Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

October 3, 2013

On the modern frontier

They say the one thing you should do in case you find yourself in a survival situation is not to panic. As far as I’m concerned, the best thing is to find a fast food joint and order a Big McSomething and a chocolate shake.

Everyone has a fear of finding themselves in a situation where they must survive on their will and knowledge of what to do in such situations. Unfortunately, in today’s world where people depend on Kroger, Old Navy, Public Service, and Uncle Harry’s Modular Home Sales, the possibility of the average person being able to fend for themselves is quite slim. Only a very small percentage of people could find shelter or force themselves to eat grubs when nothing else is available. I have to admit that dining on something that doesn’t have fur or legs would be a last ditch, desperate move, but if worse came to worse I might consider it.

Having spent a few weekends idling around inside while waiting for the lawn to grow enough to mow, I spent some time thinking about continued existence should the plug be pulled on our cushy, pampered lifestyle. Or, in another scene, what if a hapless soul found themselves hopelessly lost in the wilderness with no hope of rescue for a long time. Could the average person find the three main ingredients necessary to guarantee returning to the real world of depending on the local Mini-Mart?

Those three necessities are shelter, fire, and food in that order. I didn’t include clothing because if anyone gets caught in a dire situation while buck naked, they deserve the inevitable outcome. So for realistic purposes, at least some type of clothing is assumed to be available. As far as shelter is concerned, the objective is to construct something to break the wind and offer at least minimal protection from the elements. For simplicity’s sake we’ll assume that the unfortunate victim is stranded with a hatchet and a K-Bar knife with an eight inch blade and a serrated saw-toothed back. With these tools, small trees can be cut to construct a lean-to. If neither of these tools are readily at hand, a one-man cross-cut saw will suffice. The structure can then be covered with the tarpaulin, also on hand, as a roof. Everyone knows that these are essential items for survival and should be kept readily at hand at all times.

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