By Charles Towne
Of all government organizations the U.S. Peace Corps, by its very name denotes a benign, yes, even peaceful existence. One can only imagine the pains the organizers have gone to in order to make the time served as safe as possible for the volunteers, but then one does tend to wonder. After all, accidents do have a way of happening don’t they? People get caught up in wars, catch horrible diseases, are swallowed by..? Well, we’ll leave that to your hungry imaginer.
In the U.S. Government Peace Corps Manual for those volunteers serving in the Amazon jungles in the 1980s, there was this wonderful bit of advice for surviving an anaconda attack. Keep in mind that the anaconda is the largest snake in the world. It is a constrictor achieving gargantuan lengths of thirty-five feet and weighing as much as four hundred pounds.
Listed below are the instructions as they were itemized in the manual:
(1) If you are attacked by an anaconda do not run. The snake is faster than you are.
(2) Lie flat on the ground. Put your arms against your sides, your legs tight against one another.
(3) Tuck your chin in.
(4) The snake will come and begin to nudge and climb over your body.
(5) Do not panic.
(6) After the snake has examined you, it will begin to swallow you from the feet and always from the end. Permit the snake to swallow your feet and your ankles. Do not panic.
(7) The snake will now begin to suck your legs into its body. You must be perfectly still. This will take a long time. Do not panic.
(8) When the snake has reached your knees slowly and with as little movement as possible, reach down, take your knife and very gently slide it into the side of the snake’s mouth between the edge of its mouth and your leg, then suddenly rip upwards, severing the snake’s head. Do not panic.
(9) Be sure you have your knife.
(10) Be sure your knife is sharp. Do not panic.
That piece of misinformation must be taken at face value for it was, after all, a government manual.
I especially like the part where it repeats that somewhat meaningless advice, “Do not panic.”
“Now, at this point, I would like to apologize for using the ‘s’ word, but you must understand that it is no more possible to talk about snakes without using the word snakes than it is possible to talk about sin without mentioning the word sin!.”
AN OUTDOORSMAN’S PRAYER
Dear Papa God, please help us not to exaggerate or spread misinformation. Help us to remember that there are those gullible folks that are always quick to follow false or misleading information concerning nature, man, religion or politics. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, o Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” Praise you Father, and thank you for giving us wisdom and guiding us in all ways. In Jesus wonderful and Holy name we ask it, Amen
Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.