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Useful Skills

 

Doctor Jubal Harshaw, once upon a time (or once upon a future time, depending on your perspective) decreed:

"A Man should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

Knowing Dr. Harshaw as I do, I'm sure "man" should be construed to mean "mankind", the good doctor being a well known feminist.  Even were he inclined to such misogyny, the women in his orbit would surely have made his life hell.  Doubtless, the scoundrel Robert Heinlein has misquoted Dr. Harshaw.

Notwithstanding the inaccuracy of Heinleins account, Dr. Harshaws assertion is as good a place as any to start.  Let's take a look at each item and see how it's useful to us, shall we?


Change a Diaper
As long as there are diapers to change, the womenfolk can't be far away.

Plan An Invasion
Depending on the nature of the Kerfuffle, invasion planning may not be required right away.  Keep a copy of "The Art of War" handy, just in case.

Butcher A Hog
To this I would add "Raise A Hog"

Conn A Ship
Surely, Dr. Harshaw had some sort of interstellar craft in mind.  For our purposes, I believe equine skills might be more appropriate.

Design A Building
Midwest Plan Service will be helpful here.  Just get all you can now.

Write A Sonnet
Not that I see sonnet writing as a very useful skill, but I won't object if someone wants to keep Shakespere's works handy

Balance Accounts
Consider that the currency won't necessarily be dollars.  Grains, spices, chickens ... who knows?

Build A Wall
Always a useful skill.  Don't forget, logs and rocks make good walls, too.

Set A Bone
Keep a Boy Scount handy.

Comfort The Dying
Hopefully, if we do all our other skills well, this won't be required very often

Take Orders
Assuming there's anyone around to take them

Give Orders
Same, but reversed

Cooperate
No arguments here

Act Alone
Which I suspect may be required frequently

Solve Equations
This is one of those skills like getting to work on time - even the most rudimentary ability will set you above the crowd

Analyze A New Problem
Of which there will be plenty

Pitch Manure
Also, be sure you have something to make the manure

Program A Computer
At a minimum, be able to change out the hard drive and reinstall the OS - yes, I believe the computer will still be valuable

Cook A Tasty Meal
Never a bad skill, anyway - some old cookbooks would be a good idea

Fight Efficiently
Don't pick the fight, but feel free to end one by any means

Die Gallantly
If this is important to you, remember you only get one chance


#

Those skills are a good start, but not enough, in my considered opinion. 

Here are a few more skills that, in addition to those above, comprise a minimum sort of skill set for life after the big kerfuffle


 

Raise Livestock
Even if you don't have enough land to raise your own, other who do will need skilled help

Raise A Garden
It doesn't take a great deal of land to raise a lot of food - concentrate on sustainable, organic agriculture

Food Preservation
Canning, curing and drying are probably the most useful

Gather Firewood
Fell the tree with a crosscut saw, cut it into managable sizes, haul it home, split, stack

18th Century Carpentry and Woodcraft Skills
Focus on pre-power tool skills. The Adz, Draw Knife, Plane, Froe, Mallet And Similar Tools

Beekeeping
Sugar will be hard to come by if the trucks aren't running

Cooking On A Woodstove or Open Fire
These are not as simple as they might sound

Soap Making
Soap can be a byproduct of woodburing and might be a valuable trade item

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