Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Worst Case Scenario

Last Christmas we had Secret Santas at work, and my secret santa noticed that my 2007 desk calendar was going to run out soon. This 2007 calendar was the best desk calendar I have ever had, as it gave me 365 archaic words to use at the rate of one a day, which is really the limit in terms of how quickly a person can absorb new vocabulary. My favorite word arrived on January 17th and I never did find anything better.

snoodle v. To rub and scratch and attend assiduously to pigs

This year's calendar is not quite of the same persuasion, unless I happen to be in a scenario in which someone steals my pig, because thanks to W. H. Long's Dictionary of the Isle of Wight Dialect, I now know that having snoodled it is a reasonably good way to prove that it is in fact mine. But I do not have a pig. So let's move on.

The 2008 calendar is a Worse Case Scenario calendar.

So far, some have been quite helpful. HOW TO SPOT A RABID ANIMAL. Having had some experience with this, I learned nothing new, but I thought it was at least practical, as was HOW TO LOSE SOMEONE WHO IS FOLLOWING YOU ON FOOT. Occasionally one does find oneself on a dark street. You never know.

But then there was the one called HOW TO FALL DOWN A FLIGHT OF STAIRS and I thought, "Well that's just silly. Jump!" Naturally I am taking this too literally, but since their advice involves the sentence "concentrate on rolling on major muscle groups" I have to ask myself whether my response doesn't actually make more sense. Most people, when they're falling down the stairs, hardly know they're falling until they've stopped, but the calendar wants you to have the presence of mind to "reduce speed and maximize control." Well, of course. And that would be easy if, say, you were driving a car. But when you're falling down stairs, you're pretty busy . . . falling down stairs.

For a while this one was my favorite: On the weekend of January 19-20th I am informed of four steps to take in order to "outwit a pack of wolves." That's what it's entitled: HOW TO OUTWIT A PACK OF WOLVES. Not how to escape them or scare them or injure them or hide from them; how to outwit them. I was envisioning sitting down with them on a hillside and tricking them into drinking iocane powder, but what you are actually supposed to do is not get chased into a lake. That seems self-evident to me in any scenario, but I'm no expert.

And then they just got weird. HOW TO SURVIVE A HOSTAGE SITUATION. Where am I that I'm going to be taken hostage?

The very next day: HOW TO ESCAPE IF TRAPPED IN A LION CAGE. Why am I in a lion cage? How did I get there? Did I go into it voluntarily? Because in that case, considering how much effort it would probably take to put myself in such a dangerous situation, I deserve to be eaten. Or, did someone drug me and dump my body there? If so, it would be better to know HOW TO TELL WHETHER ANYONE HAS IT IN FOR YOU. Or at the very least HOW NOT TO END UP IN A LION CAGE.

I assumed it couldn't get more unlikely than me being in a lion cage but I think they're working their way into absurdity as the year progresses because today it says HOW TO BAIL OUT OF A STREET LUGE.

1. What is a street luge?
2. No really, what is a street luge?
3. Who the hell has a street luge?
4. Is street-luging a recognized sport?
5. Is the picture, which shows a person basically flying out of a gutter (there's even a drainage grate), in any way accurate?
6. Why would you get into a hobby that involved literally being in the gutter?
7. Is not the very name of a street luge a sign of its being dangerous?
8. If your street luge goes out of control, is this not in fact an example of natural selection at work?

The best part is that tomorrow says HOW TO SURVIVE NUCLEAR FALLOUT, as if having to bail out of your street luge and being in the vicinity of a nuclear bomb explosion are in any way on the same level of worst cases. I guess maybe the detonation might blow you off your street luge, but if that happened, breaking your leg or getting run over by a car probably won't matter that much.

I will bet $10 that before the year is out there's going to be one about alien life forms landing on earth. Oh, I hope there is.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

If one says "How to survive an angry bagel attack", I'm smelling lawsuit.