I must have been sixteen or seventeen– old enough to be up at three in the morning drinking stolen vodka out of a Dixie cup and talking about conspiracy theories with a half-dozen friends.

“Have you heard there’s a place in New Mexico where they store aliens?” says the host.

“No freaking way!” (I’m shocked and intrigued)

“And have you heard that if you play The White Album backwards it’s actually a message for devil worshipers?”

“What?” (I’m skeptical)

“And have you heard there’s a mountain with a secret chamber that can withstand a nuclear bomb and the melting of the sun. AND when all has been lost the president will choose seven hundred of the most amazing and vital people to go there and repopulate the earth.”

“Only seven hundred?” (I’m terribly concerned)

I probe: “What do you mean seven hundred? Who is he to say? And what are the qualifications? Do you need to be famous? How do you get on their radar?”

The host has no answers.

I go home feeling simultaneously gutted and determined. “I’m getting an invite to that cave.”

At the time I’m very into lists: lists of my favorite bands, lists of the places I want to visit, lists of cartoon characters I’d like to do the voices for. I start a new list: “Reasons I should get chosen to live in a cave and repopulate the planet.”

First I think of all the qualifications they might look for in a cave dweller: good hygiene, a sense of humor, 20/20 vision, someone with a working flashlight. I’ve got these things. My chances are looking good.

Next I try to think of all the reasons that someone might get picked to repopulate the earth. Mostly I figure “that special someone” will have to have an impressive resume. Like maybe they will have written some books or started a world changing not-for-profit or composed a symphony or invented something like Velcro or pace makers. I decide I’ll spend the next decade or so working on this part of the list. I teach tons of children, do voices for cartoon characters on TV and write some stuff. But when I take stock it just doesn’t seem like it’s enough. After all we’re talking about seven hundred people out of the whole human race.

It’s so depressing I abandon the list for a while. I keep working on myself. I fall in love. I get married. I have a kid. Then one day, as I’m going about my business it occurs to me that my latest adventure (the one where I gave birth and have henceforth been engaged in child rearing) has led me to develop a plethora of skills that would really come in handy in an apocalyptic cave. I return to my tally and add my new qualifications.

For starters there is now proof that I’m fertile. If the goal is repopulation, I’m good on that front.

I have also become astonishingly low maintenance. I can pretty much subsist on the goldfish crackers and raisins that I find under the couch cushions. So I’d be a win when it comes to food rations.  AND I produce milk, lots and lots of milk. I would be an obvious asset if the food supply ever got low.

I’m now excessively patient. I can listen to someone screaming and wailing in my face without batting an eye. I can wait all day for a moment of solitude in the bathroom. I can remain composed behind the wheel even while someone is kicking the back of my seat again and again and again. I figure patience would have to be super important if you were waiting for the universe to grow a new sun or recover from radiation. And you wouldn’t want to be in there with someone who kept clamoring, “Can we go already. Is it time? Is it time?” That would get annoying right quick!

Additionally I’m increasingly resourceful. I can fashion a kite out of a paper plate and a shoelace. I can build a fort in seconds flat. I can turn a banana peel into a puppet and a cookie tray into a sled. Give me a garbage bag and I can make you a slip-n-slide. Give me an ice tray and I can whip you up a game that builds number sense and tastes really fucking good.  Boredom has got to be an issue in any windowless cavern but not with me around. No sir!

Since giving birth I have been basted in every fluid known to man so I would not be afraid of the dirty work necessary to keeping the human race alive.

I’ve also been carrying a 27 pound toddler and a 50 pound diaper bag for the past many months so I’m super strong and can pretty much do everything required to live using only one hand.

And on top of all that I have the capacity to love and nurture like nobody’s business.

And who wouldn’t want that quality in a cave?

So I’m starting to think it’s all coming together. All that’s left is to invent some stuff, compose a symphony, become an agent of positive social change and then find my way onto the president’s radar so that I can show off my stuff.

New list: Ways to attract the President’s attention…

Any thoughts?

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