Excerpt from Return of the Floozy
Have you seen that show Naked and Afraid on the Discovery Channel? It's a reality show where they drop two strangers -- a man and woman -- into a wilderness environment with only two items -- one each -- and neither item is clothing.
You might think this is recipe for hanky-panky or whatever the kids are calling it these days, but after a day or two with the couple being bitten and stung by hordes of hungry insects, sunburning in places the sun really shouldn't get to, feeling ravenously hungry and desperately thirsty, having their skin slashed by vines and plants, limping on feet bleeding from thorns and bruised by rocks -- hanky panky is the last thing on their minds. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to find the show is sponsored by the Clothing Manufacturers of America after seeing what clothes and shoes protect us from.
Of course, the Discovery Channel blurs what needs to be blurred; you seen more skin at the beach or the lake. And since these are not supermodels, the skin you do see isn't skin you'd want to see -- if you can follow that.
"Experts" give them a Survival Rating at the start and end of the show. By choosing to participate in such an insane and life-threatening situation, it's obvious the participants have the survivability of deranged lemmings and the intelligence to match. I suspect their family trees are more like telephone poles.
There's a lot of drama as the two discover that they not only have nothing in common with each other, but that they want the other participant dead. And possibly cooked over a slow fire. Because it's the 10th day and all they have had to eat was a couple of insects and some grass that tasted like... well, grass.
Supposedly the participants have survival training. They soon discover that training really relied on a lot of things: tents, matches, food, first aid kits, etc. They act surprised to learn they can't start civilization with just a knife and metal pot. And some of the decisions they make are astonishing. By astonishing, I mean stupid with a large dose of ignorance. The man who drank unboiled water from a dirty stream and had to rushed to a hospital; the man who chose swim goggles as his one item -- when he showed them to his partner, her face of frozen horror reminded me of Republican Congressmen when President Obama made his first State of The Union speech, but not quite as despairing; the man who -- ah -- did his business right beside their hut and was baffled when his partner complained... It boggles the mind.
The women, by the way, do fairly well in the series. They're helpful, smart, cooperative, and wise. I wonder what they're doing on that show. A friend of mine says the women come off better because the couple don't have to fight off bears or savage natives. Apparently, he believes men would do a better job of that. I didn't point out that it's hard to fend off a bear with swim goggles.
I assume the people are wiser afterwards. They learn that the wilderness doesn't care if you have cameras trained on you, that Adam and Eve only got away with it because God was watching over them, and that it’s hard to beat a 4-star hotel near a beach for a real holiday.
I don’t know that, of course. They might be as dumb as when they started. About the only thing we do know for sure is that they’re sick, exhausted, and have lost a lot of weight. Whee. Doesn't it make you want to go?
Me, neither. I think I shall remain Clothed and Happy.
(Excerpt from Return of the Floozy. Copyright 2013 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.)