The end is coming. It is coming fast, it is coming soon and it is coming for you. Look around you; perhaps you are sitting in a park; at a bus stop, or attending a meeting in a community centre on how to best deal with the veruca outbreak that has blighted the local municipal swimming-pool? The end is coming to every single each of those conscientious wart-worriers around you. The end will be gruelling, it will be cold, it will be unremittingly harsh, it will be - in essence - much like what I imagine an evening in the company of Louis Walsh to be.
Storm Emma, if the hype of the weatherpeople is to be believed, is set to turn Ireland into some inhospitable arctic tundra and, chances are - even with the help of this article - you are doomed to succumb to the icy clutch of death. And it is with that sense of the profound futility in mind that we will plough ahead with the rest of this article.
1) Acquiring Food
As with any crisis situation, the first thing that you should be concerning yourself with is where you're going to get your delicious food. You've probably seen some of the photos circulating on social media today of the barren bread shelves in supermarkets throughout Ireland - as if some swarm of locusts on an exclusively carb-heavy diet had descended upon each of these establishments. At this point you allow yourself a wry grin, before tottering off to your - dare I say over-stuffed? - grain cellar which you've kept heartily stocked with oats and grains in case of emergency during these long winter months. You may calmly collect a few of the many sackfuls of raw cereals that line the walls, before setting yourself toward the humble yet fulfilling task of milling these grains into flour, to then knead into dough, and then ultimately bake into your own delicious bread, safe in the knowledge that starvation will remain at bay.
2) ...What Do You Mean You Don't Have A Fucking Grain Cellar!?
If you don't have a fully-stocked grain-cellar I want you to set aside 10 minutes of your storm-prep time to stare into a mirror and do some heavy soul-searching as you consider how your woefully irresponsible approach to the accumulation of cereals has jeopradised not just your own chance of survival, but that of your nearest and dearest. Unfortunately, it's too late to do anything about your glaring oversight now, and instead you must source your food from elsewhere.
3) Alternate Means Of Sourcing Food
You often hear tales of people in emergency situations, such as those Argentinian rugby players trapped in the Andes who ended up eating one another, who eventually are forced toward cannibalism. Let's face it, ultimately, cannibalism will eventually become your only recourse for sustenance. As such, to ensure that you find yourself very much the 'eater' as opposed to the 'eatee', time is of the essence! It is best to try get in quickly on this front and kill one of your fellow colleagues/ friends/ family members whom you find yourself trapped with as soon as the first flakes of snow begin to tumble. Thankfully, in this cold weather, the flesh you harvest from the body will keep for several days.
4) Hydartion Nation, Population: YOU!
Sourcing water should also be a top priority and, as anybody who has lived through a prolonged period of cold weather before you - presumably because they followed tips similar to those above - will tell you, pipes carrying water to your home can freeze, leaving you absolutely stranded aqua-wise. Thankfully there is a simple solution to this. Few people realise this, as it is something the 'mainstream media' would prefer you didn't know, but snow is actually made from water! Who knew!? However, due to the fact that frozen water can cause serious damage to people and property, the chumps in 'Big Water' (Ballygowen, Volvic etc.) have thrown some serious lobbying money to the government and media to ensure this secret is kept from you. They've spent millions trying to keep frozen water branded separately as 'snow' instead of, what I believe it ought be known as, 'dangerous, hard water'.
Those of you in the know can use this information to your advantage and transform some of this snow into water for your own consumption. I have developed a simple technique to efficiently carry out this process. When presented with some snow, simply remove your outer clothing, then also remove your underclothing and now, after you've lain down in the snow, simply writhe your naked body against the frigid crystals. Soon you will be coated in a delicious film of refreshing water. Yummy.
5) Shelter - Build An Igloo
We all know that shelter is important. These days however - where it is inadvisable, and indeed almost pointless, to experience anything unless it can be channeled into some form of output on social media - having a frequently updated Instagram is far more important. Therefore, in order to make it seem to the world that you are a free-loving soul with a keen sense of adventure, you ought shirk the comfort and safety of your home and instead throw yourself into the ultimately futile errand of attempting to construct some rudimentary shelter out of ice. And bask in the adulation you receive from the photos you take.
Do not be put off if you have no previous experience in this. Should your flimsily erected and wholly unsafe agglomeration of compacted snow and ice collapse on top of you, remain calm in the knowledge that you will presumably be excavated by some desperately stretched emergency service. The ensuing hospital trip will provide you with a whole new slew of opportunities to post regular Facebook updates, drawing you some serious likes.
6) Staving Off The Greatest Enemy You'll Face; The Enemy Within
For those of you who have chosen the non-igloo life and have opted to remain indoors, your greatest, and indeed most sinister, enemy will be the tricky customer we call 'boredom'. As such the aptly named board-games will be your bedfellow in warding off this most sinister of foes. Indeed, who can honestly say they can imagine a more enjoyable way of spending approximately seven hours than by becoming engaged in a protracted and increasingly bitter, dispute about the rental pricings of a fictive housing market? Monopoly really is a hoot.
Monopoly can also double as a handy opportunity to take care of point 3 on this list. As tensions inevitably escalate between two members of your cabal of aspiring tycoons and a dispute breaks out over who actually owns the municipal waterworks, you can, by monitoring the feeling in the room, capitalise on this simmering tension by working everyone into a frenzy borne of frustration and turning everyone against the weaker of the two adversaries, thus carrying out the necessary killing for you to attain some precious food.
7) BONUS STEP: ...The Enemy Is Still Within
The last point is, if anything, a sort of addendum to the previous. A sort of sub-point; a parasitic-twin of a point, nestled away, shrunken and undeveloped, within the abdomen of the full-bodied point above; its presence, unknown to its host. It is, again, boredom. Boredom's an absolute nuisance. As with all examples of LWEs (Large Weather Emergencies) the fundamental things that you take for granted in your property, such as internet and electricity, are under threat. As such, you must brace yourself, both practically and emotionally, for the possible eventuality that these forsake you and you are forced to live by the harsh, flickering glow of a candle.
While the novelty of staggering about the place with hot wax trickling onto your hand may seem fun initially, after 10 minutes or so, the charm and allure will wear away. It is at this point that you take out your entertainment Plan B, the ace up your sleeve. It's shadow-puppet time! And a chance to prove to your wife, who recently left you to stay with her sister, that taking that 8-week long evening course in shadow-puppetry was not "a colossal fucking waste of time", and "the reason that you're never home to see me", or evidence that "you'd clearly rather spend your time with weirdos throwing what look like shit gang-signs in front of lamps, I can't take this anymore! I'm going to stay at Sarah's!"... It's evidence that it's not that, but a fun way to pass the time in the event of a blackout.
Follow these tips and, well, we shall meet again during the next LWE when you need more tips on how to keep - in the perennially relevant words of The Bee Gees - 'Stayin' Alive'. Together we can find out 'How Deep Is Your Love' of preparing for massively disruptive weather events.
This PSA was funded by the remaining member(s) of The Bee Gees.