Monday, July 22, 2013

Surviving in the wilds of America: Not naked, but still very afraid

"Sweet Jesus where's the car!?!?!?"

The other night I watched that sorta-new survival reality show “Naked and Afraid,” where a guy and a gal are dropped off at some exotic location to survive for a few weeks with no clothes, minimal tools and a camera crew taping their every move.
                It’s OK. The participants are indeed naked, but the only truly scary part was during the horribly awkward and stilted conversation the two people had when they first met, wearing nothing but their birthday suits and a smile.
                Tangent alert! The episode I watched broke one of my cardinal rules: It proclaimed to be “Uncensored,” but was, in fact, censored. I saw no boobies or man parts or lady parts. Why? Because they were blurred out. If I can’t hear a lady drop the “F” bomb while waving a nipple around, then you have no right to call your show “Uncensored.”
                Not that I really wanted to see any of those things. Our heroes weren’t exactly lookers, but it’s the principle of the thing.
                Anyway, early in the show, the participants are graded in three areas essential to making it through the show in one piece. They are graded using a 0-10 scale on: Outdoor Skills, Experience and Mental Toughness.
                Those three scores are then averaged together to give you the Primitive Survival Rating (PSR), or how good the person is likely to do on the show.  
                That got me thinking. What would my PSR be? I’m already fairly confident I’d be a complete disaster on the show. I have way too many body issues for me to ever get over being naked in front of a stranger and there aren’t enough poisonous snakes, giant spiders or killer plants in all the jungles to make me forget that.
                But still, let’s see how I’d stack up.

                Outdoor Skills
                Yeah, there’s not a lot here. I’m wildly inconsistent when it comes to starting fires and I’d definitely need matches or a lighter or some napalm just to get the thing started in the first place. I can walk for a while without getting tired, and I can carry a moderately heavy load on my back. I can also sharpen a mean stick for roasting hot dogs or marshmallows on.  So yeah, suck it Les Stroud.
                Grade: 1
                I used to go hiking and camping quite a bit back in the day with a friend who also happened to be an Eagle Scout. Of course, that just meant he did pretty much everything tough, while I wandered around collecting wood and getting giddy every time I saw a chipmunk. Still, some of the knowledge had to come my way through osmosis or something. Also, one time, I went kayaking and another time I went white water rafting when the river was easy.
                Grade: 2
                Here’s where things get interesting. I’m a complete basket case. I have some pretty bad OCD and I hate being dirty more than anything. For years that kept me from going in the ocean because I couldn’t stand the feel of sunscreen or the way saltwater feels after it dries on you. I also have a bit of a loner streak and prefer to do things by myself rather than work with a team. That’s usually better for everyone, because if I’m working with a team and something doesn’t work as planned, I tend to get frustrated and take it out on them. When I’m by myself, I get frustrated at myself and no one’s any the wiser. On the upside, I typically don’t complain much, I usually just internalize it. So that’s good. I guess. Or maybe it explains why I blow up when I get frustrated? God knows.
                Grade: 4
                So let’s see, that gives me a PSR of 2.3.
                Yeah that’s not good. The lowest one on the show I saw was like 6 something. So I’m not tough enough and too crazy for “Naked and Afraid,” I can’t cook so “Top Chef” is out, I don’t take steroids and I’m not a horrible racist so no “Big Brother,” I’m in a relationship so no “Bachelor.” I’m running out of reality shows.
                I guess it’s back to hoping “Murder in Small Town X” one day gets picked up for a long-awaited second season. I can roll with solving some spooky mysteries and even better no one watched that show but me so I won’t have to worry about getting camera shy.      

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