Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Makin' Bacon Or Surviving The Wild

A couple of nights ago, I was channel flipping, when I came across a show on MTV called "Trippin'." The show follows a tedious and shrill Cameron Diaz and her celebrity "friends" as they go on eco-tours of various locales. The noise pollution that comes out of Diaz's mouth almost negates the pro-environment and conservation agenda she is rightfully pushing. "Nepal is, like, so AWESOME." Can someone gag her with a spoon already.

This week, she embarked on a two day hike in Wyoming with: (1) Rebecca Romijn, (2) some no-name extreme sports cipher and (3) DMX. Casting the clearly disturbed DMX on a show where there would be a lot of hiking and camping was pure genious. He began the episode by sleeping excessively, and complaining a lot. To his castmates. Hours on his cell phone complaining to his wife. Then, once the trip began, DMX began complaining almost immediately about the hike.

Cameron: Isn't it, like, so beautiful up here?

Extreme Sports Cipher and Romijn: Yeah, it's worth it...totally... real cool...totally...

DMX (rasping and out of breath after a mile hike with a 650 foot ascent -- I have paraphrased and added emphasis to faithfully recreate his hip hop intonations): NO-IT'S-BUH-HULLShit. Not sure why I'm here. Don't understand why I am here. I-DON'T-NEED to see this view in person. I could have seen this shit on-a-PO-OST-CARD and been fine. That's what I really want. What I really want.

Later, after a night in a tent, DMX explodes out of the tent in a blind rage. He mumbled something about the woods and maybe bears. Shortly thereafter, we see him on some militaristic satellie phone. I thought at first that he was calling in an airstrike on another campsite on some nearby butte. Instead, he was calling to complain some more to his wife. He was awesome.

As an avid hiker, I found that he raises some good points about hiking/camping safety. I am totally unprepared for "what if" scenarios. It's all existentialism with me; map out a ten mile route, walk and see.

The only time I faced anything remotely resembling a dangerous situation was when an ex-girlfriend and I were on a hike in the Congaree National Swamp Monument in South Carolina. There were many critters there. A lot of swamp deer, which are like regular deer except with tattoos, strong accents and more grit. We came across a lone, very lost emu (really lost, emus are native to Australia, not South Carolina). A lot of gators that we didn't see, but knew were lurking on the gorged lake that was right next to one of the paths we were traversing.

At one point, a family of feral pigs darted across our path. With this, my girlfriend had enough, and insisted we turn around. I kept insisting that it was cool, but frankly my plan to take on the feral pigs if they attacked was primitive to say the least: I was going to kick those fuckers into hams.

I do a lot of moutain hiking too, and have yet to see a bear. I am pretty disappointed because I think seeing a bear would be awesome. Perhaps one of them would offer me a trout and we'd form a close bond, like Grizzly Adams did with Ben the Bear.

Where I hike, most of the bears are black bears, which are mostly shy and afraid. But, if they attacked, my plan for dealing with that situation is just as shitty as my feral pig attack plan. I won't go into any details, but let's just say it involves a pen knife and a lot of distraction (I once described the plan to a friend in detail, and she laughed at me for an hour straight).

I guess I don't bother coming up with a contingency plan for worst case scenarios when I am out "in nature" because I am pretty convinced that (i) that shit happens infrequently and (ii) I don't ever imagine myself being one of those poor schlubs to whom that random shit happens. The reality is when it comes to surviving nature, generally the odds of suriving it safely are on your side. But, frankly, if I actually do get killed by a pack of feral pigs or something equally random when I am on my next hike, don't be sad. Rest assured, I would have thought it was pretty funny, in a dark, ironic way.


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