Lessons in Survival

This may be an indication that I need to go to sleep, but Backpacker Mag’s Survival Guide is making me freak the heck out.  If I try to hitch a ride on a glacier, it could flip over on me as it melts?!  Seriously?! Ah!  Too many things to learn. The true/false/multiple choice tests scattered throughout the magazine are sooo hard.  And usually I’m good, no I’m great, at multiple choice tests.  Why do they have to put the answers upside down in such small print at the bottom of the page?  Don’t they realize I’m trying to learn how to successfully navigate the wilderness?  I’m never going to remember this stuff.

That’s it: I can visualize my demise in the middle of the desert right now.  Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking, that I’m not even going to be hiking in a desert, but don’t you realize that I’ll have taken a wrong turn at the fourth tree to the left of the trail by the overhang and will have ended up in Utah?  These things can happen.  Really.  Goodness sakes, I need to start taking notes and highlighting the pages if I’m going to have more than a snowflake’s chance in a hailstorm of getting out alive.

Calm down, Jor, calm down.  You’ll be fine.  Think!  Everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten…or at least as a kid who spent way too much time in front of the TV.

I didn’t have to read Backpacker to know to jump into water if attacked by bees.  I learned and re-learned that lesson every time that I watched My Girl through a stream of my own tears (“Where are his glasses?  He can’t see without his glasses!”  Even now, just thinking about that scene makes me choke up.).

And The Lion King taught me how to deal with a wild boar (OK, warthog, close enough): try not to position yourself downwind and, whatever you do, don’t call him a pig. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s all you need to know about boars.  (Hey, did you know that Pumbaa and Timon were based on the characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from Hamlet?  What an interesting literary comparison that would be for some astute high school student.  Thank you, Wikipedia, for a truly nerdy tidbit.)

And despite the fact that the magazine says to “spread out your arms and legs to get as horizontal as possible” in quicksand, I must disagree. Clearly, you should grab the nearest vine, take a deep breath, and dive straight into the quicksand to save your companion.  And don’t forget to watch out for ROUSes.  I didn’t watch The Princess Bride dozens of times in my youth for nothing.

Phew! OK, I’m feeling better now. I think I’ll be alright after all.

Meandering on,



10 thoughts on “Lessons in Survival

  1. How do I have my degree in English, but I’m just now learning that Pumbaa and Timon are based on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?! That’s what they should’ve been teaching me. I should’ve figured since Lion King is so similar to Hamlet. Imagine how different the Lion King would’ve been if those two died.

    • Definitely not as vicious as squirrels. My friend and I have been keeping track of squirrel encounters all across the country. I used to think they were worst on college campuses. Now I’m feeling national parks…

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