“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Who's out there in the woods, devouring the dead chickens?

I don't want to go to bed this early because then I'll wake up in a couple of hours and be up all night. So I am trying to stay awake just now.

Looking at the book shelves, hoping to find something to read, I came across this.

I remember finding it in a bookstore in  a  small town just outside Atlanta.  I've never seen a copy anywhere else.  I bought it because the author was writing about why people do the things they do under stress.  That seemed like useful knowledge even though the book cost about $15.00, which was a lot for a paperback at the time.

What Gonzales does is look at people in high risk professions, and then contrast their behavior in dire situations with different psychological studies that might shed some light on their actions.  It all boils down to "why do some people do really stupid things in an emergency and others do the right things?"

Because he uses actual case studies,  it's an interesting read. You can go through the first page of a chapter and figure out what is going to happen as he sets up the story.  Reading it on through and confirming your worst fears is addictive.  On the other hand, some of his case studies show individuals who did it right, stuck it out, and survived. Many of them are not the ones you would have picked from a mixed bag of characters to be the survivors.

I'm not sure if there are still copies out there.  I would imagine you can get one from Amazon used if nothing else. My copy is marked up in all different colors, as I've read it numerous times and highlighted the things that struck me as worth remembering.

Now I think I'll go start reading it again and try to stay awake that way. The dogs are helping me. Every ten or fifteen minutes they start raising hell and rushing around outside the house.  They are gravitating to the spot where I toss dead chickens over the fence. Something is out there looking for a frozen chicken dinner, and more power to whatever it is.  Coyote, raccoon or possum would be my guess. Bobcat or the elusive red wolf,  currently being reintroduced up here, I doubt.  Not a bear.   If it were anything other than the minor players of the forest, the dogs would be making a completely different noise. This is just their moderately interested tone of barking. Something bigger would be their "bring the gun and the flood light" bark.


  1. Probably. I doubt my dogs would even deign to recognize the existence of a possum or raccoon. I've seen them walk right by possums on the porch in the dead of winter who were eating the left over dog food, and the dogs didn't even give them a passing growl. They don't like coyotes but generally just bark to establish their territory if coyotes come around. I can always tell when there's a real problem, or potential problem, because that's an entirely more urgent type of barking, howling and growling.

  2. Sounds like an interesting book. I have wondered how well some successful upper management would do in a life emergency. Will they be brilliant since they are good thinkers and skilled in leadership plus how to delegate or do those skills go out the window if it is a situation outside of their frame of reference. I have suggested CERT classes to my company. They tried to hold them at the nearby police station but there wasn't much interest; however. they chose a Friday which was not the smartest date. Who wants to leave work, late, and go to weeks and weeks of classes on a Friday night?

    1. Kathy, Taking CERT classes is one of the things Neil Strauss recommends to people in his book "Emergency." The timing of those being offered in your area might appeal to my age group but not to the younger people. One thing about being retired is it doesn't matter what day things are happening because you don't know what day of the week it is anyway.

      My bet would not be on the top of the food chain office types. They are generally good at making money, but not much else. Without a staff at their beck and call, I doubt most of them could handle situations outside their experience.

  3. Harry,


    based on my observations, I would say you never know who will "collapse" in a stressful survival situation and or who will "rise to the occasion"

    I have seen a lot of people that talk tough and the ones that talk tough are the ones who worry me. People of "true inner strength" and "strength of character" are not braggarts or boasters.

    When I was in high school I was the geeky kid with glasses that got picked on by the jocks, etc. The book worm who never got date etc.
    My vindication came in boot camp when the high school football player that stood next to me in boot camp and could "bench 300 pounds" broke down and cried in front of the "Navy Company Commander" and wanted to go home to mama.
    When the Company Commander got in my face and his spit was flying in my glasses yelling at me and telling me all kinds of nasty things, I just stood there with a look of 'Pure Pissed off Determination" and he left me alone after that.
    Since that book camp incident, If you want to motivate me, piss me off!
    I think I would do okay in a survival situation, Im not perfect. Every man has a breaking point and no one, I mean' no one is perfect.

    A person can be "dumb as a box of rocks" when it comes to survival but if they have, courage and strength of character they can prevail just by "keeping a cool head and thinking situations through" and not panicking and making rash decisions based on fear and panic.

    1. One of the cases he looked at in the book was a young woman, I think about 16, who survived a plane crash in a South American jungle. She had no survival training but she had courage and common sense, and she got out. A number of other people, who on the face of it would have looked more likely to survive, sat down and waited for rescue. None of them made it out. It's really difficult to judge who will come through.

  4. I like those 'bring the gun barks.'

    1. It's a bad sign when your dogs are backing onto the porch, raising hell and all bristled up. I use a gigantic hand held flood light from Home Depot to really light things up when that happens. I bring a gun, but I always wish I had my samurai sword in my hand. Seems like it's more reassuring in that kind of situation.

  5. I just downloaded the book to kindle, it looks interesting. I always wonder who would survive best, thinkers, doers or those who just use their common sense to evaluate a situation. Looking forward to reading it.

    1. Dreamer, I hope you will like it. I sure have put some miles on the pages over the years. I think if you can keep your spirits up in a bad situation, you can enhance your chances of making it through just about anything. One of the reasons I couldn't watch "Naked and Afraid" which was a survival show over here, was that the men seemed to spend all their time whining and complaining, and blaming the women with them for everything. None of those guys were survivors, and I think they were picked for the show not for their skills but for their obvious flaws. I quit watching Doomsday Preppers for the same reason. I am a big fan of Les Stroud and Cody Lundin because they are "real". I also like the husband and wife team, the Hawkes. She's British so maybe their show is on over there.