outhash

Season of the Sun, Season of Danger

By Mike Walsh
Published in the Philadelphia Welcomat in 1993.

If you’re like most Americans, you spend a lot of time in the great outdoors each summer, but you probably don’t know just how dangerous the outdoors, particularly nature, can be. Nature is fraught with potential accidents just waiting to visit pain, suffering, and tragedy upon you and your loved ones. Hazards, pitfalls, and vicious beasts lurk for those who venture outdoors, hoping to turn their summer outing into a tragic, bloody fiasco.

There are literally millions of dreadful things that can happen to you in nature. Bugs and other ugly, nasty creatures, like turtles and caterpillars, would just love to sink their razor sharp teeth into your soft flesh. You could easily get lost and be devoured by a snake, fish, or bird, and the search party would be lucky to find even a few grizzled remains of your body.

Wherever you go this summer, whatever you do, you must be ever vigilant in your watch for danger. Accidents, dear friends, don’t take summer vacations. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll stay clear of nature. However, if you’re the impetuous type who insists on courting danger by going outside, try to keep the following advice in mind.

Hiking may seem safe enough, but I assure you it isn’t. How you walk can be the difference between tragedy and survival, so learn to walk defensively. Walk slowly and change directions cautiously. Falling objects and flying beasts will come at you from all directions, so keep your eyes peeled and your concentration level keyed to a fever pitch. Stay prepared to flee by bending your knees, walking on the balls of your feet, and lifting each foot high as you walk.

Watch out for objects in your path. If something is in the way, don't step over it. It could be an animal disguised as a rock or a stick that will rear up and bite you as you step over it. Snakes and rodents are very good at this.

Turn and run if you see a butterfly. It’s not commonly known, but many species of butterfly emit clouds of poisonous gas that can render a human unconscious. Unable to defend yourself, these winged killers will then have their way with you.

Always wear loose-fitting clothing in nature. You may have to fight for your life before your leisurely summer hike is over, and you don’t want tight clothing constricting your movements.

Keep in mind that pedestrians encountered in nature may be even more predatory than the wild beasts. Keep your eyes on them at all times just in case one tries to sneak up on you. You never know when a pedestrian will turn on you.

And, of course, don’t under any circumstance look at the sun, even for an instant. Don’t drink any water that isn’t sterilized, and don’t stick any foreign objects into the openings of your body (or into the openings of anyone else’s body either, even if he or she begs you to).

Your toes are the furthest extremity of your body and, consequently, the hardest to protect. If your toes are injured, say, by a wild animal gnawing on them, you’ll have an tough time running away, and the beast could easily catch you and finish you off. If you’re smart, you’ll wear safety shoes when venturing into nature.

I never leave the house without donning and securely tightening my steel-toed jackboots. If you find yourself on a park trail suddenly surrounded by a gang of vicious dogs or bicyclists, you may have to kick your way out. A pair of steel-toed boots may save you from a violent demise.

For maximum traction, try some sensible non-skid, rubber-soled shoes. They may also save your life if you’re hit by lightning, which happens more than the U.S. Weather Bureau is willing to admit.

Don’t even think about going outside this summer without groin protection, preferably a metal-reinforced cup. (This applies to you ladies too.) I probably don’t have to tell you that the groin is the most sensitive area of the body. Sure gas masks, helmets, and goggles are helpful, but no piece of safety gear is more important than your groin protector. Even a minor blow to the groin can incapacitate you, leaving you open to further injury at the hands of Mother Nature. So keep those cups firmly in place, and always check that the other members of your expedition are well-protected in that area as well. Come to think of it, it’s probably a good idea to wear a cup at all times, even around the house.

And please don’t let anyone talk you into getting on a recreational vehicle, like a bicycle or skateboard. Anything that moves is inherently dangerous. In fact, it’s safest to simply remain stationary while you’re outdoors. If you have to move, do it slowly and cautiously.

Avoid bodies of water. Never, ever swim. Beside the obvious danger presented by the various species of man-eating fish, you could cramp up and drown. Did you her about the unfortunate fellow who cramped up while merely looking at a body of water? He then fell into the water and drowned. That’s why I recommend that you always wear a personal flotation device whenever you have the courage to venture outside.

A bulletproof vest is a good idea too, for obvious reasons, as is a firearm, preferably an automatic. Several hundred rounds of ammo should be sufficient. You never know when you’ll have to shoot your way out of a national park. Bring some explosives along too (in case a herd of wild ducks charge you).

Also, don’t be fooled by cute little furry creatures. A cuddly chipmunk can turn into a blood-thirsty, bone-gnawing buzz saw in an instant. I’m sure you remember the rabid rabbit who attacked then-President Carter. Thankfully, the Secret Service dispatched the would-be assassin before he was able to do any harm. So if you notice a cute creature wandering about in nature, just kill it. I recommend that you strike it repeatedly with a club using the full baseball-style power stroke. (See the Rodney King tape for a demonstration.)

At this point it should be obvious that it’s safest to just stay at home this summer with the doors and windows locked. And for goodness sakes, don’t spend any more time than is necessary in the bathroom. It’s the most dangerous room of the house. Remember, caution prevents suffering. And how!


Bonus Summer Safety Tips
Only Fools Disregard Safety Rules! Understand?!

If you see anyone engaging in an unsafe or even a potentially unsafe act this summer, I urge you to take corrective action.

Let’s say you see some guy throw a Frisbee without first looking both ways. That whirling, speeding, sharp-edged weapon could rip a little kid’s jugular open like a can of beans. You can’t stand by and let this dangerous activity persist.

Grab the Frisbee thrower, wrench one of his arms behind his back, and knock him to the ground, landing with your knee in the small of his back. Grind his face into the dirt with your free hand. Then give the perpetrator a concise, blunt lesson in safety.

Say something like, “Safety is a state of mind, sucker, not just a catchy slogan. Only fools disregard safety rules, understand? You only live once, and the life you save may be your own. Necessary disciplinary action will be taken if this advice is disregarded. Better safety conscious than unconscious, if you know what I mean.”

If he offers an excuse or even the slightest complaint, use a metal baton or a stun-gun to bring him to his senses. Then add, “Thank you for your cooperation.” These actions may seem a bit harsh, but enforcing safety rules is important, and it can be fun too.


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