I have always been a reader (as my mom would call it). I was blessed with the ability to sit and read, not because I wanted to be able to converse with scholars about the subtleties of War and Peace, but because I loved the information. With that information my mind traveled to those distant places, I was hunting quail with Ruark , casting a fly to a tarpon with Hemingway and I was the chief elephant cropping officer right there next to Capstick. Literally I have read these books tens if not hundreds of times, and each time I was transported to a different time and place. so what does that have to do with survival, prepping and most of all a title like “Can you accept the suck”?
Well here it goes… “Accept the suck” pretty much means being able to actually deal with the situations. I have been reading a lot lately about peoples bug out plans. Their stashes and cashes, where they are going to go and what they think they will do. Elaborate plans for survival when the grid goes down, zombies attack, solar flares hit, there is an invasion, the ice caps melt, you name it, its going to happen. And there prepared! I understand the principle, some call it war games. You come up with a situation, then you find solutions. In all reality, that’s what the basis of prepping is. We have readily acceptable solutions in case of emergency. The one thing that our plans never take into account of is the “accept the suck” variable. How many of you work with (or are) a person who says “Don’t even talk to me, until I’ve had my coffee.” Well I’m pretty sure that there are not going find a whole lot of Dutch Bros coffee stands in your post apocalyptic scenario. I guess your bug out camp will be a quiet one. So what will you do about it? “I need a shower to wake up”, well running water may be a commodity, so are you gonna sleep forever then? Is a shower more important then a drink? I need a dip/smoke to calm down, and relax my nerves. (I hate to say it but this one relates to me too, damn Copenhagen.) Etc… so what do we do?
The last two books that I revisited were “The Revenant” by Michael Punke, and “Ridgerunner: Elusive loner of the wilderness” by Richard Ripley. Both, at least in my opinion, address a lot of the actual issues that come with the idea. Both tell stories of characters that are placed into harsh situations and how they adapt and overcome them in a sense. In “The Revenant”, Hugh Glass crawls and stumbles some 200 miles (given he was fueled by rage, and a want for revenge) through South Dakota. He had been attacked by a bear, and crudely stitched back together before being left for dead. Glass’s leg had been fractured and throat cut during the attack, to the extent that he couldn’t walk or swallow for a fair amount of his journey. When he finally found water and food (if you want to refer to it as food) it was so uncomfortable to swallow that he would nearly lose CONSCIOUSNESS! Maybe he just needed a shower, a cup of joe and a wad of Redman huh? Probably not.
In “Ridgerunner: Elusive loner of the wilderness” William Clyde Morland (we will just refer to him as “Bill”) after guiding himself through a troubled childhood, decides to reject society and its laws and standards. Bill makes his way to the Clearwater area of northern Idaho to live “like a coyote”, for 27 years. (Yes years.) If you have never been to the Clearwater, (or any northern state for that matter) it goes a little something like this. Most places are steep enough to scare away mountain goats with climbing gear. Its hot in the summer, not Arizona hot, but 90’s are pretty normal. The bugs are super abundant, the yellow jackets, bald faced hornets and wasps always seem to be looking for a human snack any time that the suns up. Once the sun sets, there are enough mosquitoes to make the idea of carrying enough blood for a mild transfusion, seem like more of a “need” then a “want”. Then you have the winter. Some peaks on the divide maintain a snow-pack from September through July. Were not talking a cute little snow globe skiff of snow, we are talking low land snow up to the bellies of full grown elk, and snow deep enough to bury two story cabins in the upper reaches of the range. Bill chose to live there. He did take up residence in some NFS cabins, and he did steal what he could find, but never more then he needed. All this and not a hot shower or Thomas Hammer to be found any where. What gives?
So what am I getting at? Should we all get attacked by bears and crawl across the Badlands, or run off to the Frank Church wilderness and live in other people cabins eating cat food to prove that we are as “prepared”as we like to believe we are? Probably not. Should we learn to deal with a little discomfort in order to better mentally and physically prepare ourselves? That sounds more like it to me. I like to think of it as a perpetual conditioning to adversity. For instance, try hopping into your car after its been sitting in the sun for 8 hours while your at work. Don’t hop in and immediately turn your air conditioning on . “Accept the suck” and drive a few miles with the windows up. You will be hot and uncomfortable. Then roll the windows down and drive for a few more miles. Immediately you will feel the oven like air escape and be replaced by the cool breeze. Then turn your a/c on. I know it seems stupid to put yourself through being roasted, just to prove a point. But its not a point your trying to prove, its gaining the ability to know your limits. You can do it with all walks of your life. Find your tolerances for hot and for cold, hunger and thirst, even something as simple as depriving yourself of an hour of sleep, one day a week, will give you a better understanding of how your body reacts. Everyone has something that provides them comfort, or that is part of there day to day routine. Try writing those items down, then listing them by rank of importance. Now try going without them. Some will be easy, some will be torture, but all in all, they all affect you in one way or another. By conditioning ourselves to live without, you are actually opening your eyes to what you can live with. We are, after all, simple creatures, that have complicated wants, and very few true needs. The more that we learn about ourselves, the closer we get to realizing that the most important piece of survival equipment we have isn’t in our packs, its under our hats
Grant Willoughby 4/23/2016.