There ain't nothing better than watching some dude in the woods pick the berries out of bear poop and then plop them in his mouth.
For a time in the mid to late 2000's, I was into survival shows: Man v. Wild, Survivorman, The View. I was intrigued by the idea that there are still places in this world that require a twelve-inch Crocodile Dundee knife to eat dinner or cut open an old milk jug. I'd watch every episode in hopes to see what our survival heroes would do and eat next. I witnessed the digestion of reindeer eyeballs, rotten zebra corpse and human urine... and that was just Joy Behar's mid morning brunch.
During my semi-brief stint of Survival-vision fandom, I gained a great knowledge base of survival techniques to ensure that my chiseled, stalwart and astute DNA live on for the rest humankind to enjoy and behold.
I feel confident that my extensive training would ensure my survival in any condition, in any circumstance, in any place. The lessons I have endured by the wise, plump Les Stroud and the shirtless, tight-abbed Bear Grylls have prepped me for survival of the harshest climates. I give you the five most important survival skills that I learned from survival television.
1. Always carry a sharpened stick. You never know when you are going to need to spear something in self defense or for food.
Television application: Bear Grills used a series of sharp sticks to combat wild boar and hungry lions. Stroud uses a sharp stick to spear fish.
Television backfire: The stick is no match for a charging rhino.
Real world application: Sharpened sticks are great for reaching your McDonald's bag when you parked a little too far away from the drive through window. A series of sharp sticks on your porch will also keep rambunctious door-to-door salesmen at bay.
Real world backfire:The stick accidentally jabs me in the eardrum when I attempt to use it to clean out my ears.
2. If it's edible, eat it. You never know when your next meal will be. It's better to eat something disgusting now than have an empty belly later.
Television application: Grills and Stroud ate just about anything they could manage to actually swallow. From maggots to scorpions to skunk meat, if it is edible, it was eaten.
Television backfire: The bugs drizzle all over their chins. The meat is rancid.
Real world application: Is your wife's lasagna not up to par? It's better to shut up and eat it than leave it on your plate or say something and never eat a home cooked meal again.
Real world backfire: Death by hot lasagna.
3. Always sleep somewhere dry, warm and away from bugs.
Television application: The survival boys would make a shelter in a tree, under a rock or in a snow cave to stay away from the elements.
Television backfire: The bugs still make their way into the tree, the rock drips water and the cave has an angry bear living in it.
Real world application: Always wait until they have changed the sheets at The Anniversary Inn before checking in.
Real world backfire: Without my knowledge, my four year old son took a nap in MY bed during the day AFTER playing in the sandbox and now I am paying the price.
4. Nudity is sometimes required for survival.
Television application: When Grills would cross a river, he would strip naked to keep his clothes warm and dry. (Ironically, this would also increase ratings, ensuring the survival of the show.)
Television backfire: The clothes still get wet.
Real world application: Sitting naked while waiting for your underwear to dry is okay as long as you are down to your last pair and as long as you dry your underwear in a drier.
Real life backfire: My wife tells me there is clean underwear in my dresser and to "put some clothes on! You look like a grizzly bear going through chemo."
5. Use any means available to start a fire.
Television application: Survivalists used batteries, flint, wood, lenses and matches to start fires.
Television backfire: Rain soaked logs and insufficient fuel made it often impossible to start a fire.
Real world application: If the automatic lighter on your barbecue won't work, light a match, throw it and run.
My real world backfire: Three or four times I have stunk up our house with the luscious odor of burnt arm hair.
Incidentally, "burnt arm hair" is my special fragrance of Cheeseboy cologne. Available at stores everywhere soon!