What does the author say about the 145 pound grandmother who was able to lift a Chevy Impala off of her son?
In other words, we’re more powerful than we realize but we’re rarely – if ever – required to summon that force. (30)The survivor's list includes the legendary Vesna Vulović who is known as The Woman Who Fell From The Sky. Vulović was a flight attendant on her first trip from Copenhagen to Belgrade when a bomb tore the airplane apart. As you can imagine, she had extensive injuries. As Sherwood writes:
To this day, her name appears in Guinness World Records for surviving the longest fall without a parachute. (82)Other survivors include Katharine Decker Johnson who was hit by a 43,000 pound Volvo truck. Her Specialized bike was no match for the Volvo. (85)
Another survivor is Anne Hjelle who was attacked by a mountain lion. (130)
Doctors quickly determined that the lion’s fangs had nicked her spinal column and sliced within a hair of her jugular vein, carotid artery, and windpipe. They immediately treated forty deep bite marks in her neck and reattached her face using more than two hundred stitches and staples. (134)What I love about Hjelle's story is that her friend (Debi Nicholls), you know another regular human being, grabs her and won't let go. Are you kidding me? Sign me up for five more friends just like that -- friends who will stay with you even when the lion might mistake you for the next entrée.
Other survivors include Tim Shears who fell off a cruise ship (210), the woman who became known as The Central Park Jogger (234), Cassi Moore whose personalized plate reads ONETHMB because out of all of her fingers and toes, she only has one thumb left after a flesh-eating bacteria wreaked havoc on her body. (279) Ellen Klor was going to meet some of her knitting buddies, stumbled and ended up with a wooden knitting needle through heart. (11) Her horrified friends wanted to remove the needle but Klor's instinct kicked in and she told them to just call 911.
When asked who survives in a plane crash, Cynthia Corbett, an investigator in cabin research at the FAA, responded “Young, slender men.” (64)
Sherwood went on to say that agility and strength make the biggest difference when you’re trying to wiggle through airplane wreckage or slip through a twenty-inch-wide emergency exit. Furthermore:
Women should travel in flats – no high heels – and they shouldn’t wear stockings or synthetic fabrics that can melt on the skin. Short pants or skirts are another no-no. In a fire, you’ll want your body covered. (76)A lot of the survivors say that family, friends and love was crucial to their recoveries.
Sherwood interviews many folks including Professor Richard Wiseman who believes that only 10 percent of life is purely random. The remaining 90 percent is “actually defined by the way you think.” (190)
Other random gems in The Survivors Club:
Finally, I like how Sherwood describes Holocaust survivor Edith Eva Eger: she’s five foot four but her charisma is outsize. (162)
Tell me. What about you is outsize? Your heart? Generosity? Tenacity?