Sunday, February 11, 2001

Face it, he'd never make it a day on 'Survivor'

        One of those prime-time television “news magazines” aired a story last week on how to survive a night in the woods without becoming dead.

        A mountain man with hair like Thor took the unsuspecting reporter into the Colorado drifts and showed him how to get through the night, should the guy ever take a walk in the wilderness in the freezing cold and get lost. Which would be a really stupid thing to do.

        Why get lost in the woods when you can drive to a ballgame and get lost in the parking lot? You put me in those woods, I'm dead in 20 minutes.

        “First you build a fire,” Thor said.


        Next, I'll build a temple to the gods, then downtown Tokyo. I can't build anything. My father-in-law built his own house. I buy hammers that say THIS END FOR WHACKING.

No assembly required

        Some assembly required? No, my friend. I don't do assembling. Not only should the batteries be included, they better be installed.

        A while ago, I bought this net to hit golf balls into. I paid extra because it came already assembled. To open it, you cast it like you're trying to catch fish.

        That was fun. What they didn't tell me was that I had to fold it up when I was done. “Position your feet by the red markers,” the instructions said.

        What red markers?

        “Move your left foot halfway around the bottom loop. Set your foot down on the blue marker. Transfer your right hand up to the top hand hole position. Then move your left hand up and grab the blue marker on the top loop.”

        Who do I look like, Gumby?

        The thing popped up and crushed me in the head.

        “DO NOT let go of the net, since it can pop open again from this position.”


        Back in the woods, Thor told the reporter he'd need 20 or 30 downed trees to protect himself from the cold. What was he heating? Delaware?

        The reporter did as he was told. Thor then broke out some magic chunk of rock, which he smacked on another chunk of rock and there was fire.

        As I recall, Tom Hanks tried the same move in Cast Away, flopping so miserably he started talking to a volleyball. But never mind.

Failure as a forefather

        Thor then said the reporter needed to keep himself hydrated. Eating snow wouldn't suffice. Thor advised the reporter to stuff some snow in his sock, melt it over the fire, then drink the drippings.

        Are you kidding me? Drinking water out of a sock that's been in a boot that smells like the Dark Ages? Couldn't I just lick a fern? Or, you know, die?

        Sometimes, on vacation we'll tear ourselves away from the pool or the AC to visit a “historic site.” These are usually places the park service has salvaged from some greedy developer who wants the land for a Pep Boys. Once there, we'll read about our forefathers, who fashioned entire towns out of sticks, dirt and animal skins.

        I'd never have made it as a forefather.

        The reporter, bless him, drank the sock-water. Then, Thor showed him how to make a smoky fire, to signal the helicopter pilots just cruising the vast Colorado wilderness looking for idiots.

        Smoke-covered, freezing and drunk from sock-water, the reporter was ready to be rescued. So was I. The net had me trapped like a 50-pound dolphin. Somebody call Thor.

        Contact Paul Daugherty at 768-8454; fax: 768-8330.


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