When we were raised, our mothers told us we were special and our media told us everyone else was child molesters. This led to an entire generation of people cynical enough to think the world was going to end, and self-centered enough to think it would happen while we were on it. If doctors had a name for it, it'd be apocalypsurbation. Personally, I grew up in a household that ran regular nuclear winter drills. We reloaded our own ammunition, canned our own food, stabilized our own gasoline storage and by the age of 10 I'd shot and killed so many paper plate targets that to this day I go for my gun when I see people handing out birthday cake. Writing a step-by-step instruction manual to every apocalyptic situation is impossible. For example, if you live in a large city center, you'd want a book that's simply 200 pages of screamable quotes you can select from before you're immediately dead. Plus, there's a huge difference in apocalypse survival between The Day After Stage and the LME (or Last-Man-on-Earth) Stage. In The Day After Stage, you'll still have luxuries like emergency broadcasts and lootable grocery stores. In the LME Stage, your schedule will change quite a bit. You might not be the literal Last Man on Earth, but you can pretty much count on all the other ones wanting to kill you and eat you. Because there is so much variation to plan for, I'm giving you a single personal trait you'll want to focus on for each type of global catastrophe. Let's look at the facts. Fact 1: The average nerd spends three hours a day thinking about the zombie apocalypse. Fact 2: A study done by the National Center For Disease Control found that for every zombie survival plan you have, you are 100 percent less likely to have a sexually transmitted disease. Fact 3: The same study found that after 10 fully-realized zombie survival plans, the planner's penis actually retreats up into the body where it plays Nintendo with his uteral mucus plug. Despite modern fiction trends, the zombie apocalypse probably won't involve fast zombies. Slow undead put enough strain on science, let's not further complicate things by pretending that a shambling pile of rigor mortis and congealed blood would have a top speed over two miles-per-hour.
The Day After Stage Personal Trait Needed: Foresight Most zombie survival plans involve barricading yourself up or climbing to the top of a structure and destroying the stairs. Well have fun starving to death in a fog of rotting stench while the dead shriek at you. Above all, you want to stay mobile. If zombies are on the move, a properly-balled person can smash through a small crowd of them. If you let them pack in around you, you're either in a machine gun nest or about to die. It's fun to think of places to loot, but the truth is, once the city's employees are undead, no one is around to put out fires. And if your city isn't on fire, that's because the people who work the flood control facilities are also undead and it's now underwater. Basically, once you hear a newscaster say anything remotely close to "rabies victims" or "the attacker was earlier declared dead by doctors," get the fuck out of the city. You can take the highway, but only if you want to spend three days in traffic and then several years as a living corpse trying to bite people from your seat belt.
LME Stage Personal Trait Needed: Close-Quarters-Combat This is really the sweet spot of any apocalypse--you against a world of zombies. You shouldn't have to worry so much about food if you're out and mobile. Food will be everywhere since no one is alive to eat it. Practically every structure you come across will be the scene of a less successful Last-Man-on-Earth and stocked with their overly ambitious food supply. Don't worry about ammunition either. Even if you were lucky enough to get to the shooting range or the gun store before everyone else thought of it, you'll be out of bullets long before the zombies are out of zombies. Also, if anyone tells you they can stare down an army of undead and isolate headshot targets, keep asking them questions. I have a feeling they also have a 25-inch dick and they once crashed their motorcycle and swear-to-God flew 300 feet. While John Rambo up there is using his gun to call nearby swarms of walking dead, you'll want something more along the lines of a crowbar or a hatchet. They can destroy an undead skull, fit in one hand and are handy for other things like going through doors and barricades. Practical advice aside, you'll really want to make it your own. Get crazy with it. Without electricity or other humans, all you have to do is read the occasional book and kill the dead. Above all, don't stare at your belt and contemplate suicide like a masturbating celebrity. Build an elaborate trap or make a list of objects that you haven't killed zombies with yet. The best final thought you can have is, "That would have been so awesome if it had worked." Robots control when our toilets flush, when our paper towels are dispensed and how graham crackers are made. Our toys have been smarter than us for years: my Tivo knew I'd like
Human Target, my spam filter knew I'd at least want the option of seeing barnyard fucking and my XBOX 360 outsmarts me all the time. Just now I was playing Just Cause 2, shooting soldiers from a little thing called a parachute that I was pulling along with a grappling hook. Now against human enemies with emotions, their trigger fingers would be too busy reaching for the nearest high five to shoot at me. Well, robots have no emotions. One robot ignored my parachute's awesomeness and stoically calculated its trajectory to put a rocket-propelled grenade in our path. Now think about this: When that AI brain gets put in a real robot, it's going to be 3.7 times easier for it to hit me with a rocket when I have neither a parachute nor a grappling hook. Which is why I always carry both. Try to beat that with your "logic," robots.
The Day After Stage Personal Trait Needed: Fleeing First-gen apocalypse robots are going to be pretty crappy and if you meet one in single combat you'll probably be able to subdue them and use their orifice ports for their original sex function. The real issue is that they control the world's nuclear arsenal, communication lines and electrical grid. It really only takes one self-aware Roomba scuffling across a few buttons to turn the world into half-exploded cavemen. So when the robots wake up, your best bet is to get as far away from population centers and appliances as possible. Don't be a bitch, though. Before you pinch it off and run, let that urinal flush sensor's first sentient thought be "SYSTEM ONLI--KICK DETECTED! DAMAGE!" In the early stage of the Robopocalypse, you're not going to have much to kill anyway. Most of your enemies are going to be software and incoming ballistic missiles. Plus, you can never really be certain whether or not the robots can control things like cars and soda machines, so to be safe, get on a bicycle and go camping. It'll hopefully be days before they finish building terminator robot assembly lines, and you'll be spending that time growing balls. Balls are our only advantage.
LME Stage Personal Trait Needed: Cowboyin' By this point, the few humans left alive are being used to satisfy the needs of Japanese vending machines that still retain trace remnants of their prime directive: FILL ME WITH FRESH FILTHY PANTIES. Since electric vehicles are either controlled or tracked by the robots, you'll be riding a horse. And since robots don't really bleed, you'll be shooting a gun that leaves a fist-sized holes in them like a Dirty Harry .44 or a slug-loaded shotgun. Gaping holes are a robot's natural enemy. Little holes, on the other hand, are only going to help cool their hydraulic systems as they drag you to their panties farm. Oh, and there's a solid chance the robots will pull some shit where they dress up in human disguises, so before you talk to any strangers, put a bullet in their foot and listen for a clang. It's a stupid way to screen potential allies, but that's perfect. Robots never expect the stupid. Some day soon, a giant solar flare will scorch across the Earth. A meteor is going to slam sun-blocking dust into the atmosphere until we're a ball of ice. We live in a deadly cosmos, and for everyone who isn't a Mayan calendar maker, it's completely unpredictable.
The Day After Stage Personal Trait Needed: Hoarding First we're going to assume you're not directly under the falling meteor or solar heatwave. Now all you have to deal with is the slow march toward death in a world where nothing grows. This is the most depressing kind of apocalypse since there's no common enemy other than existentialism. And when there's no hope of a comeback for society, the slippery slope of morality turns into a waterslide. For instance, would you steal food to feed your family even if it meant another family went hungry? It really doesn't matter, because in the meteor apocalypse, that other family is asking itself the same question, and everyone's answer is yes. It'll be a matter of weeks before murdering a man over a can of chili goes from being a capital crime to a lesson you teach your children. That means you have a very short window to trade everything you have for food and then find a place to hide it. Take note of any people who see you doing this--they're going to kill you soon. Guarding your hoard from determined raiders is pretty much impossible if you're not in a fortified and staffed military base, so if anyone knows about you and your stash, you might as well not have it. That's why it's worth investing in fake mustaches to disguise your canned goods as tiny handsome gentlemen. I should have mentioned earlier that in this hopeless dying world, your mind will be the first thing to go.
LME Stage Personal Trait Needed: Ruthlessness The good news is, if you're an average American, you can survive up to six years on fat reserves alone. The bad news is, you also feed up to one family of rapist bikers. You can't trust anyone in this apocalypse. Survivors will spread out and pick the world clean like an Asian person eating seafood. Most everyone's survival plan will be moving towards the nicest place and stealing everything along the way, so pick the nastiest location you can tolerate and stay there. If someone comes near you, give them bear traps and other reasons to regret their decision. In the ELE apocalypse, there's no real point in being nice. But remember: You're in charge of humanity's last moments of history. Try not to spend them as a rapist biker. Most civilizations capable of achieving space travel could pretty easily destroy another one. It doesn't take a whole bunch of science to push a big rock in the direction of an enemy planet and watch it explode. It's so easy to do in fact, that it would be almost retarded not to do it preemptively if you discovered an outer space civilization first. So if aliens are invading Earth, they want something other than our deaths. Probably our water, but even more probably: our buttholes.
The Day After Stage Personal Trait Needed: Patriotism Our primitive Earth weapons are going to be a problem for them--speeding pointed metal and fission reactions hurt even if you're from space. So the first stage of any alien invasion is going to be a propaganda campaign to discredit our military and our governments. This is where the liberal sensibilities that are so valuable in your chat rooms and college classes will be used against you. Smart, open-minded people consider things from all points of view, and that's like Christmas to an alien mind-control ray. You'll be protesting the war against space within a week, and by the time they're hollowing you out to hatch eggs you'll be thanking them for it. I'm actually saving historians time by calling you a pussy in writing right here and now. It seems counter-intuitive, but what you need to fight off alien mind control is a stupidly unshakable belief that no good can come from queerin' or outer spacin'.
USA! I'm not saying that the alien invaders will be fought off exclusively by religious nuts and SUV pilots. Lots of us will be able to resist mind control. But all the people who can't will combine with rumors that some of us have been aliens in human skin this whole time and then we're too busy arguing to fight anyone. I can settle an argument right away, though: The Alien Friendship Centers are butthole pasteurization plants. LME Stage Personal Trait Needed: Lasers By this point, most human survivors are hiding underground or reconsidering their opinion on extra-terrestrials from the whirling tip of a Cosmoprobe. But by this point, you also have a nice supply of phaser guns you took off dead aliens. And an American with a space ray is exactly like an American sent through time, an American raised in the jungle or an American ninja: invincible. In the year 2000, four horsemen will deliver untold terrors upon us! Odin and Fenrir will start a terrible battle that envelops all of Midgard! Spacelord Xenu will radically restructure our small business financial management methods! Over 90 percent of the planet believes that events like these are predetermined, which is about double the number of people who believe we landed on the Moon, and that's probably true since we taped it. By my calculations, that means a Biblical apocalypse has a double-than-probably chance of happening. Most calculators don't even have a number for something that certain.
The Day After Stage Personal Trait Needed: Education Once the sky rips open, you're only going to have seconds to figure out which religion was right. Your family members will start turning into mermaids and goats, and good luck Googling what any of it means. If you go into this blind, you won't know whether to strip nude and arch your back for the Heavens or take up a broadsword against the frost giants, and a wrong decision either way could really cost you. On a side note: If you get lucky, don't spoil the moment with smugness. It'll be obvious to everyone that you picked the right one, so there's no need to rub it in. LME Stage Personal Trait Needed: Balls OK, so you got Left Behind with Kirk Cameron in a realm forsaken by its Gods. You probably need to get a Mark of the Beast to buy and sell goods, unmitigated truth sears your Earthly flesh and every song is metalcore. Now, the good news: Your only job and hobby is Final Battle. Most theologists agree that when the world goes out, it goes out big. And that's what you need to do. Decorate yourself in warpaint and doll heads and find a weapon too rad to be effective. A chainsaw on a rope, a bag of infectious tumors, maybe consider replacing your hands with beehives--basically you need to die so hard that when you get to Hades they already have a statue of you.