Dying in the Desert

A lot of really hideous things can happen to you in the desert. You could get stung by a highly poisonous scorpion. You could get lost without any water, wander around for a couple of days, and then drop dead of dehydration. You could get sucked into quicksand. But probably the worst thing that could ever happen in to you the desert would be finding yourself right in the middle of the upcoming “Desert Invasion” – a cringeworthy gathering of such washed-up hair-metal acts as Trixter, Firehouse, Kix, BulletBoys, Bang Tango, Skid Row, and Night Ranger, all of it hosted by Dee “House of Hair” Snider.

How to survive? We had intended to consult with Man vs. Wild host Bear Grylls – who’s been dropped into some of the world’s most inhospitable locales and dealt with some of most dangerous, unpleasant, and life-threatening situations imaginable – but when we explained to him the nature and circumstances of “Desert Invasion,” he opted out, lamenting that even his formidable survival skills were no match for such a scenario. So we’ve come up with some lifesaving tips of our own in the event of these potential pitfalls:

You’re stuck in the crowd with no water: Water must be your number-one priority. Without it, you won’t last long. Search around your immediate area for a large fellow wearing leather pants – you’re bound to find someone sooner or later at this kind of event. Decisively subdue that person, remove the leather pants, ring out the sweat into some kind of container – you can use a cap if you’re wearing one – and drink. It’s quite foul tasting, but it’s full of electrolytes and will keep you alive.

You’re trapped inside a cloud of Aqua Net: Conditions at these types of events are very unpredictable. Aqua Net may not be a concern, since many band members may have gone at least partially bald or gotten an age-appropriate haircut since the ’80s. But it’s very possible – probable, even – that many event attendees may use the hairspray for nostalgic or ironic purposes, and there may not be a steady breeze. If you do begin to smell the distinctive scent of Aqua Net and find yourself engulfed by the product, it is crucial that you NOT light a cigarette or even use your cell phone or any other portable electronic device, as you very well may ignite the air around you into a massive fireball that can incinerate you. Instead, do not panic but carefully extract yourself from the Aqua Net cloud as quickly as possible and either drop flat on the ground or seek open space.

You’re swept up in a massive sing-along of “Sister Christian”: Sometimes, when it comes to survival, the challenge is more mental than anything. Not to downplay the temporary physical torture of thousands of people hollering “Motoring!!!!” in your ear repeatedly, off-key, at top volume, but if you can somehow summon the will to shut it out and ride out the storm, as it were, you should be able to come out the other side relatively unscathed. Your well-being may depend on it.

You’re attacked by wild cougars: Not the large cat, of course, but the older women who often attend these types of events. Spurred on by each successive power ballad they hear – from Firehouse’s “Love of a Lifetime” to Trixter’s “Surrender” --they will soon be on the prowl. You must be alert to their presence – despite the stiletto heels, they’re deceptively fast, and they’ll be on top of you before you know it. In that case, your only option may be to point in the opposite direction and scream, “Whoa, I can’t believe Bret Michaels decided to show up! He just went that way!”

Sat., May 9, 12:30 p.m., 2009
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Michael Alan Goldberg