Rupert. Paddington. Fozzie. Famous bears in cultural history tend to have a fairly sedate reputation. But this whole idea of bears being wussy, wimpy and clothed changed forever when the formidable Bear Grylls entered the televised fray. This Bear was an adventurer, an explorer and a man who gladly convened all over nature. A bit like a real bear, rather than those anthropomorphic fictional bears that never acted like bears at all. When was the last time Yogi or Boo Boo mauled anyone? Terrible. Bear Grylls could happily survive on an iceberg using only various bodily emissions and a penguin corpse for food, shelter and entertainment. But if you wanted to emulate this great British bug muncher, how should you go about it?
EVALUATE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Once Mr. Grylls is dropped into a harsh environment and charged up his iPhone, the first thing he embarks on is a thorough survey of his surroundings. Is there a fresh water source? Are there any dangerous animals nearby? What time does the motel stop serving breakfast? You can conduct this kind of terrain survey even if you live in a bedsit or caravan. Just act as if you’ve been plunged into the landscape from a great height (maybe leap from the top of the wardrobe or jump through the door very quickly). Then breathlessly look around for the vitals you’ll need to survive, such as crisps, lager and a puzzle book of some kind.
Night is drawing in. You can hear coyotes (neighbour’s cat) in the distance. Soon the rains will come. You need to construct some kind of rudimentary shelter to protect you from the elements. Bear has been known to use to corpses of dead animals to use as a sleeping bag, but you don’t have to go that far. Just fill your own sleeping bag with some meat to replicate the experience (I find mince works quite well). If you lack the local natural resources to build some form of jungle tree house, just try sleeping under a hedge or in a bush (discarded foodstuffs can often be foraged there). If all else fails, then simply seek out a bus shelter. That’s all right as it has the word ‘shelter’ in it, so Bear won’t mind.
A legitimate food source is vital for sustained survival. Bear ends up eating all manner of things to retain enough energy to get through the day. You can duplicate these foraging techniques in your own home or at your local shop. Have a look under the settee for any old chips or biscuits that might have rolled under there (best run them under the tap first). See what is right at the very back of the fridge, behind those old carrots, that you may have forgotten about. If all of this proves fruitless, head to your local supermarket for some fruit. Dart between the aisles wearing some form of home-made loin cloth that you’ve fashioned, wildly grabbing at the fresh produce or trying to ‘catch’ something from the fish counter. When security ask you what you’re doing, just say ‘I’m trying to be like that Bear Grylls’. We are sure they’ll applaud your gumption.
If Ant and Dec have taught us anything (and they have) it’s that many bugs and insects contain valuable nutrients and proteins. Unfortunately, trying to find those sorts of creatures in this country can be tricky and most zoos frown upon their visitors trying to nibble the exhibits. But there’s plenty you can do to emulate Bear’s creepy crawly scoffing skills. Simply draw a couple of eyes on a Wotsit. Or pick up some prawns from you local fishmonger (if you don’t have a local fishmonger, some prawn cocktail flavoured crisps will work just as well). Or stick some Twiglet ‘legs’ onto a sausage ‘abdomen’. As long as you look disgusted as you eat it, the illusion will be maintained.
GROW A SCRAGGLY BEARD
It’s not enough to tell people you are a Bear-like adventurer, you must also look and smell the part. All the hedge sleeping and bug eating should take part of the smell portion of this and you’ve already got a loin cloth. All that’s left to do is to grow a scraggly, disheveled beard. If you don’t have the time to do this, or you are a lady, you have two options: draw or glue. With drawing, take a magic marker or biro and scrawl on your cheeks and chin to give the impression of a poorly groomed beard. Or else you can collect carpet scraps, animal dander or discarded hair and glue these items haphazardly onto your face and neck. As the days pass, simply adhere more materials to your head to simulate further growth.
SOAK THINGS IN URINE
Bears seems to find a myriad of uses for his own wee-wee. He soaks his clothes in it to keep off the heat. He drinks it to stay hydrated. And he markets it as his own celebrity perfume( ‘Tinkle by Bear’ RRP £12.99 at Superdrug and other major outlets). For reasons of health and safety, we are not allowed to suggest you do any of these kinds of things with pee. So instead simply collect all your unwanted urine in jars, bottles and containers for use in the future. Let’s face it, none of us know for sure when we will need several gallons of our own piddle, but when you do you should be prepared. That’s what Bear would do.