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It's a Cruel, Cruel World


Arizona Summer Wildcat

By Kevin Dicus
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
August 25, 1999

"Just seconds to the new millennium folks! And 5-4-3-2-1. Happy new mill-"(blip). . . . Y2K has struck, leaving the world powerless. All electricity is out, airplanes are crashing headlong into each other, there is rioting in the streets, nuclear warheads are unintentionally launched. To throw a wrench in the works, asteroids have suddenly begun to pummel the earth. Those that hit the ocean cause killer tsunamis and a group of violent terrorists has just kidnapped you, throwing you in the trunk of your own car.

Worried? Not I. Not since I picked up Successful Survivor Tactics (GLB Worldwide, $19.95) by Jerry Gill. Touted as "The Book That Can Save Your Life," this is arguably the most extensive survival guide printed. It's also arguably the most melodramatic. "It's about being lost in the jungle, adrift at sea, caught in a blizzard, stranded in a desert, or walking in the night to find your home on fire," writes Gill. "And it is about surviving it all! This is personal! This is serious!" What is serious is the lifestyle one has to lead in order to survive all that.

Successful Survivor Tactics does make a diligent attempt at covering any possible hardship or disaster that may befall. Some of the information is useful, other information is just funny and sometimes paranoid. Natural disasters such as floods, volcanic eruptions, landslides and animal dangers are covered as well as nuclear and terrorist attacks, kidnapping and "Women's Unique Challenges." Why, there's even a chapter that deals with math formulas which are important to know for survival. Whether one can get college credit for that, is not discussed.

The section entitled "Travel Survival" is a typical chapter in this book. Precautionary measures for flying are first explored, including getting an aisle seat, sitting near an exit and, wearing flame retardant clothing such as a raincoat during take-offs and landings. It's interesting advice to be sure, but the reader is suddenly distracted from the book as we try to envision this big military man donning his slicker during every plane ride.

Then it gets better. The plane has now crashed. You've survived of course, by following Gill's simple steps, and now it's time to get out fast! Leave the dead (they didn't read this book and therefore deserve their fate) but, "if it gives you comfort, you might be able to carry a child's body."

You know, I've often found that to be comforting during any of my stressful situations. Gill manages to supply us with every life-saving action except one namely, eat any and all non-survivors. It worked for those soccer players, and who knows, maybe Hollywood will make a movie about you too.

There's something to be said for preparedness and awareness, but there's also something to be said for paranoia, a state on which this book occasionally treads. Maybe I will be lost in the Tucson desert, maybe my life will someday depend on what Jerry Gill tells me, and maybe I'll just take my chances. If you feel this is something you can't do without, by all means buy it. But for God sakes, be careful out there.

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