I was talking to Tim about us starting a school to teach people how to build gertees, survive off the grid, basic fire safety and burning, cooking over fires, storing water and making small dams and caches. I asked if he'd be interested in hosting a basic survival class for the millions of young people who have become enamored with the memory of Chris McCandeless. He could take them out in the woods for a couple days, show them how to make snares and trap rabbits and emergency shelters. My classes would include making fires, using chainsaws and other tools, food storage, preparation, woodstove baking, housekeeping tricks, sanitary refuse removal, gardening in the arctic, gathering berries and flowers and herbs, and a week long seminar on how to build a livable gertee out of local wood or PVC pipe that they could take with them when they leave, or ship home. We've talked about making a gertee model out of PVC pipe before, so he jumped right into wondering which sizes would work best. We've also talked about making them out of rebar and calling it the bear-proof gertee, and he still says that's the one he wants. I waited while he figured dimensions in his head, grateful to see he's still interested in my most favorite project.
Then he stopped suddenly and said, "You mean that kid that they say he lived off the land out there by Kantishna? The one who starved?" I replied, "Yes, they made a movie about him. Now he has a huge following of people who admire him for turning his back on society and walking off into the wild. I was thinking that some of the ones I've read on facebook and forums who say they want to follow in his footsteps could be persuaded to consider coming here for a short introduction to practical living in the wild, first."
Tim shook his head and said, "Well that kid didn't live in the wild. If he'd have lived they could say he lived in the wild. But he didn't live. He died in the wild. Just like that other guy with the bears. He didn't live with the bears. They up and ate him one day. He died with the bears. I just don't understand why they say those guys lived in the wild when they died in the wild."
I've spent all night trying to think of how to incorporate that into my advertising.