Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Five Things: 30 Days of Random

Today's topic is "The five things (not people) you'd want if you were stranded on an island with no way off. And why."  Pretty specific stuff.  I'm going to do my level best to give it the attention it deserves.

Straight out of the gate, I knew this would happen to me.  This is why I hate traveling.  Because of the desert island thing.  However, having read a ton of desert island books and watched movies, I'm super ready for this.  Some reading/viewing I've done to prepare for my isolation:

Black Beauty
The Life of Pi
Robinson Crusoe
Lord of the Flies
Castaways (Backyardigans Episode)
Chipwrecked (Alvin and the Chipmunks)
80% of the Gilligan's Island TV series
Survivor (off and on for many seasons)
Robinson Crusoe on Mars (not an island, but EXACTLY the same thing...if you pretend Mars is an island in space)
The Blue Lagoon
Part of at least one or two of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies
Man vs. Wild

My point is...I'm pretty much an expert at survival by now.

So I get five things, not people, and presumably they need to last me for eternity...well...until I die alone on the desert island.

Okay, quick sidebar.  I was in PAD class in high school (Problems in American Democracy).  Mr. Hogan was a great history/social studies teacher.  Not the most sensitive, but knew his stuff.  So Mr. Hogan asked the class, "What is the duration of a Supreme Court Justice's term?"  And I was like the only kid who raised his hand, because I was so smart, obviously.  And he called on me.  And I said, "Forever."  And he laughed at me and said, "Nothing is forever.  Their term duration is for 'life'."  And I was like..."oh...yeah..."

So anyway I'm on the desert island for "life".  And presumably I can't pull the old..."wish for more wishes" thing like...I would bring along 1)  a 90' yacht filled with fuel, 2)  A crew to operate it, 3)  tons of alcohol and food, 4)  The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and 5)  a palace.

So anyway, I'm assuming my stay will be somewhat unpleasant.

1)  Pictures of my family.  It would be really hard to be without them, and sometimes looking at their faces and thinking about being apart from them would make it even harder.  But forgetting their faces would be worse still.  I know it's probably foolish of me to "waste" one of the five things I'd need on this island on something sentimental instead of practical, but ultimately, I'd lose my mind if I didn't have something like that to focus on.

2)   Firestarter.  No...not the book by Stephen King.  No...not the girl who started fires with her mind.  Just...something with which to start fires.  I could probably figure something out.  I could probably come up with a way...but if I didn't have to worry about it.  If I KNEW I could start a fire at a moment's notice, it would make me a lot less stressed out.  From fire I could sterilize stuff, filter water to make it pure (from the charcoal and a shirt sleeve), cook stuff, keep warm, ward off animals, and roast marshmallows (if I found a marshmallow bush or if a big crate of marshmallows washed up on shore from a giant Jet-puffed shipment that went down at sea.

3)  Something with which to draw/write (paper, pen, pencil).  I could occupy tons of my time writing, but also do some really useful stuff too like track the date, map the island, draw doodles of people, etc.

4)  Swiss army knife/leatherman.  Some sort of utility tool.  Cutting, sharpening, surgerizing, etc.  Sooooo much easier if I had at least one tool with which to address stick sharpening (for hunting wild boar, or for burying in a 'tiger trap' to kill game, or fishing, peeling bark for tinder, gutting fish.

5)  A few changes of clothes.  Not that it's vanity, but I'd want to change clothes, and have clothes cleaning and drying while I wore other clothes.  Not only that, but it would give me something to use as blanket/pillow material at night.  I could cut strips off shirts for bandages.  I could use the sleeves of shirts stuffed with charcoal to filter water, I could use belts for tourniquets or to secure food to tree branches, I could even drink out of the shoes for godsake.

I think if someone who actually KNEW survival made a list it would be really interesting.  This is one of those questions that may prompt me to google the results and see what experts say.  I'm curious how far off I am.  I'm sure there are obvious things I'm missing.  I've watched enough Man vs. Wild and Survivorman to know that you can go a looooong way with duct tape, but I just didn't feel like I wanted to waste a spot on duct tape. 

Comment with something you might bring along...


  1. Do you know how to make charcoal? I might knock something to write with off for a large drum (metal barrel) so I can properly make good charcoal. Then I could also write with the charcoal.... I'm over thinking the quality charcoal I do believe.

    1. maybe. I should brush up on how to make high quality charcoal now just in case...

  2. I think a book "how to make just about everything" it will also keep you busy by day making stuff or reading.
    kim s

    1. one big problem with the premise is that airlines won't let me fly with any tool that I might use regardless.

  3. Well stocked first aid kit. If that counts as more than one item, then sprayskin, superglue, and Polysporin. Personally, I need these to survive in any situation. I'm a little accident prone.