Doomsday Preppers: Doug the Rock Man

Our next episode (‘Solutions, Not Problems’) is another of the two-uneven-profiles variety; we begin with a short look at Doug Eaves, aka ‘Rock Man’.
doug-the-rock-manAs his name suggests, Doug is all about rocks. Not surprising, as he owns and operates his own rock quarry in the mountains of Tennessee. And since he’s all about rocks, it’s also unsurprising that many of his prepping strategies also rely on rocks. It’s nice to see someone who is so familiar with one material that he can make his living from it and integrate it into his life.
And what does Doug fear that drives him to prepare? All together now!: “an economic collapse that will change the world forever!”
Really? Seriously, for this season, a full 30 percent of the folks profiled have been economic collapse-ers, which while only two points up from season one, just seems so uneven. C’mon, just for shits and giggles, couldn’t the producers switch ‘em up, so we don’t get like, three in a row?

Anyway, Doug worries that “our economy is in distress” and he “don’t see it getting better.” Like I’ve said before, this was probably filmed some months ago before the stock-market bump of the last few weeks. However, I’m not sure about one of his strategies for dealing with this contingency. Every week, it seems Doug takes his profits to the bank and exchanges his paper money for rolls of fifty-cent pieces. He then spends an evening on a ‘treasure hunt’, searching for any pre-1971 or pre-1965 coins. If you didn’t already know, the rising cost of silver caused the US Mint to eliminate that element in dimes and quarters, and reduce its content in half-dollars from 90 to 40 percent in 1965; by 1971 they followed suit and began minting silver-free half-dollars.
The current price of silver means that should you actually find one of these coins, it’s worth far more than its face value: as Doug suggests, what appears to be a 50-cent piece could be worth 20 dollars. Of course, as in all concepts of ‘value’ and ‘wealth’ in civilized society, it’s entirely reliant on the consent of its participants to function. The only reason our system of backed-by-gold green paper notes is allowed to continue—even though there hasn’t been enough gold (or silver, for that matter) to back the money for years—is because we continue to go along with it, pretending that these rectangles of green cotton-paper are equal to 100 of these little coppery discs, or 20, ten, four, or two of these silvery discs. Isn’t it funny how—with the exception of the all-but-forgotten Sacagawea gold dollar—all of our monies are inscribed with pictures of dead white men? Personally, I like to deal with root problems instead of symptoms, so if you’re worried about an economy that’s in danger of collapsing, recognize what’s causing that economy to collapse, and then get as far away from it as possible. Hell, read up on uncivilized economies (generally based around person-to-person support as true wealth) and implement one with your neighbors. Or something. Just an idea.
If you want to continue to buy into the ‘green paper = value’ game, that’s fine, but realize how inherently unstable that system is, and don’t rely on it. Better yet, take a page from Kelly and John Taylors’ playbook: convert that paper into useful purchases ASAP and get used to life without it. Bah, precious metals as wealth are inherently bullshit. /soapbox.

So, because so much of this show is just folks tying to make themselves feel good about being ‘prepared’, we get to see Doug’s family’s $45,000 shipping-container bunker. Which doesn’t seem like a lot of room, especially when they reveal that in an emergency, Doug’s best friend Inez and his family will be coming to stay as well. So, seven people in a shipping container? Sounds crowded to me. Regardless, thumbs-up for having a buddy to help you out.
And with all those people packing in there, Doug has implemented strict water-rationing—and this is probably the scariest thing to most folks watching the show: only two gallons per person per day. Eek! That’s right, no more ten-minute Hollywood shower for you! According to our narrator, the average American somehow uses 100 gallons or water per day? I really hope that’s wrong.
But as soon as they showed the septic tank getting lowered into the pit, I knew we weren’t looking at a long-term problem solver. So yeah, septic tanks. AKA ‘big concrete box that you fill up with raw shit and now-contaminated drinking water, requiring a vacuum truck to come and suck it out every so often.” Someone please remind me how this is a reliable way of dealing with human waste in an uncertain future? I’ll say it one more time…HUMANURE. No water, no smell, awesome compost at the end. What’s not to love?

Now, should the rampaging hordes of unprepared city-dwellers come swarming out of the nearest metropolis, what is Doug’s plan for dealing with them? This is the Rock Man we’re talking about, so naturally all solutions involve Really Big Stones. His first line of defense is apparently a one-time-only trick, because he plans to create a rockslide to block the road. Wow. Next step is to create some stone pillbox firing positions around the bunker. And finally, break out the bobcat and barricade the driveway with an improvised rock wall. Like I said, I like that he uses what he knows. And Doug knows rocks! I also really like that they wrap up their night of rock-wall-building with pizza! Because as we all know, “There is no aspect, no facet, no moment of life that can’t be improved with pizza.”

The experts give him 69 points, for twelve months’ survival; Doug seems pretty pleased with that assessment. Not bad.

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