Moultrie Observer

November 14, 2012

Adapt, improvise and overcome!

Dwain Walden
The Moultrie Observer

MOULTRIE — I’ve noticed that there are so many cable channels to fill up with programming these days that some shows tend to run their courses very quickly.

I used to watch those survivor shows like “Man vs. Wild,” “Dual Survivor” and “Survivor Man.” I grew up roaming the swamps and woods and some of the first books without pictures that I read were from James Fennimore Cooper of “Last of the Mohicans” fame.

And I’ve always been intrigued about how our ancestors battled the elements and literally survived. No convenience stores, no cell phones, no toilet paper.

Now when I talk about survivor shows, I’m not talking about “Doomsday Preppers” where those people stock their basements with dried limas, dehydrated fruits, guns and ammunition. The survivor shows I’m talking about deal with scenarios that might really happen to someone like getting lost while hiking, or maybe you’re shipwrecked on an island — rare events, but they do happen.

I’ve learned a lot from those shows, and I discovered that I knew a few things that they didn’t. I was never a Boyscout, but being an outdoorsman from the time I was very young and being a farm boy did not slight me for not being a boy in uniform.

But apparently none of these aforementioned shows have come back for a new season. I guess there are just so many bugs you can eat and so many fires and shelters you can build. Those guys have pretty much been stranded in all of the possible remote locations — desert, swamp, mountains, jungles, frozen tundra, etc. But I did notice that none of them covered a scenario that involved banjo music.

It wasn’t that long ago that I assisted in taking some young teenage boys camping. I was amazed at the fact that none of them knew how to build a fire even with matches. They didn’t know about pine lighter wood.

I guess I had just taken for granted that anyone could build a fire. After demonstrating how to chip some splinters from a pine stump to begin the process, every one of those kids wanted to build his own fire. I said to myself, “Lordy what have I started?”

So I think these reality shows did have some socially redeeming qualities. Now the chances of getting stranded on the Serengheti Plain or in the Australian outback are very rare to non-existent for most of us, but some survival skills are universal. I have noticed that if you have a choice, it’s best to get stranded where there are no wild animals that can eat you.

Now when it comes to those Doomsday Preppers, their premise is that our society will break down from within or from some Holacaust-grade conflict, and we will have to arm ourselves and hoard staples in the vein of those old “Road Warrior” movies.

I know there are implications that our society is “devolving” as is illustrated in that TV show “Honey Boo Boo,” but I don’t think we’re anywhere near living in caves and teaching our kids to shoot AK47 assault rifles.

Once I saw a movie where a major corporation took some of its key executives and dropped them in the wilderness. Of course the theme was about “team building.” It involved about a dozen people. They had to assess each other’s abilities and assume duties relative to those abilities. They had to survive and find their way out of that wilderness.

Yes, this was a movie. But I’ve read where a few companies have simulated this design.

The catch was, participants had to volunteer. What a hard way to suck up!

Hey here’s a novel idea! What if key members of Congress representing both political parties had to do this? You think it would work, or would we just wind up with two “Honey Boo Boo” shows?