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Four Years at the Mount

Senior year

The Choice

Leeanne Leary
Class of 2017

(8/2016) This question has always plagued my mind whenever Iíve been asked: What one item would you bring with you if you were stranded on an island? There is almost too much to consider in this question. For instance: do I have any information about how long Iíll be there, is there a rescue effort out to find me or am I actually there forever? Will there be water, wildlife, a safe place to sleep?

None of these questions would be answered before arriving to said island, so how does a person choose? How does one prioritize clean water, the ability to hunt or make a fire, warmthÖ the list goes on. Clearly, my mind goes straight to survival, but there is more! What if I happen to get stranded on an island that used to house a family, and I donít have to worry about survival? Now what do I bring Ė a book to keep my mind working or a "beach book" that will make me laugh, maybe? Oh! I should bring a rosary, or, maybe a journal. I wouldnít want to show up to this kind of island with a knife, then again, showing up to a deserted island with a Lisa Scottoline book would be absurd. Every time I consider the possibilities, I gain a new appreciation for the fact that I will most likely never, ever, actually have to face this choice.

The Discovery show ĎNaked and Afraidí has taken this question that has plagued the minds of middle schoolers and classroom writing prompts for so long, and has put it to the test. The show is a little more advanced now, with the extended stay option and multiple items if placed in the dangerous parts of Africa; however, in the beginning, this show took two people and took everything from them, including the clothes they were wearing. The contestants were allowed to bring one item with them and were placed in a pre-determined part of the world for 21 days. The weather, wildlife, water, and obstacles were different for each pair, and each person was still only allowed one item. Admittedly, I have a slightly unhealthy obsession to the show. Maybe it has something to do with the way this question has always plagued my mind; I donít know, I should look into that. Either way, Iíve watched as contestants try to survive while essentially stranded. Some bring water filters, knives, fire starters, fishing wire, variations of a machete, and more. The most popular, as far as I can tell, has been a knife. The knife seems to also be the most useful because even if they canít start a fire, build a trap, or filter water, they have been able to clear areas, defend themselves, and most importantly, hunt for food.

So, I think, not because of my own creativity but because of my Naked and Afraid addiction and the tried practiced of the contestants, that I will bring a knife with me to my island. There may be some issues here because I have never hunted a day in my life and have an awful fear of killing animals, even bugs, so it would certainly be a true test of my will to survive and would probably be quite humorous. They could create a show just for my time on the island and it would probably draw way too many viewers. Iíve tried to come up with an answer more creative than a knife based on my recent time spent in the woods at CLC, but I just couldnít. Here is what I came up with:

  1. A very large bar of soap Ė I truly hated not being able to shower and having to wear the same clothes for days on end.
  2. A phone Ė lack of contact forced me to develop an actual interest in the lives of the bugs living around me, this canít be healthy.
  3. A watch Ė my parents used to call me Big Ben because of my constant need to know what time it is, this hasnít gone away with age.
  4. Deodorant Ė if I canít bring soap, this is the next best thing.
  5. Bug spray Ė If there was a jumbo sized can of bug spray, I would choose it over the knife every time.
  6. Poison repellent Ė Iím not sure such a thing exists, but after my bout with Poison Sumac and Ivy for weeks, this would be my number one choice.

Fortunately, while in the woods, we had food and water readily available. We walked about 1,000 meters each day to re-supply three MREs per person and five, five-gallon, water jugs. It didnít seem very convenient at the time, but compared to a stranded island it was, in retrospect, very kind of whoever decided to fill our re-supply cache every day.

After reviewing my list, I still have to choose the knife to go to my island with. The list above are unnecessary comforts in comparison to food, so I will, unfortunately, forgo bathing and bug spray for a hunting knife. That is my final decision. Now, I should learn to hunt.

Read other articles by Leeanne Leary