International wilderness conqueror Bear Grylls has stepped away from thorn-carpeted and rock-hurling nature just in time to publish a new survival book.
It’s called How to Stay Alive, and by cleverly observing the rhythms of the calendar, he’s able to help save people lost on the internet and starved of ideas, just in time for Christmas.
Judging by the extracts run in Saturday’s Times though, not much of his advice is likely to be of any genuine use, given that it assumes people will be up to their necks in some quite comically unlikely situations.
“You’re on a commercial aircraft,” he says. “Both pilot and co-pilot are incapacitated. What do you do?”
Other than make a confused face, a bit like Will from W1A, because Bear seems to have taken the plot of Airplane! as a real life scenario, you don’t need to do anything.
According to Wikipedia, “There is no record of a talk down landing of a large commercial aircraft.”
Having safely landed your 747, you’re going to need to identify which items in Mother Nature’s well-stocked larder are tasty and nutritious, and which are going to kill you.
Acorns – good, but soak in water for a few hours first. Yew trees – bad. Can cause death. Next…
Apparently he’d also “be lost without” his knife, and although the police website permits the carrying of knives you “use at work to and from work,” that excuse might keep Bear out of jail, but good luck finding the section in the book called “How to survive four years in HMP Belmarsh.”
Because that’s the penalty for carrying a knife illegally.
There’s a section on avalanches, which may genuinely be of value, although if you’re caught in the middle of one, he doesn’t much fancy your chances.
And some guff about fighting and what to eat in the jungle.
Then if you’re fortunate enough to survive until next weekend, you can move on to overcoming the attentions of a bear.
Although bears are notoriously hard to spot in the UK, in the US they are a killer.
This Canadian biologist claims that during the 1990s bears killed around three people each year in the US and Canada, compared to 15 people killed by dogs.
And around 90 by lightning.
Mr Grylls may make a handsome living from deliberately exposing himself to the sort of situations where recipes for snake come in handy, but the poor people who are going to be receiving this book on December 25 – what are they supposed to do?
Perhaps some more practical survival advice would be in order for Vol II, such as:
- What to do if technology deprives you of employment
- How to repel a sex pest once and for all
- Essential steps if you’ve just fallen down the stairs
- And most importantly, how to avoid exposure to this inane advice.