"How to Rise to Power in the Upcoming Dystopia" by Emily Ball

If you’re a concerned citizen, you’ve noticed that our nation is in troubling times. We are more divided than ever, turning on friends and family at the drop of a hat over any political disagreement. Our nation is ripe for a plunge into utter chaos, and that dystopian future will need a swamp king.

Here’s how to claw your way to the top, no matter how our democracy crumbles:

1) Nuclear War. Someone gets a little trigger happy, and nukes gut the topography of our planet like a gentle cleansing rain. Your first job here is to survive. You will need to immediately become comfortable with the idea of eating another human being, and couple that with the knowledge that the radiation poisoning experienced by your meal will eventually warp your mind. Run with it. Get as crazy as possible. Wear a bear’s head as a hat. Gnaw on human bones. Your personal brand needs to move from “Gentle yogi” to “Sweet Jesus, what is that thing” as quickly as possible. Start rumors that you murder for sport (or actually murder for sport, if you want to live authentically). Soon your reputation will be so formidable that those who once feared and despised you will now flock to you for safety and comfort. Congratulations, you’re the swamp king.

2) Militant State. Uh oh, we have a dictator now. DO NOT PANIC. Unfortunately, we live in a digital age, so you don’t have the “burn your political s**t” option that we did back in the good old days. The good news? Everyone loves a good #transformationTuesday. You need to start branding your Instagram hard, right now. Build out a 10-to-12 post storyline on your social media about how you’re slowly coming around to the ideals of the new regime. Tag your new leader. DM your new leader. Seduce your new leader. Marry your new leader. Murder your new leader. Become your new leader. Congratulations, you’re the swamp king.

3) Non-Human Overlords. Our computers/monkeys/vehicles (I see you, Disney/Pixar’s Cars) have finally outpaced us and realized that we are destroying the planet and each other at a truly horrifying rate. They have taken over for the sake of the planet, and humanity now plays second fiddle to creatures that were once subservient to us. You will now need to make yourself indispensable to your new overlords, whether that means managing the human labor force or knowing how to perform an oil change with your tiny human hands. You will eventually become a confidante of the current leader, despite the warnings of her allies, until you are determining her every move and political decision, a la Theoden and Grima. Congratulations, you’re the swamp king.

Hopefully these tips set you up for success in the coming age of anarchy and darkness! Obviously, you don’t want to see the world crumble amidst widespread catastrophe surrounded by the agonizing screams of the innocent, but someone has to step up and take charge, so why not you? Go get ‘em, girl.

Emily Ball is an improviser, bartender, and stand-up comedian based out of Dallas, Texas. In her free time, she likes to moderate arguments between her cat, Debbie, and her dog, Tucker.