According to The Daily Mail Online twenty vital skills are apparently dying out in our “world of technology and convenience”. Naturally I found myself checking how I measured up against the list. Do I have what it takes to survive in a world without tech? If Google goes offline and the world wide web unravels, will I be able to keep the threads of my life together?
I’ll take the first two together, as they really are related, some might say inseparable, skills: Reading a Map and Using a Compass. I can do both, and if it’s a proper topographical map I can even compensate for magnetic declination and calculate the exact co-ordinates of specific landmarks. These skills thanks to lots of camping and hiking growing up, studying for a career where I can be expected to take youngsters out into the wilderness to teach them these very skills, and of course my brief stint as a Geography teacher.
Tying a Specific Knot. Let’s see…I can do a half-hitch, clove-hitch, square knot, figure-eight, figure-nine and can rig a rope pulley system. What about a bow-line, you ask? Hang on. I’ve got an app for that…
Darning Socks. Okay. You’ve got me there. I can sew, however, so I’m pretty sure I’d be able to figure it out if push comes to shove. I know one can use a light bulb…
Looking Something Up In a Book Using an Index. My university years were right at the start of the millennium, when the internet was not yet in our phones (remember the Nokia Brick?) and Google was neither a verb nor an “ecosystem”. Many happy hours were spent on my college library’s floor with various tomes lying open around me. Those were the days.
Writing a Letter Correctly. Don’t they teach this in schools any more? That’s where I learnt it, and in fact I taught it as well (English teacher, remember?) But I suppose thanks to email and text messaging this knowledge, along with knowledge of proper Spelling and Grammar has fallen by the wayside. Not for me, though. I does gramer ferry good!!!
Now, I don’t know about calling Understanding Pounds, Ounces (along with Converting them to Kilograms and Grams), Feet and Inches an essential skill. I’m pretty sure these were only included because The Daily Mail is a British publication. I can convert pounds and feet to the approximate kilogram and metre values, but that’s because of technology. I never learned these units, as I live in a country that uses the metric system. I don’t get why anyone still mucks about with imperial units, truth be told. It’s completely illogical.
Starting a Fire. I’m a little concerned about the word-choice here. “Making a Fire” feels like a legitimate activity. “Starting a fire” sounds like something pyromaniacs do. Also, does starting a fire with a lighter count? For the record, I can start charcoal, dry wood and green wood fires with only matches and no accelerants provided I have good kindling (camper, remember?) I’ve never actually started a fire with flint and steel, but I’m sure I’d be able to if needed. This skill is unlikely to die out any time soon in South Africa, unless some idiot in government decides to make a law against braaiing (I’m sad to say I wouldn’t put it past them).
So, halfway through the list my prospects for survival are looking pretty good. How are you doing so far?
Remember to tune in later this week for part 2.