Sunday, June 15, 2008

“I don’t want that slimy shit on me.”

Deep Survival, Laurence Gonzalez’s investigation into what leads people in extreme situations to an outcome other than death, includes a number of dramatic survival stories. In one a sailboat founders. The crew manages to inflate a life raft, but the sea is rough, and the wind chilling.

“At last, Kiley hit on the idea that they could cover themselves with seaweed for warmth. An inventive approach to using the materials at hand is a hallmark of survivor thinking. Although it was a good idea and eventually worked, Mark’s initial response was, ‘I don’t want that slimy shit on me.’ You can often tell early on who is going to make it and who is not. If Kiley’s story had been a Hollywood movie, everyone in the audience would know by now that Mark was going to die.”

Partly cuz, you know, it wasn’t the first clue.


David Lee Ingersoll said...

Is Poon Lim's story in the book? He's the man who holds the unfortunately record of most days adrift. His response to being shipwrecked was so practical I've always found it inspiring. Sure, he hoped for rescue but first he made sure he exercised, managed shelter and fed himself.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

The name didn't look familiar, but I went and checked the index. No Poon Lim.

Gonzalez did read the classic shipwreck novel Robinson Crusoe. He says he was quite disappointed as Crusoe had recourse to a supermarket, sporting goods store & hardware store in the form of the ship, no longer seaworthy but still together enough to provide plenty o' goodies.

David Lee Ingersoll said...

Poon Lim

Mr. Crusoe was a very lucky man. He not only had a supermarket and a hardware store wash ashore with him he also ended up on the side of the island that the cannibals ignored. For 24 years. Good thing he had his bible to read.