I first became aware of Bear Grylls through one of his earlier shows: Man Vs. Wild.
Like many, I was one of those who was at first skeptical about the presentation of the show. The scenarios were planned, he was on camera so he wasn’t completely on his own, and obviously there was the disclaimer about Bear and his crew receiving help in life threatening situations. So how legitimate could his advice about survival be?
Well, if a guy cuts open the intestines of a camel to drink the water straight from the contents, I think its safe to say that you can take his advice to the bank. And as a matter of record, people who have watched his show, or read his books, have actually survived situations similar to the ones he presented, because they paid close attention to his shows.
Similarly, I now see every single snake I encounter with the same mentality: I could eat that if I had to.
I have been a fan of Barrack Obama from day one. I haven’t always agreed with his policies, but the same could be said of any president. This is not the place to discuss our political views (or conspiracy theories) but in regards to the man himself, Barack has always been one of the more down-to-earth men to have ever taken the big chair.
Of course the main criticism of this episode of Running Wild is that the security would be doubly ramped-up to 11. Obviously, the Secret Service is not going to allow the most important figurehead in our nation to spend any longer than necessary in the wilds of America, because that would be incredibly stupid and shortsighted. So it’s fair to say that this episode was more of a glorified camping trip than actual survival scenario, but that doesn’t make the significance of this event any less important.
Clinton twisted his ankle climbing out of a jet. Bush Senior threw up on the Japanese Prime Minister. William McKinley was shot point blank at a public event. No matter how tight the security, or how well planned everything is, even the most experienced Secret Service agent has to remember that no plan could ever be 100% foolproof. No matter how tightly the bubble is wrapped around the President, there will always be that 1% of risk that can’t be accounted for.
The fact that Bear Grylls was given this responsibility says so much about the trust our nation has placed in him, as well what the man had to accomplish throughout his life to earn that trust. Obama may not have spent the night on a bed made of pine branches, but he didn’t turn his nose up to eating a half-eaten salmon, naturally procured tea, and to learning all he could about the natural environment that Bear surrounds himself by everyday.
Both of these men set a really high bar for the rest of us when it comes to mutual respect, accomplishment, and a willingness to chuck aside our misconceptions to work together towards a common goal.