The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, is about an America in the future in which there are 12 districts, governed strictly by The Capitol. Every year, to punish the districts for an uprising that happened around 74 years ago, each district randomly selects two teenagers, a boy and a girl, to represent them in the Hunger Games. These games are a fight to the death. The victor then receives a lifetime of money and food and brings prestige to their respective districts.
Our protagonist is Katniss Everdeen, a young girl who has been caring for her family ever since her father was killed in a terrible mining accident. Katniss has a few qualities that make her decently equipped to win, including hunting skills, killer instincts and a love for her family that motivates her to live in such a twisted world. Unfortunately I only have one of these three qualities, and I suspect the one I have would be the least useful in a fight to the death.
So as you can imagine, I’m deeply troubled by this. If I ever have to fight to the death, I may not win. I become irritable when the temperature drops below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, I run at a mediocre speed, and my climbing skills have declined considerably since the need to retrieve balls stuck in trees went away 15 years ago. That leaves me to rely on my wits, which I suspect are also in decline. The other day I bought a cardigan that didn’t quite fit, just because the price was good. Who does that? Surely not the quick witted.
So after ruminating over this latest dilemma – survival, for those who have not been paying attention – I have come to some important realizations. The most important of these realizations is that I need to build up some valuable survival skills.
Here are the top three skills I need to build, and how I will go about building them.
Skill 1: Learn how to capture, prepare, and cook my own food.
In the book, Katniss captures game by using her bow and arrow and setting hunting traps in the wild. Because it is silly for me to use a bow and arrow in a grocery store, we will say that putting food into a grocery cart and then paying for it, counts as a successful capture. Katniss skins her game, and I, I will rinse it so that any bacteria on the plastic is less likely to end up on food. And finally, Katniss can build fires, so much like her, I will attempt to fire up our gas stove, assuming the capture and prepare steps have gone smoothly. If I can accomplish this, I am one step closer to being able to survive.
Skill 2: Learn how to run fast.
Obviously, running fast is necessary for survival in case zombies or animals are chasing me. I don’t know how to learn how to do this. So…um…maybe I can start by sprinting to Pinkberry, instead of my daily leisurely stroll.
Skill 3: Learn another language.
Katniss does not speak another language, but it’s not relevant to the world she lives in. In my case, it could be a really powerful skill. What language should I learn? Well, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski makes me think I should learn German: “I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity,” he said, last week. This suggests to me that only speaking German might make me a powerful force without even doing anything else and more specifically, by doing absolutely nothing. This is much easier than sprinting to Pinkberry. German it is.