Okay, F.C., your latest “June Jour” suggestion is a real doozy. I mean, not as weird as what I had dreamed you would think of, but a real “right out of left field” type of prompt. Basically, what F.C. threw out into the ether on Wednesday was this:
Say you’ve found yourself stranded on a deserted island with only three items in your possession:
- a piece of rope
- a magnifying glass
- a cardboard box
How would you use these items to survive?
Yeah, a real zinger for sure, huh? The first thing… well, first three things, actually, that I would do if I found myself alone in such a predicament would be this:
- Freak out and scream at the top of my lungs
- Run myself ragged around the perimeter of the island trying to find a way off of it
- Freak out and scream even louder
Which is weird for me since I’ve grown accustomed to the solitude of living alone. But being alone in the middle of nowhere? Not even with strangers passing me by? Now that would feel weird for me.
I bring up this weird feeling of seclusion because F.C.’s prompt triggered a memory I have of when I was 11, almost 12 years old. Our family and I went with a group from church to Great America amusement park outside of Chicago one summertime Saturday. Some of our group broke off to take in whatever rides/shows/attractions/etc. we wanted to see. I tagged along with my sister and a couple of her friends from church. Somehow, we were in the middle of a line for a mini-coaster, and either I was more rip-roaring to take that ride than I thought my companions were, or they were insisting we should check out something else. Bottom line is, I went on the mini-coaster, zipped past my companions, who I swear were waiving “we’ll see you later” at me as they were getting out of the “entrance” line. And when I got off the ride, my sister and my companions were nowhere near the exit waiting for me. *Ugh*
The odd thing about being blown off (or getting lost, which is what my sister later insisted happened) is that while I was freaked out a little bit, unsure and/or upset about the situation, I was actually kind of cool and calm about it. I knew what I had to do, or at least what I thought I needed to do — either seek out someone from our group in the crowd, wait near the front gate of the park, or even wait inside the church van in the parking lot. Or at the very least, I could consider assistance from a guest aid station inside the park. What I wound up doing was head back to the church van, thinking, well, everyone is going to head back to the van sooner or later, either out of concern for me or in need of something from the van.
Sure enough: As I recall, the father of two girls in my group came to the van about 20 minutes after I hopped in. He and I headed back into the park (we had readmission stamps on the back of our hands), grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby food area, and took in a live Looney Tunes show inside one of the theaters. (About the latter, it was the first time I saw a pair of shiny disco pants in person; man, did they look so sleek. Okay, they were worn by Honey Bunny, but still….)
To wind up the story, I reunited with my sister and our group, as well as the rest of the church group and our parents. Yeah, Mom learned I got “lost” and was relieved after freaking out. I thought, well, okay, but I knew what I had to do if I got lost.
And that’s the thing about that day that I recall: I did have an idea of what to do and what could happen if I became lost; there were others that day (church group, park employees, etc.) I could rely on; and it wasn’t like it was, say, a deserted island in the middle of nowhere.
Which brings me back to the situation at hand: What the heck would I do stranded on a deserted island, a zillion miles from civilization, with only a rope and a magnifying glass and a cardboard box? Yeah, solitude would be quiet, but the silence would be deafening. I mean, it’s not the type of atmosphere one is normally used to, and those are not the tools one would usually rely on in a pinch. Which is why I would scream proverbial bloody murder and look for an exit ramp. Or at least some hidden camera (because you never know what tricks reality TV has up its sleeves these days).
Barring a trap door or a Candid Camera surprise, I’d have to start thinking of what to do. Which is why I’d have to start with the magnifying glass. If I’m fortunate, the sun will be shining on me the day I got lost; so, if I gather some branches and leaves, then position the magnifying glass just so to start a fire, and if there’s a ship somewhere in the distance (“Please, let there be a ship in the distance!”), hopefully said ship will notice said fire, and will make a bee line my way. (Before you start, please don’t start throwing variables such as “But what if there are no trees?” my way. This is my deserted island; you go get your own.)
As for the cardboard box, I’d use it for one and/or two things: I’d use the box to help gather food, for there’s probably edible fruit or berries or whatnot on this island. (Again, it’s my deserted island; you go get your own.) It’d either be that or, hoping the cardboard is strong and sturdy enough, I’d use it as a boat and start hand-paddling my way off this godforsaken island.
As for the rope… hmmm, the rope…. Honestly, I hadn’t the faintest idea what I’d do with the rope going into this. But, I imagine this island I’m stranded on would have lots of tall, tall trees. (Again, my island….) So, imagining that I’m strong enough and daring enough (this is imagination, right?), I’d use it to climb and swing from the trees. Hopefully, the trees would be tall enough to give me a good view of the distance… and hopefully a ship that’d see the fire I set with the magnifying glass.
So, with desperation and ingenuity as catalysts, that’s what I’d do with only three items on a deserted island… one that I’d so desperately want to get away from. Of course there’s one alternative to not being stranded on an deserted island: Just relaxing at home and going nowhere for the weekend.
(Okay, F.C.: Are you ready to ask me about isosceles triangle diagrams now?)