Andrea Greb
April 29, 2013 8:30 am

I usually write about recreating fluffy, lighthearted scenarios from romantic comedies. But what about when the opposite happens? There’s a reason I don’t watch very many crime or medical shows, and it’s because they make me unnecessarily paranoid that terrible things are going to happen to me. While I’ve been lucky enough to avoid horrific as-seen-on-TV situations, these people haven’t been…

Man stuck in an elevator:

Getting stuck in an elevator happens all the time on TV. I’m pretty sure most of the early seasons of Grey’s Anatomy actually take place in an elevator. Not so for an Austrian man who was trapped in an elevator for four days without food or water. He survived because of his military training, but most of us don’t have that. So what do you do if you encounter an elevator situation?

Best case scenario: You’re trapped in an elevator with the hot doctor you have an on again, off again romance with him, so seize the moment and make out with him.

Likely real world reaction: This actually happened to a friend of mine recently. He and the coworkers he got stuck with were out within 20 minutes, but they did take appropriate actions, like deciding who they would eat in the event that they needed to resort to cannibalism. You need to make decisions like that early on, before people start getting hungry. But seriously, my best advice is to always have your cell phone on you (that’s where the guy in Austria went wrong), or just take the stairs.

Tiger in the bathroom:

You know how hilarious it is in The Hangover when Zach Galifianakis walks into the bathroom and realizes there’s a tiger inside? Well, imagine how much less hilarious it would be if you were enjoying a nice afternoon at the circus, took a bathroom break, and discovered a tiger in the ladies’ room. This happened, you guys. A tiger. In the bathroom. Never have I been so glad my parents would never take me to the circus.

Best case scenario: You befriend the tiger. It’s a ladies’ room, after all, so the tiger probably just had a fight with her boyfriend and needed to get away for a minute to vent to someone. She’ll appreciate that you were there for her, pull herself together, and go back to work.

Likely real world reaction: I honestly can’t even imagine. This woman apparently just backed away slowly and was fine. I do not think I could keep that cool under the threat of, you know, imminent mauling. There would be screaming, running, panicking, and chaos. Hopefully there would also be an employee with a tranquilizer gun nearby.

Snake on a plane:

The genius (if you can call it that) of Snakes on a Plane was the absurdity of the premise…or was it? Last December, a man smuggled a cobra onto an Egypt Airlines flight, and it got loose. Because being trapped in a confined space where you have to pay for food and blankets and headphones isn’t enough, let’s add a deadly reptile to the mix.

Best case scenario: Through a brilliant stroke of luck, you happen to be on a plane with Samuel L. Jackson. I think a cobra bite might be worth experiencing this in real life.

Likely real world reaction: It turns out if you Google “what to do if a snake gets loose,” all of the first hits are about finding the snake, which is pretty much the last thing I would want to do. I’m pretty sure I would be spending the rest of that flight curled into a ball in my seat. If you’re inclined to be more proactive, apparently if you throw a blanket over the snake, it will feel calm and safe and probably won’t attack. You’ll probably still get charged the $7 for the blanket, but it’s probably worth it.

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