This Christmas I got a book titled The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook.
Contained within were tidbits of information on how to survive shark attack, a volcano eruption, even what to do when the pilot passes out leaving you to land the plane.
It’s an interesting read, but I am a visual person and have learned much more about survival from watching movies than from the pages of this book.
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From this weekend’s The Grey, a man versus nature tale starring Liam Neeson, I learned that empty airplane booze bottles can be broken, wedged between your fingers and repurposed as Wolverine-style knuckles of death.
Hopefully I’ll never have to use that trick, but it is just one of many lessons learned at the movies.
Alive, the story of Uruguay’s rugby team whose plane crashed in the middle of the Andes mountains, I learned that cannibalism is a good way to stave off hunger pangs.
A similar lesson was taught in the Robert Redford film Jeremiah Johnson, based on a real-life trapper named John Johnston, nicknamed “Liver Eater Johnston” for his habit for cutting out and eating the livers of men he killed.
From the true-to-life mountain climbing movies 127 Hours and Touching the Void, I learned perseverance.
In the former a man is wedged literally between a rock and a hard place. To get free he cuts off his own arm with a pocketknife. Now that’s stick-to-itive-ness!
The latter sees a man with a severely broken leg crawling his way out of a deep crevice to safety.
From Cast Away, Tom Hanks’s stranded-on-a-desert-isle movie, I learned how to build a raft from a portable toilet, and how, in lieu of friends, a soccer ball with a bloody handprint can be man’s best friend.
Should you find yourself stranded on a snowshoer mountain top think back to the Lance Henriksen movie Survival Quest; not only does it teach viewers to forage for food and raft raging waters, but also how to dig an ice cave to survive the bitter cold.
In case of a zombie attack the classic George A. Romero movies teach us all we need to know. Remember the rhyme: “Shoot the living dead in the head.”
Should you find yourself in mortal combat with a monster, another tip learned from dozens of other horror films suggests that once you’ve slain the creature, don’t double check to make sure its really dead.