Cutting Edge - Column

By Rosemary McLeod

My search for cheerful news in the aftermath of the Christchurch quake has not been in vain. I have Bear Grylls to thank for that.
I'm no fan of survivalists, especially survivalists who declare the need to drink their own urine on camera, or munch tiger spoors while pondering their calorie count.
I've often wondered if any woman has really kissed the awful Bear, and had second thoughts afterwards - I mean you don't exactly see him cleaning his teeth, do you?
Would he taste of grasshopper? Would he absent-mindedly bite your tongue off? And would he eye your cat in an overly thoughtful way, as if assessing how much meat would be on the carcass, and how best to prepare it over a camp fire lit with the aid of a magnifying glass and the sun's convenient rays?
Bear is married, strange to say, with sons named Marmaduke, Jesse and Huckleberry - all of which sound a lot like foodstuffs, as in: "I think I'll poach some Jesse tonight, and have it with Huckleberry relish and deep-fried Marmaduke crisps."
Despite this apparent qualification for adulthood, Bear is the ultimate boy, as in shudderingly awful boy who chases little girls while dangling dead mice by their tails, keeps spiders suffocating in jars, and kills sparrows with his BB gun.
He brings to mind the terror of the primers at Masterton Central School, who hung around the entrance to the girls' toilets and threatened to look under the door while you were on the dunny - or for that matter the boys who did their level best to peep through knot holes in the changing room wall before swimming classes while we girls squealed.
That's possibly what put me off swimming, thinking of the freckly fat boy who was so eager to report on the colour of girls' underpants.


What innocent times they were back then, with no R16 content on television - and how slugs-and-snails boys were just the same.
Not that Bear was the sort of boy who passes through humble small town schools like mine. He went to Eton, which makes him a toff, one who feels the need to prove his mettle in the bloke world despite being born with a canteen of silver cutlery in his mouth.
The basic year's fees for three terms at Eton are more than most New Zealanders earn in a year and support a family on - about $70,000. And then there's the top hat and tails to be bought, and the song sheet for the Eton Boating Song won't come cheap.
All of this prepared Bear for a life of seeking hardship where none existed before he turned up, and from which any normal man would turn tail and run.
As luck would have it, he was in the South Island filming episodes of his series when the quake struck - on a wire bridge above a gorge, but a safe 240km from Christchurch.
The good news is that among all the nasty things he has ingested, the live tree weta that Bear ate during filming here was, he says, the worst. "It tasted literally how you'd imagine poo would taste," he reports. "I've eaten a lot of bugs, but this was something else.
We'd all wondered, I'm sure, whether they were worth an inquisitive nibble.
Unfortunately our cats, which spent much of their kittenhood wiping out a colony of wetas, bringing their twitching bodies indoors to put at our feet, couldn't give us the rundown. I feel a certain patriotic pride at our having disgusted even the irrepressible Bear. It's an achievement.
Another notable report of the past week involved the American university where a live demonstration of the use of a sex toy was laid on by its psychology professor, who saw "absolutely no harm" in the performance, intended as an illustration of sexual fetishes.
None of the students who stayed after class to watch the woman involved strip off and yodel has complained, but the professor says he won't be offering repeat performances anyway, despite believing that no harm was done.
As a former Psych 1 student, I was not surprised by this interesting report. Many of the looniest people on campus could be found in the Psychology Department even then, though most of their yipping and yodeling took place behind closed doors, in the intervals between tormenting rats.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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