MagazineJuly 200424 Hours of Sci-Fi

24 Hours of Sci-Fi

There isn’t much in this world that’s more terrifying than crash landing on an island teeming with genetically enhanced baboons. This is what you learn when you’re forced to watch 24 hours of the Sci-Fi Channel because of a mystery illness that causes you to pass out whenever you stand up. Getting sick is inevitable, but why does it always seem to happen when you have epic outdoor plans? You’re perfectly healthy 364 days out of the year and that one day you come down with a vicious bug that has you laid out on the couch wishing your mom was there to apply a cold press to your forehead is the day that the local ladies mountain bike club finally asks you to join them for their super secret Tuesday night nude ride. You’re invited to be their inaugural male member–no pun intended–but clipping into a bike might send you into a coma. Why, dear God, do you come down with the flu on that particular day? Thanks to the flu, you’re stuck watching 24 hours of the Sci-Fi Channel while all your attractive friends of the fairer sex gallivant around sick singletrack in the buff. Unfair doesn’t begin to describe your predicament.

Not that you can’t find true personal growth and cultural understanding from watching 24 hours of low budget alien movies. With the right amount of Nyquil, a 24-hour marathon of Sci-Fi can lead to the most illuminating of self-discoveries. For instance, during the all you can watch buffet of futuristic plots you’ll probably learn that most of the modern population has no practical skills whatsoever, yourself included. For example, if an electro magnetic pulse is released and America “the superpower” reverts to a third world country without computers, cell phones, bank accounts etc.–skills like marketing, journalism, and sales become as practical as a swimming badge in the Sahara. And forget your hobbies. You climb 5.13? Got a 15-minute 5K PR? Impressive, but how’s that gonna put food on your table when the shit hits the fan and America turns into a bartering society? You should have quit the track club and taken shop. Seriously, name five things you’re good at. I bet not one of them would be worth a can of soup on the black market in the post electronic pulse America. Don’t feel bad. Most of America is in the same boat. The majority of us can’t even change a light bulb, let alone grow our own food or hot-wire a car (two essential skills according to the post-apocalyptic world presented by the Sci-Fi Channel).

You’ll also learn that the world of outdoor sports will never be popular in America because they have to compete with professional wrestling, where athletes named “The Evil Genius” smash chairs over their competitor’s heads and make oddly specific threats to the audience regarding their internal organs. The sickest downhill mountain bike race can’t compete with that sort of showman-ship for advertising dollars and air time.

At some point during your sickness, you’ll nap and you’ll dream of a man that promises to give everyone in the world free soup, which sounds great until you realize he wants to give said soup to the world via helicopter. Things get hairy when cans of French Onion come careening down to earth like meteors. You wake up shortly after the soup man floods the interstate system with tomato basil and clam chowder, which you’re forced to navigate in a sea kayak in order to get to high ground. You learn that you like soup, but not too much soup and maybe, just maybe, your outdoor skills will come in handy in certain extreme situations.

And if you happen to watch a movie entitled “Primal Fear” you’ll learn all about the genetically enhanced baboons mentioned earlier. You’ll learn that if a herd of DNA altered baboons bred to kill are ever hunting you in real life, you should stay in the open and never get separated from the group. You’ll also learn that you might risk getting eaten alive by rabid baboons if the surf is epic on this beastly island, or if there’s a killer downhill course, or if it happened to be the trailhead for that Tuesday night nude ride. And as the characters on the island are picked off one by one by toothy primates, you’ll rest a little easier knowing that if there’s ever a situation where outdoor skills like backpacking, mountain biking, surfing, and climbing would come in handy, it’s on an island ruled by killer baboons.

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