206. Escape

Leaving stress, chaos, brokenness and drama behind you is a good thing, I think. But often we overbuild a solution that then needs a rescue for itself. How silly, to fall in love with your strategy or scaffolding and miss the original objective. Imagine a person falling out of a canoe above Niagara Falls. Let’s just add the bit about this being a suicide attempt that was reconsidered, then suddenly turned into a desperate fight for life. The potential victim hangs on a dead red cedar tree fifty feet from the drop off while his riderless canoe glides over the falls to a certain crushing, mangled death. Meet hapless Joel, victim 1.Keywords: anindya, niagara, nature, river, lakes

On the U.S.A. shore a fireman/lifeguard Ron dives in to rescue the stranded person… only to become stranded himself due to the unbelievable pull of the river’s current and his own lack of measured problem solving. He and Joel cling to one another, hoping that someone smarter than they are figures out how to rescue them.

On the Canadian side a water sport enthusiast named Angus jumps on his jet ski and zooms out to the two stranded men, only to discover that he did not check his fuel. Once he rendezvouses with the other victims, he becomes helplessly jammed up next to the tree, foolish and fuelless, simply adding to the danger instead of relieving it. The victim count is now up to three impulsive males. Caution, this is not a news flash: where there is an abundance of testosterone, there is often a lack of critical thinking.

Not to be out heroed, the New York State Police dispatch a helicopter with a man, Eddie, in a basket to the falls. The pilot, Phil, positions the helicopter above the three stranded men and lowers the basket; however, the river’s wind current pushes the basket out away from the tree stand while the downdraft from the falls jerks the copter about like a toy. Eddie spills out helplessly onto the little island of humanity, which is beginning to resemble Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment in full throttle thinking mode. It’s a whopping mess of a scene by the time News 8 and the Live at Five crews report with cameras and choppers and trucks with satellite dishes. Out of the Live at Five truck steps the perfectly coiffed, stunningly gorgeous Erin McGyver, an up and coming feature reporter who is looking for a score to move her name into the big markets and out of Buffalo.

What no one on the scene knows is that Erin was an alternate to the Summer Olympics for the Women’s Archery Team, which finished a disappointing fourteenth at Bejing in 2008. Erin had mastered a trick shot as a teenager in Wyoming that involved tying a roll of dental floss to the feather end of an arrow and then shooting the arrow through a keyhole at 100 yards. Since her teens she had flossed countless keyholes and life saver candies at county fairs and rodeos out west. Shooting an apple off an audience member’s head was so lame; instead she shot crabapples off and then olives then worms made of pimento. In her final year on tour she had perfected the ear lobe piercing shot from 50 yards. She was the real deal, ladybugs and blogworms. Some whalers felt good about being able to harpoon a mature sperm whale from twenty yards back in the day; but the Erinator shot minnows out of the grasp of flying raptors while riding bareback on a wild mustang at night. Yeah, Boom!

Erin assessed the situation and realized that this was both a great story and her audition for national market glory. She walked back into the t.v. Winnebago and exited five minutes later fully armed for the task at hand. She carried her super carbon fiber compound military grade UltraBow outfitted with a 50x scope and wind speed meter. The bow picks up wifi and has tiny Bose speakers at either tip. Erin dialed in all her Diana skills, the goddess of the bow and hunt. She leaned into a burly oak tree on the riverbank and steadied  herself for the shot of her life. It had to be a firm hit shoulder high into that cedar tree without piercing any parts of the four flailing men hanging desperately onto the trunk.

Erin eyed up the elements, the wind meter, did some quick calculations, took a deep breath and then exhaled with a pre-Industrial Age scream. Everyone on both shores and on the little tree island whipped around to see this Amazon woman reporter turned archer draw back her bowstring. Pause. And finally release. The arrow appeared to have something attached to it, and indeed it did. Erin had neatly secured a fine cable to the back of the carbon fiber arrow, so now that it flew across the U.S.A. side of the river, a fine line was being drawn behind it.Khatuna Lorig Hunger Games

THWACK!! The arrow exploded deep into the cedar’s trunk, shoulder high. Erin then expertly tied off the loose end of the cable around her oak tree, drawing it so tight that a circus trained penguin could walk across it to the stranded men. However, since there was no circus trained penguin handy, she walked back to the Winnebago, exiting two minutes later with a  carabiner clip and an empty quart sized water bottle. In the next moment she had  siphoned off nearly a quart of gasoline from the reserve tank of the r.v. What a superwoman!!!

While the area became crowded with EMT’s, firemen, sheriffs, state troopers, INS agents, FBI, ATF agents, Homeland Security guys and U.S. Marshalls, Erin calmly kept moving with laser focus to the solution she had decided upon ten minutes ago. She attached the quart container of gasoline to the thin cable she’d secured to the savior tree in the middle of the river, using the simple carabiner clip she’d kept from a recent rock climbing adventure in Vermont. She appeared to kiss the carabiner before slinging it racing out to the four stooges on the cedar tree, but in fact she was smearing lip gloss on the top of the carabiner to reduce friction and increase speed. Amazing?  No, just another day in the life of Erin McGyver, superwoman.

Once the gas arrived, Angus knew what to do. He poured it carefully into the tank of his jet ski, still lodged on the makeshift island. He slid onto the driver’s seat and hit the start button. Blue gray smoke sputtered out the exhaust and the crowds that gathered on both sides cheered loudly. Joel, Eddie and Ron hung on to the back of the machine as it slowly pulled all of them to the U.S.A. shoreline.  Each of the Americans was greeted with a blanket and an application for Obamacare. Unfortunately Angus was arrested for illegal entry into the United States by the Border Patrol guys who had just showed up and felt they needed to assert their authority in this alpha male environment. (Don’t worry, dear gullible ones, he was exchanged later for three Congressmen who had been arrested at Justin Beiber’s last Canadian-based party.)

While all the chest thumping continued outside her r.v., Erin McGyver quietly prepared for the calls from Bob Costas, Sports Center, Piers Morgan, Jimmy Fallon, and the President. She had elegantly escaped not only the Buffalo market but mediocrity and anonymity forever and ever. Amen.

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