That Nasty Term

            While Survival Sam was out in the kitchen a couple minutes helping Survival Sally with some little chore she’d asked him to do, I munched more peanuts, sipped ginger ale, and thought.


            “Sam, I’m stumped,” I said when he strolled back into the living room, wiping his hands on his pants.


            “Stumped about what?”


            “That nasty term,” I said.


            “The only nasty term I know of is the semester I took trigonometry years ago in school.”


            I laughed.  “No, I mean the word ‘survivalist’ or anything that has to do with survival.  I’m afraid when people read my blog, they’ll mentally see images of a bearded, wild-eyed hermit living in Montana, with gold stashed in jars in his yard.”


            “Let’s think about that for a minute.  Ask yourself where such an image came from.  What was the purpose of whoever or whatever planted such an image in our minds?  Might it have been to vilify any sort of nonconformity?  After all, isn’t it much better to stick close to what is presumably normal? 


            “Good question.  But what is normal anyway these days?”  I asked.


            “I’m reminded of a laxative ad on TV years ago that said, ‘Normal is what’s normal for you.’”


            “Oh, good grief, Sam!”


            “Let me come at this another way.  What if I said my Aunt Barbara is a cancer survivor?  That puts a new spin on surviving and survival, doesn’t it?  We look at someone like Aunt Barbara as someone special.  She and others like her have endured a great deal.  They’ve no doubt learned many of the hard lessons  of life.  Even better, to say they’ve survived cancer means there’s hope—the hope they’ll continue living.”


            “Yeah, you’re right.”


            “To some extent we think the same of someone who wears a T-shirt emblazoned with words like, ‘I survived the blizzard of ’07.’” 


            “I think there should be an award for surviving family reunions,” I sneered. 


             “I know what you mean,” he chuckled, “but you get the point.  We think favorably of someone who has somehow survived some real or perceived difficulty.”


            “That’s true.”


            “Now, survival doesn’t sound so bad at all, does it?”


            “Not when you put it that way,” I said.


            “Don’t let anyone buffalo you with propagandistic language and images.  Survival is all about living through something, or outliving the situation that threatens you.  All you have to do is just think about things a little differently.  That’s what you want your blog readers to do, isn’t it?”


            “Exactly,” I replied.


            “Don’t be spooked by the term ‘survivalist’ or the concept of survival.  Every one of your readers is either going through difficulties now, or they one day will, and you’re there to help them think things through and prepare to face whatever life dishes out.”


            “Life can dish out some pretty tough stuff,” I said.  “What if some cynic comes along and says none of us gets out of this world alive?”


            “I doubt if many people like that will be reading your blog anyway.  You have a better audience.”

Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

1 thought on “That Nasty Term”

  1. We’re really enjoying your survival story.

    Just yesterday we read the following on the website of an artist who lost her home, studio, and artwork in the recent California wild fires:

    “I once knew a wise old woman who lived on her farm on the river outside of St. Charles, Missouri, where I lived. She had lived through the Depression and was still plowing her own land at 78. When I was going through a rough patch during my divorce in 1977, she came to have supper with the children and me…and told me: “If there is ever anything you ever need that you do not have, then just come to me…and I will show you how to live without it!” ”

    That is the artist’s attitude for moving on after her loss from the wild fires. We enjoyed the quote and hope you do too.

    Lori & Jeff

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