Wednesday, June 10, 2015

10 Essential Myths — First Aid

Number five: Getting a bit wound up.

Of all the things you could take backpacking with you that are not needed to do the backpacking, first-aid supplies come at the top of the list.

First-aid supplies don't help you get up in the morning. They don't feed you. They aren't fun to play with. (Although if you're stuck in your tent waiting out a week of rain, you might see what you can do.)

First-aid supplies won't make you smarter, won't let you hiker farther, won't help you take better photos, but they might save your life.

They might.

If you're the sort of dildo who sets himself on fire every day or so. If you're the sort of doofus who falls off mountains pretty regularly. If you're the sort of whiz-bang, coonskin-hat-wearing ding-dong howling random incompetent who shouldn't even be allowed to know that there is such an implement as a knife.

If even one of those descriptions fits you, then maybe you're lucky to still be here. If so, then the rest of us aren't. Sad but true.

This is where first-aid supplies can come in handy. For us as well as you, because someone coming back from getting water at the spring, seeing his tent flapping in the breeze and mistaking it for an attacking gryphon (or, really, any mythological creature) and then bombarding it with fist-sized stones isn't all that safe to be around.

At the very least we might want to tape down your arms and legs, put extra tape over your mouth, and decide tomorrow morning whether to peel it off or just leave you here.

So I guess first-aid supplies have some use after all.

Possibly. Though mostly they are things you carry around unused for years and years and, if you do turn up with a small cut or scrape, you find that all the bandage adhesive has dried out and any disinfectants or ointments have evaporated in their bottles leaving behind only a gummy residue, so you do without nevertheless. Such is life as we live it.

We more normal people.

You there, back at yesterday's camp, still bound up in tape, rolling on the ground struggling to free yourself, no. We don't think about you all that much now that we've gotten rid of you. We feel safe. Cozy. Relaxed, come to think of it, and we no longer worry about what you'll do next.

So maybe first-aid supplies are OK then.

And if you do get free and come galumphing after us, bounding gaily down the trail, well, we shall at the first opportunity turn once again to our handy first-aid kit in search of more weaponry.

Insect repellent is now considered part of first-aid. A good stiff spritz of it might at least slow you down. Probably worth a shot.

There's that tape, as long as it lasts, and if we hog-tied you once we can do it again.

Rubber gloves, if we have them, can power a slingshot, all the better (combined with a handful of pebbles) to zing you with.

Aside from the odd poking, prodding, or nipping implement, most of the other stuff in a first-aid kit wouldn't be that helpful, but all we really need is to distract you for a while, and slow you down so's we can scram outta your vicinity and make a clean getaway, so maybe, as long as someone made the mistake of inviting you to come on our trip, having a few first-aid supplies close to hand might not be a totally bad thing after all. A necessary evil.

Unlike you. The other kind of evil.