I’ve decided to blame the decay of outdoors television on one man: Bear Grylls, of the Discovery Channel’s “Man vs. Wild.” For those of you who don’t know, Grylls is a Brit adventurer/special forces/survival expert who throws himself into hell holes like the Sahara desert, the Everglades, and the Australian Outback with nothing but the clothes he wears, a knife, a canteen, and his Marriott Rewards club gold card …*
Bear bills himself as the ultimate survivor, and while you, hopefully, will never find yourself hopelessly abandoned in Kenya, he shows you it is indeed possible to drink from a squeezed elephant turd. He also drinks his own pee. I was so grossed out, I tuned out, then morbid fascination prompted me to tune in three weeks later to find Bear in another bind a continent away, saying to the camera something like “uh-oh, it looks like I have to drink my pee again.”
I’m sorry, Bear, you may be a world-beater, and I’m sure you could kick my ass in a jungle fight, but I think I’m more an ultimate survivor than you. I make my coin in the outdoors, guiding and writing about fishing and hunting, and I none of what I do involves drinking from the trouser-tap.
Wanna show me survival? Endure a night of two-fers at the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson, Wyoming, and still make it to the boat launch by daybreak. Push a dory through Cemetary Rapids on the Roaring Fork during runoff. Work your way through a day of yelling “strike” to a client 3,000 times without suffering an aneurysm. Stake out on a tarpon spot off Islamorada without passing your plan by the local guides beforehand, and see where that gets you.
I get the radical approach. But don’t snow me, man. It ain’t working … at least not here.
*If you got the joke, good. If not, comment, and I’ll explain.