While the latest news is increasingly freaky, (what with the food crisis, fuel prices and the world teetering on the brink of economic collapse, etc.), I’ve grown strangely optimistic about a potential breakdown. The idea of starting a survivalist club, as one friend recently suggested, where we’d learn how to can vegetables, gut a wild boar and deliver babies, sounds super cool! I just finished the 1996 novel “Into the Forest” by Jean Hegland about two teenaged sisters surviving the end of civilization alone in rural northern California. It’s beautifully written, but not especially uplifting. Still, it made me want to expand my tiny vegetable garden and study the uses of medicinal plants. Oh, and buy a gun. But let’s not muck up my little fantasy with pragmatism. Maybe it’s just my midlife crisis talking here, but isn’t there something invigorating about the idea of hitting the “reset” button on civilization? Sure, it would be especially treacherous for city dwellers like me and my family. Mob rule and all that. The near future as depicted in the film “Children of Men” felt believable. But in the country, life wouldn’t change too terribly much. Horses and shotguns would probably spike in value. There would be dangerous drifters. But surely somebody would perfect that lovely daydream of a bucolic utopia. You know, where everyone shares and lives off the land? Or maybe we all should just set up tents inside the nearest Whole Foods and hope for the best.