P. Langdale spends much of his time appreciating avian life. I hate birds. So I occupy my time envisioning disastrous situations and thinking of how to avoid them. On an aeroplane or dirigible I always take a seat within five rows of an exit and leave my seat-belt fastened, despite the minuscule possibility of an incident or the fact that no one has died as a result of an airship accident in 20+ years. Whilst engaging in cyclo-flanerie I always, always helmet. Our American apartment home finds itself on the second floor of a high rise, so that I am assured of not so much as a broken leg from executing the hang-drop method should the building be engulfed in flames. I rarely take elevators, and Bruce Schneier is my e-security guru.
If you think I live in a world awash in fear and paranoia, I don’t. I live in Russia. At no time does one need to prepare more for the unlikely than while in Russia. Especially when one visits a monk-run ostrich farm, as my roommate is doing today. In order to prepare him for the potential of a full-on ostrich assault, I found an article that will help him survive an encounter with one of these prehistorical beasts. The best advice:
Ostriches have terrible ground fighting skills. If you can manage to get behind one, cinch your arm around its neck tightly and use your momentum to fall to one side. While on the ground and keeping hold of the neck, make sure to chop the throat repeatedly until the bird loses consciousness.
I recommend you read it for your own sake. But don’t try to be a hero; do as Teddy Roosevelt suggested and play dead. It may just save your life.
-Michael E. van Landingham