Have you ever seen Naked and Afraid? Think of it as Survivor minus the tribal councils and rewards challenges. Making it to 21 days without “tapping out” (or killing your partner) is your reward. Oh, and it’s got nudity. But after a few minutes that’s a total non-issue.
Oh, but those first few minutes are glorious…
Anyway. On practically every episode one of the contestants will at some point say, “This is a lot harder than I thought it would be!”
You are plopped into the middle of the wilderness in some remote, exotic locale (or Alabama) with nary a stitch of clothing and tasked to survive for 21 days with a complete stranger while fending off insects, wild animals, raging thunderstorms, and intestinal distress. If you’re lucky, you might get to eat a lizard every fourth day. Your partner is often an incompetent, arrogant prick/prickette with a totally opposite worldview than yours. You’ll be hungry and thirsty and tired and weak and will end up looking like shit on national television. At some point you’ll probably bleed a little (or a lot). Your shelter will leak or fall apart or burn down. You’ll struggle to start a simple fire, and once you finally get one going after five days, it’ll start raining on the sixth and put it out.
And you didn’t think it was going to be difficult? Have you never watched an episode of this show before deciding to appear on it!?
Common sense, people. I have never been a mathematician but I don’t need to try to solve quadratic equations for 21 days to figure out it’s hard as hell. Duh.
Man, I don’t even like trying to figure out how to zip together two sleeping bags when we go camping. And I’m fully clothed when that happens! Well, usually. Hats off to these contestants. They’ve got more fortitude than I do. Even if they are delusional as hell.
And, what’s their reward? Aside from public humiliation in front of a national audience, I mean? There is never any mention of a cash prize. I hope they’re not doing it for one of those silly “Why did I climb the mountain? Because it was there!” bits of twisted George Mallory logic. The only positive outcome is a boost to their PSR (Primitive Survival Rating, a measurement of that contestant’s wilderness savvy). They start out with some random, predetermined number – say, 6.2 – and might emerge three weeks later with a 6.7. Whoopty-doo. Who’s that going to impress? There are only so many cocktail parties you’ll attend in your life where that story will be met with anything other than glazed eyes and whispered here she goes again bragging about her PSR! conversations behind your back. It’s not even something you can put on a resume, you know? Unless you’re applying for a job at Cabela’s.
Not even then, actually.
This is why you couldn’t pay me enough to go through the ignominy of ever appearing on this (or any other) reality television show. The benefit-cost ratio just plain sucks. You get five minutes of titillation tops, depending on your partner, and then you’re just stuck being naked (and hungry and tired and, yes, afraid) for another 30,235 minutes if you make it to the end. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t make me want to clamor to sign up.
Tara and I are meeting up with Scott and Esther later this week for a camping trip on the Oregon coast. We’re staying in a yurt, for crying out loud. With a skylight. And we’ll have a cooler full of booze.
Look out. My PSR might go down a few notches after this trip…