Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Snuggling For Survival

A hole of your own.

Essentials for Wilderness Survival, Part 7: Nesting.

You may ask why you might want to build a nest in the woods. Here are some reasons you might consider:

  • Have a quiet place to lay your eggs.
  • Ensure privacy while changing your underwear.
  • Hide from UFOs and avoid distasteful probing episodes.
  • Because it's fun — like building a fort, but cozier.
  • Practice your outdoor fung shway skillz away from prying eyes.
  • Stay warm, sleep, remain alive, go home again.

Most people pick the last option. It's the lowest common denominator, like GoreTex jackets, or titanium sporks, and pretty much everyone understands how remaining alive works. After all, it's the core of wilderness survival, and you have had the way shown by such TV slime molds as Gear Bylls and ManSurvivor, so how hard could it be?

Well, kind of. Getting sponsors is not that easy any more.

Once upon a time, if you had any kind of idea at all, you got on TV. Big appliance companies and tobacco companies and personal hygiene companies and car companies were climbing all over each other to throw money at anyone who could stand in front of 10,000-watt kleig lights for half an hour and smile at a camera lens and not croak, because TV was new and exciting and more fun with live people than dead ones, even if their only talent was standing there and toothing mindless grins at the camera.

Nowadays you get air-dropped down onto the east branch of Upper Desolation Creek, in the never-visited far corner of Bleak County, with only your clothes, a knife, and a video camera. You stay for ten days, and if and only if the footage is OK (which you have to shoot yourself), and you come out alive, do they let you do another episode. Presuming you haven't had to eat your own foot to stay alive.

And even those niches are now full.

But what about more normal people? Like people without sponsors or video equipment? How do they cope without shelter in the wilderness?

Well, most of them die, but you don't have to, even if you don't get a contract or your own chain of SurvivEquip™ stores, featuring Gear Bylls Survival Stuff by ByllsGear® with that distinctive orange BS logo.

Some tips then...

  • For maximum safety, never go hiking.
    • If you never go outside, you never need any special skills.
    • Also, you never get lost as long as you have cab money and know your own address.
  • If you go hiking, don't go far.
    • True fact: Most people never walk anywhere — there's probably a reason for that, right?
    • It's best not to get out of sight of your apartment or condo. (Recall that Out of sight, out of mind saying? Don't be the one they forget!)
    • City parks are usually safe, in certain seasons, at the right time of the day, if patrolled by armed guards. Use yours.
    • If you tire of your own city park, try other cities.

But if the worst happens, and you go too far, and you can't find your way home again, then what?

  • Gather sticks. You can always find a use for sticks, but only if you have plenty, so make a stack of them.
  • Likewise, scrape up a big pile of leaves. Dry leaves make great insulation, so be sure to get lost in the fall.
  • Save up twine. To tie things together. Start when you're young so you have plenty by the time you go missing.
  • Don't panic, but prepare to face death calmly.
  • Keep your wits about you — you will need them if you survive. (Remember — you'll be dealing with agents, talent scouts, TV producers, and lawyers, if you're lucky.)

Step One: Stand by the road and throw sticks at passing cars to gain the attention of helpful drivers. If this doesn't work, then heap up your remaining sticks, and cover that mound with dry leaves. Now you have a home.

Step Two: Eat a hearty supper. Since food gives you energy to shiver all night, it's a good idea to eat a lot. Have someone drive you into town where you can get plenty of greasy, calorie-rich food, then go to bed right away.

Step Three: If something crawled into your hidey-hole before you got back, try reaching a compromise with it. Promise not to snore if you can just sleep on one side of the shelter — something like that. If all you hear in return is growls and snorts, it's probably not your lucky night. Start over with more sticks and leaves, but if it's already daylight by now, screw it. Forget about all that sleeping in leaves crap and just go home.

Step Four: If you did manage to get into your shelter, or part of it, go ahead and shiver all night, but be glad that at least it isn't raining. In case it starts to rain, swear. It probably won't hurt, unless you make enough noise to disturb your nest-mates. If so, you may be toast, or a complete breakfast. Give your ass a fond farewell kiss.

Step Five: Assuming that all went well, you made it home again. Now the real work begins. Right away, create a web site and start your own survival school. Maybe you'll even get your own TV show, if you can make enough dumb mistakes and survive them in a telegenic way. If you need tips, check out how Gear Bylls and ManSurvivor did it — they aren't getting any younger so this may be your chance. As a last resort, develop multiple personalities, go on the Jerry Springer show, and get into a fight with yourself. There's never enough of that on TV. It's a new category. They call it reality.