The premise is simple: Pay the producers boucoup bucks to scour the Earth (read=Google) to find people who, due to their bravery and penchant for adrenaline, have found themselves in inexplicable situations in which all the odds point to the fact that they simply will not live through the event long enough to be rescued. And once they have clearly established just how dire the situation is, they proceed to weave snippets of interviews with the actual victims into reenactments of the event, and all so they can lead up to the triumphant conclusion that yes, you may be a loser of a human being with advanced hypothermia and a peg leg, but if you have the will power, you WILL be able to climb down that mountain and be reunited with your mail-order bride and adopted children from the Ukraine.
And, I will admit that I’ve caught myself crying with joy near the end of one or two episodes.
However, I’ve recently learned something of value that they don't tell you: In nearly every instance, the reason this person found themselves to be a victim of circumstance was due to nothing but their own bad judgment; it was all their own fault. Which made me quickly relinquish those tears of joy in favour of a blistering fax to The Discovery Channel.
Now. I’ve never considered myself to be a particularly unsympathetic sort of person. I mean, I do my part each Christmas by crying when I see those commercials that beg you to send in money to support the local Mission. I nearly reach for my checkbook each time that Father Christmas guy comes on begging for money to feed the children; the same children who are obviously slackasses and too self-absorbed to get jobs. Seriously. What ever happened to setting up roadside stands and selling lemonade? Or, if you’re in Africa, rocks? It was good enough for me and my sister, and we did quite well in our Bel Air neighbourhood.
And please...I’m no hero, so don’t flood me with e-mail asking for interviews. I'm just an average girl, happy to do my part to make life on Earth better for everyone.
But after about ten episodes, I realised there was a disturbing pattern began to develop as each one drew to a close. When they showed the clip from the final interview with the victim who was relating his story in his own words, each person said the same thing. “I’m so grateful to be alive and would do it all again if given the chance.”
What the hell? Don’t these idiots ever learn a lesson from 48-hour exposure and dehydration-induced delirium from being stranded in the Amazon jungle because they were much too stupid to stay on the public trail? You mean if given the chance, you’d get lost at sea in the Atlantic ocean and sit adrift for 73-days without food or a way to poop? Apparently the lobe of the brain that controls even-tempered judgment was chewed off by some rabid wild dog. Are they really so determined to prove they’re not stupid that they put the snow mobile in the ravine and break a pelvis 65-miles from nowhere?
Have you heard of the mid-point principle? For pilots, it means that if we’re having engine trouble and we’ve not yet passed the point midway between take-off and landing, we must turn around and fly back to the original airport. It’s there for our protection, and removes the temptation for pilots to fly further than they can safely travel.
Just once I’d like to see someone realise they went further than was safe. Just once, I’d like to hear someone say, “Y’know, I learned my lesson; it was entirely my fault. I am too much of a moron to ever leave my house, and if I ever mention climbing Everest again at the age of 72 with no shins, I’ve instructed my wife to bust out the .38 in the nightstand and blow my brains all over the kitchen ceiling.”
But no. Instead, we’re treated to idiotic statements from the guy doing the voice over, like, “Tim was hospitalised for 8-weeks and suffered exposure so severe that he had to have all his limbs and colon amputated. But, he’s not let this stop him from living his life.”
And then you see Tim respond: “I love mountain climbing too much to give it up. Yep--my wife and I talked it over, and she’s supporting my decision to climb again. I may not have a torso, but I’m not going to let that keep me from doing what I love!”
Oh really. Well then don’t let me keep you. I’m sure there’s a German POW camp left over from WWII that needs a pizza delivered somewhere. Why don’t you volunteer? Maybe they’ll create a reality show about it.