Wolfsie's not buying the paracord craze
Thursday, October 24, 2013 10:00 PM
Imagine finding yourself stranded in the forest, with no food or water. Or caught in an avalanche, freezing to death beneath a mountain of snow. Sounds scary, doesn't it? But you'd have absolutely nothing to worry about if you were wearing your Paracord Survival Bracelet. (Also required: a cell phone, your GPS, warm blankets, a week's supply of food and a Coleman stove.)
Dick Wolfsie is an author, a speaker and appears on television in the Indianapolis market. His column appears on Fridays in The Paper of Montgomery County.You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, this is the hottest thing in survival gear since the lit match. Technically, it's called a 550 Cord, which confused me because that's also the name of the Levi's I wear. The bracelet is made of 90 feet of intricately woven thread crafted into a nifty piece of rope jewelry. The material was first used in WWII by paratroopers. The manufacturer describes it as having a "32-strand woven nylon outer sheath with an inner core of seven 2-ply yarns." I know, I know, it sounds a lot like Charmin.
Think how lucky James Franco would have been in the movie 127 Hours if he had been wearing one of these. There he was with one arm under a 6-ton rock. How cool if he could have gotten this bracelet off the other hand with his mouth and then unraveled 90 feet of fiber with his teeth so that he could...let's see, he would take the cord and . . . well . . . OK, I have no idea how this item could have possibly helped him.
Here are three uses suggested by the manufacturer:
1. Replace a broken zipper pull: Nothing would be more embarrassing than being rescued after 12 days on a deserted island and being caught with your fly open.
2. Detain a person: When you are shipwrecked in the middle of nowhere and help finally comes, isn't that the first thing you'd think about: Who do I need to tie up?
3. Fishing Line: "Our white cord will rarely catch fish in clear water," admits the bracelet company, "but you may have a chance in murky water if you have stink bait and a hook." Not a problem. A lot of hikers who forgot to bring even one protein bar have a jar of chicken guts and beef liver in their backpack.
The manufacturer is concerned that people will not want to use the rope in an emergency because making it back into a bracelet is harder than solving the Rubik's Cube with your feet. They are probably right. It's a good thing that auto safety systems do not allow you to disengage the airbag apparatus on your own. "Push the off button, Agnes. We're going to hit that truck head on, but I have no idea how to stuff that thing back into the steering wheel."
The makers of the Paracord Survival Bracelet will give you a free one if you use their product in a legitimate emergency. Simply send them the story of how you used the rope along with a photograph demonstrating the life-threatening predicament you were in.
Dear Survival Bracelet Maker,
My wife and I were recently cleaning the gutters on our roof when the ladder tipped over. As I helped her repel down the side of our house using your nifty piece of jewelry, I tried to get my cell phone out of my pocket to send a picture, thus qualifying for a free replacement. I was too slow but I am attaching a photo of her on the ground with two broken legs.
Personally, I think this bracelet is a waste of money at $39.95. Better not safe, than sorry.