Sometimes I enjoy reading stories of wilderness survival. True tales of human endurance and the will to endure and conquer pain while trapped with nothing other than the elements for companionship. Stories of men and women forced to gnaw off their own limbs for sustenance. Many of these testaments to bravery intrigue for the very basic reason that they bear no resemblance to my life. I am a Wuss Scout travelling with troop 9-1-1. I earned my last merit badge for camping at a Holiday Inn. This afternoon I started to think about the elements it takes to survive. For a person who lives on stale coffee and Tic-Tacs, survival might be hard pressed. I began to wonder what would happen if there was some Red Dawn-ey situation. In every one of these movies, mysterious invaders from the North of something (North Dakota, Northumbria, North Narnia) swoop in and indoctrinate the hapless Americans like me.
I used to be a rugged, pirate type. At least in own mind. Often, I point to the fact that I once lived on Dum-Dum suckers for two weeks.Arrr…the suckers kept me alive. Back in those rugged, old days I’d drink a pot of coffee, clamp a Dum-Dum between my teeth and go into the fields to run with the deer. Now, the fear that I’ve gone soft has been realized. When I run, it isn’t with the deer. These days running is done on the sidewalk, sidestepping old ladies with small dogs and always with a fanny pack full of water bottles. Of course, many of those old ladies have shifty, northern eyes. I eat wholesome, quality food now to keep my strength up, but secretly long for the old suckers and muddy java. Those midnight runs in the pasture may have been long ago, but they were all mine. I had a bit of the savage survivor in me, after all, it seems.