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Not everyone is cut out to be an outdoorsy person

But you can sure as hell fake it

March 30, 2011
By Ben H. Moffat, letters@graffitiwv.com
Chances are now that the weather is getting warmer and the days getting longer, someone is going to organize a camping trip, hike or picnic. All of which are fantastic ideas - until you’re running away from a swarm of bees or being eaten alive by mosquitoes as you think to yourself: “Am I going to be one of the few people to get contract malaria without leaving the United States?”

In other words, you might be a person who doesn’t take the outdoors like a duck to water. The outdoors is full of animals and plants that seem beautiful at first but are really out to make your life miserable.

If that’s the case, here’s something to consider:

In the documentary “Collapse,” investigative journalist Michael Ruppert said something like, “When a bear attacks a campsite, you don’t have to be faster than the bear just faster than the slowest camper.”

Always remember that, literally and figuratively. You don’t have to really enjoy the outdoors or even be terribly good at adapting to your new surroundings. You just have to be better than the worst person at it. Don’t try to out-do yourself.

The world is full of people who are versions of Daniel Boone or Sacagawea or Davy Crockett. These people see the wilderness, they respect it, and then they tame it without a second thought. Respect these people because they have skills you don’t have. Accept that.

- One of our first steps to surviving the outdoors:

If you aren’t Daniel Boone or Sacagawea, don’t start acting like it. - Don’t volunteer to go fishing if you don’t know how to bait a hook or take that fish off the hook once you catch it. - Don’t say you know what types of flower are edible. - Don’t volunteer to start the campfire because it’s not as easy as your dad or mom made it look. - Don’t say you’ll lead a hike because you’re going to get lost. And for the same reason, don’t be the caboose. Haven’t you seen Deliverance? You’ll be left behind and take a wrong turn, then you’ll wish Burt Reynolds was around to save you.

Are you getting all of this? Good.

- Second step:

Always assist and retain your dignity. If someone who is a Daniel Boone or Sacagawea volunteers to set up the tent, say you’ll help out. Don’t pretend you know anything about tents and have the common courtesy to tell the other person that you haven’t pitched a tent (get your mind out of the gutter) in a long time. Maybe you say you haven’t since you were camping in the Yukon Territory and it was a different kind to tent (get your mind out of the gutter!). Now you may be saying to yourself, “I haven’t been hiking in the Yukon Territory.” It doesn’t matter. If you’re pressed for specifics, well, this shouldn’t be the first lie you’ve told and use your city-slicker skills. Basically, follow everyone else’s lead but don’t be afraid to tell some white lies. You stick to that and you won’t make a fool of yourself and thus retain some of your dignity.

That being said, don’t be a doofus and start saying things you can’t back up. Eventually someone is going to ask you to start a fire and you’re going to be rubbing two sticks together and look like an idiot when the sun goes down and all you’ve got to show are blisters. If you start to lie about how you’re adaptable like Robinson Crusoe and end up looking like the step-mom in “The Parent Trap,” you’ll never be invited back.

- Another rule:

This isn’t your home. Don’t do any drugs you haven’t done before. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re being hunted by a monster with red eyes. Don’t drink too much. Stumbling around the forest and then realizing you don’t know where you are (cue Burt Reynolds…hopefully) is also a very scary proposition.

And that is it.

Accept who you are. You are not an outdoors person. But that doesn’t make you a failure. You’re perfectly capable of throwing an excellent party. That is a skill not many people have. You are good at remembering people’s birthdays. You give good hugs. You are an impeccable driver. You are a good friend. Don’t let the outdoors tell you those things don’t matter. Civilization will always love you for those qualities. And hopefully your friends will love you enough to make sure you don’t get eaten by a bear.

Good luck out there. Just play it cool. Real cool.

 
 

 

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