Circling the Drain

Be vewy vewy quiet! I’m hunting meaning in life.

Here’s a story about a hunter getting lost in the forests near Mendocino, CA, for 19 days. His survival was ‘miraculous’ according to the report.

Maybe I’m missing something, but: Huh? I’d assume, if the dude were a competent hunter, that he’s lost in the woods with;

  • – a gun;
  • – ammo;
  • – good sturdy footwear;
  • – suitable clothes for the area and time of year.

Soooo – isn’t he excellently equipped to survive? Wouldn’t his *failure* to survive be more shocking? The coastal range near Mendocino, while no walk in the park, ain’t the High Sierra neither. We’re not talking about 20′ drifts of snow this time of year, probably just a light dusting.

My father’s generation would have been embarrassed by getting lost – this, pre-GPS – and embarrassed by having made people go look for you. And, if they had died, they would have done so under a shroud of presumed incompetence. A hundred an fifty years ago, many settlers in the truly wild areas would have considered a fall hunting trip to stock the larder before winter a routine thing.

This got me to thinking: My mom, who was born in 1919, could start with a live chicken or rabbit and turn it into dinner in a couple hours; my father build a house in his spare time. These were people with high school educations, raised in rural areas of Texas and Oklahoma. They would no doubt think it very stupid to get lost while out hunting, but be unsurprised by the dude’s survival.

This – this right here – is what I mean by dumbing us down. We Americans come from people like my parents, people who assumed anyone with a reasonable claim on adulthood could take car of themselves. I think many people today would starve surrounded by canned goods if they couldn’t get power for the electric can opener.

These are also people who assumed they could govern themselves, and instinctively resisted and resented suggestions that they could not.

Anyway, turns out the lost hunter was 72 years old, which casts the event in somewhat different light – but not that different, if he is indeed mentally and physically competent.

Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

2 thoughts on “Circling the Drain”

  1. Hi Joseph,

    I’m in agreement with your assessment on the dumbing down of moderns. Nonetheless, you’ll notice it was “the report” that called his survival miraculous. I’m sure the 72 year old did many a wise thing to survive 19 days – that is a fair piece of time with the basics carried for a day hunt. Those Conestogas were jam packed with all kinds of necessities to make life relatively comfortable and survivable. Mr. Lost only had a heavy and poor cane once his ammo ran out.

    Getting lost always contains a fair amount of incompetence, yet it is quite common. When it happens in your car, it is a nuisance. When it happens in the woods, you are uncomfortably leaching calories into your environment until you are un-lost.

    1. Oh, yes, I’m impressed that the guy made it, must be a tough and resourceful old dude – I’m just not miraculously surprised.

      I mean, on an entirely different level: I’ve had a teenage friend of my daughter gush: “You make your own croutons!?! How cool!” as if I’d cured cancer or something. It’s the sense of proportion that’s out of whack.

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