This episode ends with a look at Bryan May and his wife Lacey, who live somewhere in Indiana.
They’re shall we say, entrepreneurs (they own a car stereo business, breed bearded dragons, and run an adult toy website—how diverse is that?), and even though I have it on good authority that the family ‘preps’ for general disasters, their producer-enforced single issue is a New Madrid quake. There’s a bit where they look at a map of the continental US with a hundred-mile-wide ocean running straight through it; it’s intriguing but pretty much geologically-ignorant.
At one point Bryan looks into the camera and says, “If there’s a quake, we’s going back in the Stone Age for most of us.” I’m sure the producers had something to do with that, but it’s still totally wrong. If a long-term disaster goes down and the three-day grocery store supply chain is disrupted, most people won’t be going back to the Stone Age (and blerg, how I hate that term and the whole Three-Age system as a whole), because that would require a functioning method of passing on Stone Age lifeways and skills, something Our Culture has been determined to obliterate since we decided that totalitarian agriculture is the only way for people to live. Damn the Eurocentric Myth of Progress!
Bryan’s big thing they focus on in the segment is bartering. As he says, “Bartering should be done a lot more. Bartering pretty much built the world we know as it is—and then we got sidetracked with paper money without backing.” I would generally agree. As for creating ‘the world as we know it’, as an unrepentant primitivist, I’m obliged to ask if that’s necessarily a good thing. The shift in Our Culture from a tribal-support-as-wealth economy (a flatter, more egalitarian social organization) to one based on shiny-rocks-as-wealth (pyramid-shaped society) allowed for the first time for wealth to be concentrated in the hands of an elite few (today’s One Percenters). However, unlike in the prior three million years of human evolution, once physical Stuff became wealth, a person could become ‘rich’ by acting purely selfishly, whereas in our tribal days, one amassed wealth by acting in the interests of the whole tribe. Going back to using the material on which our system is based (even if you’re cutting out paper notes as Bryan does) won’t necessarily make that system work any better. Using shiny rocks is silly anyway, ‘cause you can’t eat ‘em! I’m all about a Barrelhaven-style eggs-as-currency economy.
Like the Sellers from the end of last season—a couple with whose preparedness approach I had big objections—Bryan converts the bulk of his earned money into hard gold and silver. However, unlike John and Christine, Bryan actually uses his hard currency—incredibly, this segment should’ve been called “Gold and Silver: Not Just For Hoarding!” Bryan shows off his sweet rooftop solar-power setup—paid for with 23-and-a-half ounces of silver—which he hooked up diy-style along with a wind turbine to a series circuit of 40 car batteries in the basement. Major thumbs-up on emission-free energy! (Thumbs-up on the rainwater-catching tanks, too!)
Like most on the show, he’s interested in getting a shipping container (I guess to expand his already-jaw-dropping amount of canned food?):The guys come by with a container to let Bryan check it out, and he asks if they’d be interested in bartering for it. Before the commercial break, the producers edit this to seem all dramatic, like the guy selling the container thinks Bryan’s crazy for suggesting barter, but after the break the guy is totally interested and not at all weird about it. Producers making drama everywhere. Bryan ends up trading the guys some gold cards and an old SUV for the container, which is a pretty sweet deal.
The never-contented ‘experts’ give him 71 points for 13 months, and tell him to keep up with the Joneses and get HAM radio.