We all like a good old moan about our lot at times – usually about work.
I had been doing just that last week before I sat down to watch a programme I’d recorded on a whim.
Earth’s Natural Wonders: Living on the Edge put my gas at a peep. For it’s a programme that makes you realise just how lucky you really are.
I don’t have to risk life and limb, traversing the Khumbu Icefall on Mount Everest so that climbers can try to mount the summit during the three-month climbing season.
I don’t have to come out in a cold sweat, climbing hundreds of feet on ropes and hanging precariously from cave roofs in Borneo to collect swiftlets birds’ nests.
Created from the birds solidified saliva, the nests are used in a soup and are a delicacy in China – where a bowl sets you back about $60.
(I think I’ll stick to my Heinz chicken or tomato – other varieties/stockists available, obviously!)
Nor do I have to chase off a herd of elephants, happily munching through my tribe’s crops at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya.
Big props to the quick-thinking Maasai warrior, though, whose job it was to scare off the far from gentle giants. He filled condoms with bangers and chilli powder to scare the beasts away – without hurting them.
He showed that man and animal can live in relative harmony, using a bit of grey matter to come up with an ingenious solution.
And then, of course, you had the poor wee lad who was fishing on a flimsy raft in a bay off Papua New Guinea – praying for a good catch so that he could marry his girl.
He’ll have to go fish the waters there, which are a mile deep, for at least three years before saving up enough money to get hitched.
Now that’s what you call dedication – 36 months to win her hand instead of a trip to the High Street jewellers.
The fishermen – some as young as nine years old – also worked in harmony with nature, feeding buckets of sprats to whale sharks , which helped to bring the big catch to the surface.
The whale sharks and fishermen worked together. It was amazing to watch.
And then something that really did make me squirm in my comfy livingroom chair.If you think becoming a teenager here is hard, think on. Boys in an Amazonian tribe have to put their hands into gloves for ten minutes, with bullet ants stinging them all the while.
The villagers believe it helps them become better hunters. A bullet ant’s sting is 50 times more potent than a bee and feels like being shot – hence the name.
It was uncomfortable viewing but who are we to say what these people should and should not do?
And it was very interesting to note that the folk in that particular tribe live to a ripe old age and the cancer rate is almost non-existent.
Maybe we should all be having a shot or two of a bullet ant’s sting to fend off disease?
Although I’d like to think the scientists could come up with a better way of administering it!