By Gazelle Emami
A man alone in the wilderness bends fearlessly over a precipice, planning his first move. “First,” he says, squinting into the sun, “I must find my bearings.” With a no river in sight, he bounds down the edge of the sheer drop and begins his search for nourishment.
Night falls and a storm rumbles overhead. The man is discouraged—he’s already drank some muddy water and eaten a sheep’s eyeballs, so he’s doing alright. But with no shelter and temperatures dropping rapidly, survival seems unlikely. That is, until, he comes across a rotting deer carcass. Energy renewed, the man guts the carcass, huddles inside of it for shelter, and survives the thunderous night.
Sound like fiction? It's not. It's all just another day in the life of Man vs. Wild star Bear Grylls. In fact, everything above is true, except for one detail—the part about our story's hero being a mere man. Because British adventurer Bear Grylls is crazier than your average man. I’m not talking Gnarls Barkley crazy or R. Kelly bat-shit crazy. I’m talking I-will-squeeze-the-juice-from-elephant-dung-into-my-mouth crazy. I’m talking oh-look-here’s-some-quicksand-why-don’t-I-just-jump-into-it crazy.
Let me explain. On the Discovery Channel reality series, Grylls is dropped in remote locations around the world until he finds civilization, left to survive with little more than a knife. Fresh into its second season, the show’s purpose is to show you the skills you would need to survive if you were to ever find yourself lost in the wild. While I could never do most of the things Grylls does, I’ve picked up on a few skills. Among them, I’ve learned how to tell when the sun will go down, the best way to catch a fish, how to get out of quicksand, and that elephant dung is sterile.
The show’s real draw is not its educational value, but rather witnessing just how far Grylls will go. He survives by essentially being a ballsier version of MacGyver. Don’t get me wrong, MacGyver ranks high on the badass meter. But when it comes down to it, will he drink his own urine? I don’t think so.
Catch an episode of Man vs. Wild tonight at 11 p.m. on The Discover Channel. New episodes air every Friday at 9 p.m.