, but with nowhere near its budget for proper effects. And sadly, without Vivica Fox.
It Was the Worst of Times and Then It Got Worserer.
You don’t need me to tell you that we live in fearful times. There’s not a day goes by that I’m not huddled in a corner of my basement for a short spell because of something I thought I heard on the news. It’s more than this writer can take, and the crap, in fact, has been scared out of me. Between the giant asteroid, killer flu, chemtrails, and the upcoming robot invasion, the world’s taken a running jump onto the Slip-n-Slide of madness. As a result, the hammer’s comin’ down.
Looking Up the Future’s Skirt.
When I do get freaked out, one of the ways I comfort myself is I attempt to see what tomorrow will bring and figure out how best to counteract or cope with such circumstances. No doubt this has to do with my continued fascination with my childhood hero, Nostradamus. Now there was a guy who set the bar for peeking into the future, even when his pre-teen skills were limited to accurately predicting what the school cafeteria was serving for lunch the next day. (Note: I possess a complete set of vintage Nostradamus trading cards in mint condition. Eat your hearts out, fanboys!)
When I was a young buck poring over Nostradamus’s work, I remember thinking, “What if we could take each potential apocalypse and provide suggestions to help the victims and/ or survivors?” In certain cases, the ideas would be about how to best ride out the disaster and, in rare circumstances, how to go out in a blaze of glory. I’m proud to say this is precisely what we’ve done with this book.
In case you hadn’t noticed by now, the concept behind these lists differs dramatically from your standard bucket list fare. Here, you’ll see none of those humdrum “climb Mount Everest” or “find a way to meet Nancy Grace” sorts of goals. No, these are about ensuring your continued existence. Achieving your ambitions will never happen if you’re dead. Right? First things first.
We believe these lists will help you maintain your focus during the unavoidable global chaos. With these at hand, you’ll find comfort and be able to keep your composure while others lose their shit.
Our? We? Have You Got a Tapeworm or What?
I say “we” because these lists are not mine alone. I’m lucky to have staffers who assisted me in assembling The Lists. We spent valuable time on this—while waiting on hold to bitch at the cable company because that $3.59 credit still hasn’t shown up on the latest statement or while XBox Live was off-line yet again.
We think we’ve covered most every probable day of reckoning. We’ve even included a few of the lesser and/or more obscure Judgment Days, such as a lethal Hasselhoff jingle, the appearance of Galactus, and the dreaded man-eating ponies. No situation was spared, except The Situation, who’s star is fading and did not make the cut.
I wish I would have had Lists such as these when I went through the Northridge Quake of 1994. Perhaps I would’ve been better able to endure the humiliation of my apartment building being red-tagged, leaving me incapable of facing my socialite friends for weeks. Instead, I spent the first few days hyperventilating under the futon with four cats, attempting to elude the imagined gangs of looters.
By the Way, What’s with the Format of These Lists? And Who’s the Hot Skeleton Chick?
Please stop skipping around the book.
The Lists are broken up into five parts: The Sacred, The Cosmic, The Invasions, The Man-Made, and The Naturally Occurring. With each disaster, you’ll find a handy synopsis of how it will unfold, how long it will last, the percentage of the populace affected, and a List of suggestions instructing the reader how to deal with said disaster. (Let’s face it—there’s not much to be done in some of these cases—hence, fewer nuggets of advice.)
We’re also proud to introduce our spokesmodel for The Lists, The Grim Reapress. That’s correct, the Specter of Death gave itself a major makeover and is now sporting a steamy new look (and wardrobe) that better suits our current society. The Reapress will rate each doomsday—from zero to ten, ten being the best for her and the worst for us—and offer up her unique perspective. Welcome aboard, G. R.!
I Can Take Whatever Life Throws at Me.
Admittedly, these lists may not be for everyone. Perhaps you’re one of those hardcore individuals who will throw him-or herself into the apocalyptic fray in a fearless Will Smith–like manner. Bully for you. Most of us at The Lists (the team that’s helping to bring you this book) aren’t like you and we believe most people are like us—happy to have instructions to follow in an emergency. We don’t want to be improvising our way up the I-5, trying to get to our corporate panic vault before the Planet Eater arrives.
Personally, I’m not a guy who’s capable of going into the woods naked and coming out three days later in a fabulous hand-sewn beaver suit. Nor would I be smoking a cigar rolled from wild tobacco and carrying a satchel full of freshly carved venison steaks. In other words, I need all the help I can get.
And I bet you do too, or you wouldn’t still be reading this disaster of an intro.
All Right, We Get the Idea—You’re a Wuss.
Here’s my take: Keep your eyes on the skies, follow the news as needed, and when the Shinola truly hits the fan, hang on to this book. By having it at the ready and cross-referencing whichever manner of awful arrives, you’ll have a honey do list that’ll keep you calm. That along with the Xanax.
On behalf of myself and everyone at The Lists, happy endings to all and to all a good night. Skeeter bless!
David P. Murphy
Frazier Park Panic Vault
Hunkered down in the twenty-first century