Survival Kit in a Sardine Can.

(NOTE: There’s a new feature up, recapping one of my favorite episodes of the classic anthology series, Amazing Stories. It’s about a scary mirror monster. Read it! Or at least, read it after you’ve read about this sardine can filled with razors and candy.)

I often daydream about extinction events, or at least something approaching them. I imagine a world where survivors live in crude bunkers and shelters, surviving on whatever they could grab before the comet hit, or before the zombies rose, or before the aliens invaded.

It sort of runs parallel to my other fantasy, where I live in dilapidated cabin in the middle of nowhere, totally cut off from society. What makes the extinction event scenario more attractive is that I wouldn’t be doing it by choice. That log cabin thing sounds fun, but after a few days, I know I’d crack and run back to society, begging for the camaraderie and conveniences I’ve grown so accustomed to. But man, if aliens poisoned the air supply, I’d have no choice! I could have fun in my little fallout shelter with no regrets!

Yes, I understand that this is weird.

A byproduct of these daydreams is my interest in survival goods. Specifically, survival kits. I just find them so alluring. I like to dream up my own survival kits, and since this is completely hypothetical and I don’t have to be at all practical about it, my imaginary survival kits rock. Coolers full of novels, notebooks, pretzels and playing cards.

When I browse through the many survival kits sold online, I always keep an eye out for the fun ones. I don’t care if they have compasses and water purification tablets. I just want them to be fun. I want them to be filled with astronaut ice cream and tiny-sized versions of Yahtzee.

Well, this one doesn’t exactly fit that bill, but it comes close. It’s definitely fun. It’s a survival kit in a goddamned sardine can.

Created by Whistle Creek, it’s a legit survival kit, in the sense that there’s stuff inside that really could save your life if, say, you found yourself impossibly lost in the woods for a few days. Still, there seems to be more of a “novelty” slant with this kit, both because of the goofier contents and because it all comes in a, you know, sardine can.

The simple act of opening the can was worth the eight bucks. If you’ve always wanted to open a sardine can but could never allow yourself to be that close to sardines/sardine juice, consider the problem solved. I’ll tell you, it’s every bit as intoxicating as you’ve imagined. The universe’s exact opposite of nails on a chalkboard.

Wow, they really packed a lot in there. Around twenty different items by my count.

Most survival kits include some tiny thing said to be a “morale booster.” Like, you’d get a box full of bandages, fish hooks and other boring stuff, but there’d be one piece of hard candy in the mix to keep things interesting. This survival kit adheres to a similar strategy, but there’s more than just one morale booster. Disregarding the items that are only worth having when you’re in serious danger, these are the highlights:

– A Tootsie Roll! (Which evidently counts as an “energy nugget,” if you believe Whistle Creek.)

– A single stick of Big Red gum, stale as hell but still spicy and delicious. I’m chewing it as I type this.

– A whistle, which I guess has a true “survival” purpose, since it’d come in handy if you needed to alert the world that you were lost or injured or being eaten by quicksand. Then again, this whistle is made of neon-colored plastic. That’s a toy, not a survival tool.

– A Lipton tea bag, which seems like an odd inclusion until you notice the water purification tablet. It’s that brown brick that looks like fish food. (Actually, wait. No. That’s a fire starter. Eh, so what. I have water.)

See, this is the kind of stuff I want in my survival kits. I appreciate the tiny compass and the generously legitimate razor blade, but in all likelihood, I won’t need those things. I’ll never have to survive the unforgiving wilderness. At best, I’ll just have to gut through a long, boring car ride.

The included instruction sheet had a little area marked “note paper,” and since the kit came with a tiny pencil, why not?

His name is Schmerz, and he’s a drinker.

I should mention that I immediately disqualify any survival kit that lacks a writing utensil and some kind of paper. Those things are mandatory. In all of my cataclysmal daydreams, I keep a journal to be studied by future generations. I hate any survival kit that robs me of that chance.

Overall, I’m happy with my ridiculous sardine can, even if it was more fun to make a survival kit out of an Altoids tin. Tonight, I will hide under my blanket with a Tootsie Roll and a whistle, and gleefully pretend that they’re all I have left. It shouldn’t make me happy, but it will.