Up there at that recent Age of Limits Conference that whip smart feller John Michael Greer made a practical suggestion to the gathered crowd that got the Happy Hoarder to thinking his tip would be good for this here column. And since it’s been a spell since I did some writing, (owing to Mrs. Happy Hoarder keeping me busy on the farm with spring planting and bushwhacking and whatnot), I figured it was time I took a break and shared some of my old timey wisdom.
What Greer parleyed struck a chord with me because heck, I’ve been doing it for nigh on years now. It’s hoarding books.
Now, if you’re already a reader, saying you should hoard books might not sound like much of a revelation. But there’s books, and then there’s books.
I like my Louis L’amour as much as the next feller when I just want a page turner that doesn’t strain the old knob too much. But I’m not suggesting you go hoarding any of them. (Well, some pulp in the collection is probably not bad for future trading in dibs and dabs and whatnot.)
The green wizardry library
Rather, like Greer said, you ought to lay in a hefty provision of how-to and going-green and fix ‘er-upper and home spun wisdom types of books, a whole mess of which were whipped up in the 70s during the era Greer calls the boom time for Green Wizardy. These books — as Greer rightly pointed out in my estimation — can be had in the droves at yard sales and thrift stores and the likes. We’re talking for a plug nickel, half the time.
That’s right, friend, build your library of books with the Mother Earth News type of vibe because this stuff is gonna be pure gold as this here economic co-lapse proceeds (and I agreed with them Age of Limits speakers on that, too — it’s here already buddy, so’s enjoy!).
Now I’m not saying you should stake your future monetary wealth on these books in the Wall Street sense of it, though I imagine these books will go up in value as folks scramble for low tech knowledge and building advice and all that good stuff when the going gets even tougher. What I’m really talking about is your own wealth of knowledge.
The future is not virtual
Let’s say for instance that this here Internet starts going wonky on us.
First off, consider the vast amounts of energy it takes just to fire all them servers up. Hells bells, without this crazy shortsighted civilization making provisions for that eventuality we’re going be jonesing purdy fast for our Wikipedia and Youtube fixes when we don’t even know how to make bread or rig up a solar oven. Then you got the spook types who are trying to get us all riled up about so-called cyber threats (if that’s not a recipe for an Inside Job I don’t know what is). Darn fools in Foggy Bottom could just rig up an excuse to pull the plug on the whole thing at some point. Stranger things have happened.
And with the economy in a wicked tailspin in spite of all that G-8, Eurozone and Fed rushin’ around, you can bet gutting public services is in our futures for sure. And then, folks, libraries are likely to get short shrift.
My point is, knowledge is power, friends. When you got that knowledge at your own real live fingertips it can make the difference between a decent life, maybe even a creative and prosperous one, and one in which you’re up the proverbial creek without that paddle.
In this case, yes, shop
So hit the yard sales, comb the thrift stores, chat up the church ladies in the basement fundraisers and swing by your annual library benefit sale with a keen eye on finding the kind of books that were written before the days when every last thing was an electronic i-gadget virtual holographic hyped up doodad.
Go for the basics; books on plumbing and carpentry, on gardening and simple old fashioned cooking and preserving — canning, sprouting, fermenting and all that Mother Earth News kinda stuff — books on low-tech living and how to rig up what you need like a MacGuyver, only with clothespins, duct tape, and tin foil.
All that book collecting is not gonna cost you much but it’ll be an enviable home security system and job development plan all rolled in one. Heck, you might could rent ’em out, or do some trading with ’em, too. Can’t hurt when you’re chatting up the other fellers or when your lady is leading the daisy parade with her own kinds of fixings and doings.
Until next time pardners, happy hoarding!
–The Happy Hoarder, Transition Voice