Thursday

"Hatchet"

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Imagine being a kid and riding in a car with an adult--say, your parent or grandparent.  Everything is fine until you smell a fart and you know it's not yours.  Do you:
A) Point and laugh.
B) Say nothing, lest you risk the accusation of "he who smelt it, dealt it."
C) Prepare yourself for your imminent demise.

Me, I would choose C every time.  Because if there's one thing Hatchet taught me, it's that farting equals death.  You remember how Brian's plane crashed and he had to survive alone in the wilderness with only a hatchet between himself and certain death?  Do you remember how that all started?

Let me refresh your memory:
"Now the plane lurched slightly to the right and Brain looked at the pilot.  He was rubbing his shoulder again and there was the sudden smell of body gas in the plane.  Brian turned back to avoid embarrassing the pilot, who was obviously in some discomfort.  Must have stomach troubles."  
If you are in a plane, a car-- heck, an elevator-- and this happens to you, it is not stomach troubles.  Do not ignore the fatal flatulence.

Then, later:
"Now there was a constant odor, and Brain took another look at the pilot, found him rubbing his shoulder and down the arm now, the left arm, letting go more gas and wincing.  Probably something he ate, Brian thought."
No, Brian, don't rationalize this away.  This is serious.  Farting means death.  Farting means death!

So, the pilot dies.  Brian lands in the Canadian woods and has to find food, build shelter, and make fire to survive.  Until things start to go badly and Brian goes mad and keeps repeating the mantra "Clouddown" to himself and tries to pull a James Franco and hack off his own arm with the Hatchet to commit suicide.  "For ages 12 and up" the book says on the back cover.  Indeed!

Now, Hatchet has sequels.  Sequels!  The bizarre premises employed to get our boy back out into the wild with his hatchet are just as ridiculous as you might expect.  According to the publisher's website, in The River, "the government wants him to go back into the wilderness so that astronauts and the military can learn the survival techniques that kept Brian alive" so he agrees and goes back, and of course things don't go as planned. But really, the government needs to pay to learn the survival techniques of a thirteen-year-old boy?  No wonder we're in debt.


Lesson learned:
The only way you will survive after a plane crash is if you carry a hatchet with you on your flight.  You hear that, TSA?


Paulsen, Gary.  Hatchet.  New York: Penguin, 1988.
Hatchet: 20th Anniversary Edition

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