I am a lifelong urbanite whose nearest claim to a “wilderness adventure” involves running away from a couple of overly aggressive and possibly rabid squirrels.
Perhaps, that is why I find myself fascinated by a television show called “Man vs Wild”. The premise of the show is that each week the star of the show, a man who goes by the almost comically macho name of Bear Grylls, is unceremoniously dropped from a plane or helicopter into some remote and hostile natural environment. Then with the aid of usually nothing more than a knife and flint, he must survive how ever many days it takes him to find his way back to civilization.
As I’ve watched him endure the various hardships involved in surviving in the wilderness, I've often wondered just how much I could take…what would the breaking point at which I would just give up and die. Well, thanks to Mr. Grylls I now know…and it involves elephant dung.
In one particular episode Mr. Grylls finds himself in Kenya without a sign of water anywhere, while the merciless sun beats down on him. Not to worry he says, because he knows an old trick he learned in the military that just might save your life in this kind of situation. He then proceeds to lift a large chunk of fresh elephant dung and drinks the liquid that flows as he squeezes it.
Now, I have seen many other shows about people surviving while lost in the wilderness, but I had never seen anyone use that little maneuver before. Up until that point I thought I might have reached my limit for survival when I watched Mr. Grylls eat an uncooked egg straight from the nest or when he helped himself to a little meat from the leg of a fresh zebra carcass…but I wasn’t absolutely sure. Hey, maybe raw zebra meat doesn’t taste that bad.
However, I’m sure that none of us are in any doubt about the taste of the fluids from elephant crap and the expression on Mr. Grylls face spoke volumes indeed. So now I know that if Bear Grylls and I were ever lost together in Kenya without any water, while he’s off having a swig of freshly squeezed Dumbo juice, I’ll be busy digging a hole in the ground for him to bury me in after I’ve died of dehydration.
I only hope that he’ll bury me whole and not decide to dine on one of my legs…but I wouldn’t put it past him.