Braving the not-so-great outdoors


Pity poor Chico the Chihuahua. Chico, three whole pounds of bruiser canine muscle (aka delicious morsel) was out with his owner last week when a great horned owl swooped down and tried to fly away with poor Chico firmly gripped in his talons.

This is clearly a risk when your dog weighs less than the average pork roast. Predatory flyers searching for dinner are going to be tempted. Fortunately, his town has a leash law and that leash undoubtedly saved ol’ Chico’s life. Apparently the owl, while impressive, couldn’t quite find it him to lift Chico and his hanging-on-to-the-leash-for-dear-life owner too.

Thus the owl was eventually persuaded to relinquish his grip on the struggling dog and screaming owner. Chico survived, but with a nasty puncture wound from the owl’s talons. Chico now has scars that will undoubtedly impress all the lady Chihuahuas. It was further reported that Chico now has a fairly healthy fear of the outdoor.

I don’t blame Chico one little bit. I feel that exact same way about the outdoors myself. Nature is not to be trusted. Chico and I are kindred spirits.


A popular television program around our house this week has been something called I Shouldn’t Be Alive!. As the title suggests, this program features the thrilling play-by-play adventures of people who found themselves in dangerous and often deadly situations. Somehow, through skill, cunning, and sheer dumb luck these plucky souls survived to appear on second-rate B-list television. Lucky!

I had only to see a handful of episodes to realize that the common denominator in virtually every episode was a misguided love of nature. Every single bloody, dehydrated life or death struggle started with something like “setting out for a day of hiking” or “he was an avid outdoors-man.”

Before the next commercial break the tree-hugging nature lovers were inevitably hopelessly lost. By mid-program the nature they claimed to embrace and love was actively out to destroy them. By the end there was undoubtedly starvation, broken bones and bears.


Meanwhile, a weekend of television watching (because again I am LAZY) led me from I Shouldn’t Be Alive! to When Vacations Attack! When Vacations Attack! showed that, be it beach combing or a cruise, you risk life and limb if you seek rest, relaxation and any kind of fun outdoors.

Even almost sedentary, slacker-level, floating around or spectating interaction with the great outdoors is fraught with danger. There was an elephant stampede, a fish hook to the face and what appeared to be a homicidal octopus during a scuba-diving expedition gone horribly awry.

Clearly this proves once again that it is best to never, ever leave your house. There is a reason that the Nielsen ratings don’t track dramatic programming centering around Sofa Tragedies! “Woman eats herself out of her cute jeans and into heart disease!” It just isn’t all that entertaining.

Stay safe

I understand that the sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy, even deadly, in its own way. On the upside, there are rarely bears. However, I enjoy very much the fact that as I’m curled up on my sofa with a heated blanket and a good book I have never, not even once, nearly starved to death or seen a single octopus and rarely get lost between the sofa and refrigerator.

If anyone needs us, Chico and I will be here on the couch. I can’t bear to get any fatter but then again I can’t bear to be eaten by bears. If you do go out, watch out for hawks like, well, a hawk. Nature is not to be trusted.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt thinks the sofa is probably safe. She welcomes comments c/o; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.


  1. Alas, poor Chico! My neighborhood’s population of squirrels has been significantly reduced since Mr. and Mrs. Hawk took up residence nearby. I hope that the lady Chihuahuas, after being duly impressed by Chico’s physical scars, are able to cope with his mental ones. Are thre dog psychologists? Probably so.

    I had to laugh at your example regarding “Sofa Tragedies!” It is indeed what can often happen when one’s favorite TV fare is “American Idle.” A lot of them can be seen on the internet favorite “Wal-Mart Shoppers.”

    So be it!


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