I Have No Survival Skills And I Am Going To Die

I read and re-read Hatchet by Gary Paulsen when I was in elementary school so much that the book spent more time with me than any of my friends. If you were to come up to me and say “Hey Corinne, if a plane crashed in the woods and you were the only survivor, much like Brian in Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, would you be able to create shelter and find food and water?” I would say “Of course! I’m an independent, strong woman!” but the real answer is that I have no survival skills and I am going to die.

Okay, that may be dramatic, but I’m dramatic- SO EVERYONE JUST GET OVER IT.

Where did this survival panic come from you ask? Well, I spent last weekend on a mini vacation with some family, on the excruciatingly long drive home between the naps and daydreams I noticed multiple cars on the side of the road as if they broke down and that’s when it struck me for real. I have no survival skills. In the event of a broken down car, I would probably just cry/call my dad/cry while calling my dad. I understand that things like tow trucks, AAA, and a working knowledge of how to fix your car are things that exist but I don’t have any of those things.

As someone who lives in constant fear of an apocalypse, I’m surprised that I never just taught myself how to survive. All of my favorite literary characters can do it, so why can’t I?

Basically, I wish my Girl Scout meetings as a kid taught me things that are actually useful instead of how to make a cool pot holder for Mother’s Day. I have to make an active decision of teaching myself these things and quite frankly, there are other things I want to be doing. I wish that teaching young girls these things was something that is universally understood to be a necessary and good idea because when I was 12 I didn’t realize that I should be learning this. I wrote off these necessary activities as something boyish and I steered clear. WHY WAS I SUCH AN IDIOT?!

Girl Scouts, I forgive you for not teaching me these things. It wasn’t your responsibility and I mean, how many boys can say that they know how to make a painting of a turkey using only an outline of their hand? Besides, I have great memories of Girl Scout trips and meetings and it was one of the few places I was able to see my friends outside of the classroom. I’m only blaming Girl Scouts because I don’t want to admit that I’m an idiot for thinking that being able to start a fire is something I don’t need to know.

As a single girl/woman traveling alone a majority of the time, it would be useful to fight.

As a single girl/woman who lives in constant fear of an apocalypse it would be useful to purify water.

These are things I wish I knew how to do and I’m going to teach myself in the coming months:

  • Tie knots
  • Change a tire
  • Perform basic first aid
  • Win/avoid a fist fight
  • Navigate with a map and compass
  • Have some basic cooking skills
  • Jump start a car (because I crave a dramatic life)

What are some things you wish you knew how to do? Share in the comments below! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11818696 Bridget Gallagher

    I can be your survival girlie expert- I’ll teach you all the things you want to know. I can teach you to build shelter, tie knots, create weapons…I know it all. :)
    Someone who would survive the Zombie apocolypse

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1365480484 Sean Morrow

    Once in college I went to a restaurant to pick-up some take-out and I accidentally locked my keys in my car. I remember thinking that centuries ago (or today, if I was born in a different part of the world) I’d have to go out and find my own food or starve, and today I can’t even successfully pick-up food that was killed/prepared/styrofoam-boxed for me and paid for by my parents.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=698401150 Laura Enns

    The other day, I locked myself out of my apartment and my cellphone was dead. I literally sat down on the stoop and resigned myself to the fact that I was going to die that night. It didn’t occur to me to look for an open window or, you know, knock on the door. I was just going to freeze to death. In August. Because I am a rational survivalist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612817420 Alaina Whiteman

    I started choking about two weeks ago on a giant sinus pill. (I hate taking pills but I had no other option other than dying, obviously) Anyway, it got stuck in my throat, and everyone at work was out to lunch. I choked for about 2 minutes which felt like an hour, gurggling, coughing, the works. And never even thought to drink water to wash it down, until later that night when my friend was like “Why didn’t you just drink water?” Oh. So I would like to learn how to not choke? I’m not sure. Maybe a CPR class or something wouldn’t hurt.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=571970955 Des Jensen

    Driving. I’m actually pretty self-reliant (I think) except for the fact that I cannot teach myself to drive on my own terms. Because I’ve come to the conclusion that my terrible depth perception (or none) makes me unteachable. And maybe swimming. I took lessons, and can swim fairly well under water until I run out of air but above water like everyone else… I always sank just enough that when I’d turn my head to breathe I’d breathe a lungful of water and go sputtering to the bottom of the pool.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1357445760 Laura Schulte

    isn’t a first aid course part of your (american) requirements to get a driver’s licence, just like the theory and driving test are?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=524306086 Katie Allison Baker

      Driver’s License rules vary from state to state here. For example, I am positive there is no first aid requirement in Oklahoma or Texas. Both require theory tests, but Texas doesn’t even require a practical driving exam. Pretty scary stuff, if you ask me…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001892051614 Jess Valandingham

    Recently my BFF and I went adventuring in Canada (we live in the US) and the GPS on our phones wouldn’t work and we got massively lost in the Vancouver area. We stopped at a gas station and got a map and used that and a compass for our whole trip and kept occasionally chanting “We are powerful, independent American woman!” Super satisfying.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=654965611 Deanna Raphael

    You should write a follow up piece about what it was like to learn those skills!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003973863946 Lily Farr

    I wish I knew how to yoyo!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1664460077 Kylie McCabe

    I was actually thinking about Hatchet a few days ago with the same thoughts!
    Here are some other things that might be useful (I’m specifically thinking of the chaos that comes from a post-apocalyptic situation… you know, like in the movies..)
    – Learn to fight with any/all of the following… Ax throwing, Sword-fighting, Bows & Arrows or just learn how to shoot a gun
    – Be able to recognize what is likely to be poisonous (berries, plants etc) in a forest/jungle situation
    – Be able to read the stars to get at least a SEMI-accurate sense of direction (my dad claims that his lectures on how to find the north star will one day save my life – though admittedly I truly hope it doesn’t come to that)
    – Just generally increase my cardio/weight-lifting/hiking/backpack-carrying while running abilities so that I can out-run whatever alien/post-apocalyptically-crazed citizen is chasing me

    Aaaand I do agree, some car-knowledge could also be useful!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1132480978 Jessica Gambino

    Rule #1 CARDIO. And a little sunscreen never killed anyone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001826438405 Gregory Younger

    Survival skills? Money and love. That’s all you need.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=633747455 Rachael Berkey

    Stick with me, kid. I know how to do all the things in your list. #WIN

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