Who are you that can create fire without flint or tinder?

I recently came to a realization.

If you watch the Survivor you're familiar with how much trouble the contestants have starting fire. You know the drill. One of the guys will tell everyone else on his tribe that he spends 200 hours every week camping in the wilderness, that he brings nothing but a loincloth, a knife, and length of rope, and that he only does so when the the temperature is below freezing as a matter of honor. Then the camera will cut to that same guy after 15 hours of trying to make a fire by rubbing random sticks together, tears streaming down his face while he explains to his tribe-mates he was sure that he read somewhere that kerosene grows on trees. What always befuddled me about this is that it never seems to occurs to anyone going on the show to practice simple survival skills like lighting a fire without modern equipment.

Now I understand that being knowingly stranded in the middle of nowhere and not even doing the minimal to prepare is a proud American tradition. I've about a third of the way into Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick, and it's amazing how unprepared the Pilgrims were for being colonists. They left England without enough food to get through the winter thanks to a unforeseen delay, they didn't have proper equipment or seeds, and they even rejected the help of the famous John Smith (the Pocahontas guy) as their captain and went with someone who knew nothing of the New World instead. It's a miracle they survived at all, and most of their problems were their own damned fault.

I've also learned that Squanto had testicles the size of basketballs, but that's another post.

Posted: Sun - August 13, 2006 at