I loved this story well put together by Tom Lamont in the Observer this weekend. My keep-fit-mad 17 year old son is a prime candidate for this US survivalist stuff. Hand him an AK47 and wait until you see the whites of their eyes.
Abandon any notion of surviving the apocalypse by doing anything as boringly obvious as running for the highest hill, or eating cockroaches. The American firm Vivos is now offering you the chance to meet global catastrophe (caused by terrorism, tsunami, earthquake, volcano, pole shift, Iran, “social anarchy”, solar flare – a staggering list of potential world-murderers are considered) in style.
Vivos is building 20 underground “assurance of life” resorts across the US, capable of sustaining up to 4,000 people for a year when the earth no longer can. The cost? A little over £32,000 a head, plus a demeaning-sounding screening test that determines whether you are able to offer meaningful contribution to the continuation of the human race. Company literature posits, gently, that “Vivos may prove to be the next Genesis”, and they are understandably reluctant to flub the responsibility.
Should you have the credentials and the cash, the rewards of a berth in a Vivos shelter seem high. Each staffed complex has a decontamination shower and a jogging machine; a refrigerated vault for human DNA and a conference room with wheely chairs. There are TVs and radios, flat-screen computers, a hospital ward, even a dentist’s surgery ready to serve those who forgot to pack a toothbrush in the hurry. “Virtually any meal” can be cooked from a stockpile of ingredients that includes “baked potato soup” but, strangely, no fish, tinned or otherwise. Framed pictures of mountain ranges should help ease the loss of a world left behind.
Vivos says it has already received 1,000 applications.
How long do the rest of us have to decide? “Nobody knows” when disaster will strike but Vivos takes a shot at guessing, sourcing clues from Nostradamus, the Bible and Native American lore to suggest 2019, 2029 and 2036 as danger years. But the real fear is for 21 December 2012, a date forecast for doom by the Mayans and towards which a countdown clock on Vivos’s website ticks.
We ought not to get too comfy over the next couple of years either: President Obama’s recent warnings about nuclear terrorism proved “timely”, a Vivos spokesperson told the Observer. “Doomsday may be closer than many would otherwise like to believe…”
It’s warning enough. £32,000? Check. Carpentry skills? Check. Jogging bottoms? Check. Good luck in the hills.