So the “History” Channel — I used quotation marks because the History Channel is veering pretty far away from history these days — has a new show this fall called Kings of Pain. I have not watched but I have seen the commercials, which make me cringe.
And I have a question for the History Channel. Who thought this was a good idea?
The premise of the show is simple. Two guys, biologist Adam Thorne and professional animal handler Rob “Caveman” Alleva, allow themselves to be bitten by all kinds of gross creepy crawly, slithering nightmares, just to see what happens. For instance, in one episode, Thorne (we’ll call him Dummy Number One) allows himself to be bitten by a reticulated python.
Other animals planning to share their venom this season are the Nile monitor lizard, executioner wasp, fire urchin, rove beetle, lionfish, scorpion fish, bullet ant, piranha, tarantula hawk and giant Asian centipede.
History Channel says the goal of the show is to create a comprehensive index of pain that could help save lives. I say to the History Channel, sure, that’s your motive. There is nothing sensational about your interest, at all. It’s just pure science. The bleeding and screaming in pain are just a happy side effect. And your cameras are already there, so why not film it?
You see, the two men, Dummy Number One and Dummy Number Two, say that they are creating a comprehensive pain index. The index will be an educational tool, showcasing which creatures humans should avoid, and what to do in the event they get bitten.
There are definitely at least two educational tools involved in this show.
I do not need to carry around a Comprehensive Pain Index to tell me I should avoid creatures like reticulated pythons, tarantula hawks and giant Asian centipedes.
I feel any sensible person would run in the opposite direction if one of those beasts was spotted.
However, I do not believe common sense to be a stand out characteristic of Dummies Number One and Two.
But, if they are looking for someone to join them on their quest, perhaps they should consider contacting Dylan McWilliams.
According to Outside Magazine, young Dylan has survived a rattlesnake bite, a bear attack, and a shark bite, all within three years.
He was hiking with buddies in Utah, and decided to switch from his hot hiking boots to sandals. He also helpfully (for the rattlesnake) rolled up his pants. A few minutes later… snake bite! His buddies were unharmed.
The next summer, Dylan was, somewhat ironically, teaching wilderness survival skills in Colorado. He and five co-workers decided to sleep out under the stars. He was woken up by a black bear chewing on his head! The bear tried to drag him away but he got free. Again, his buddies were fine.
The following April, Dylan decided to go surfing in Hawaii. He was paddling his surfboard out when he felt a bump and a sharp pain in his calf. Shark bite! Naturally, other surfers in the water were unharmed.
Despite these three close encounters, Dylan considers himself lucky and says he will never stop doing what he loves most, being outside.
Kings of Pain, he’s your man. He is obviously no stranger to wildlife encounters, and perhaps may be one of the few on the planet who might find a comprehensive pain index useful. If not, perhaps they can use him as a test subject. Because if you put the three of them together, it seems pretty much guaranteed that young Dylan will be the one taking the bite.
And you can never have too many educational tools.