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Four Years at the Mount

Stranded on an island...

Three Wishes

Sarah Muir
MSM Class of 2018

(8/2016) In being stranded on a hypothetical desert island, one has the rare opportunity one seldom gets when one is actually stranded on a desert island. This opportunity is being able to choose three items to bring with myself during my unexpected island vacation. In all honesty, I have always found this question to be a rather silly one with an obvious answer that I will elucidate in due course, but first, let me get some ideas out of the way.

There are many ways you can approach this scenario. The first way is the practical survivalist way, in which case I would need those elements necessary for survival: shelter, water, food. I could bring an ultra-violet light protected, solar powered, weatherproof tent. I made this choice, for obvious reasons.

The second, probably most important problem to be fixed is your body's need for water; in fact, it takes approximately three days until your body begins to shut down; any longer, you risk dying of dehydration. Now, being on an island in the middle of the ocean, I would be surrounded by water, but none of it is drinkable. Well, technically, you could drink it, but consuming high amounts of salt in hopes of slaking your thirst is pointless. After minutes of exhaustive research, I discovered a way to desalinate the water. There are two ways to accomplish this: The first way requires a fire, a kettle, a receptacle, and a bit of piping. I foresee two major problems with this:

One: I only have two more spots to fill on my list if I stick with the rules, and as you can see the list of items to achieve my goal exceeds that of the guidelines.

Two: it is reliant upon my ability to make fire and I would most likely die of dehydration before I even see a wisp of smoke.

So, Plan B involves solar power and a lidded pot. You fill the lidded pot with salt water, then place an empty cup in the middle (I could find or make an empty container by using whatís around me, maybe) and finally, you place the lid on top and upside down so that the handle rest in the empty container. If I could, I would show you a diagram, but I am currently limited in doing so. The blank spot on my list has to be filled with something useful like an unbreakable, collapsible fishing rod with built in LED light. Again, the reason my third and final choice is an unbreakable, collapsible fishing rod is obvious, and the LED light is to signal whatever ships maybe passing.

Yet another way to approach this scenario is the funny, "letís-pass-the-time-with-unlikely-scenarios" kind of way. In this approach, you choose anything from, books, to people, to a deck of cards. I would most likely choose books, so long as a series counts as "one" book. The first book I would choose would be Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, followed by, Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling and lastly my copy of World Folk Tales whose authorís name has faded from the well-worn cover. However if my goal was to occupy myself until I am saved or die of exposure, dehydration, or starvation then I would probably exchange that last book with a deck of cards or a game that takes forever to finish, like Monopoly. As far as people are concerned, I would fear to choose someone I love, because even though I really and truly love them with all my heart, over exposure to them for an extended period of time in a life or death situation would strain my care for them to the breaking point. I am sure you can agree that no matter how much you love a person, the thought of being forced to see them every second of everyday on a hot, desert island would give you a bit of a headache. Besides, one person stranded is enough, there is no need to add to the hungry mouths to feed.

There is one other way to respond to the question, "If you could bring three things with you on a desert island, what would you bring?" This way, in my humble opinion, is by far the smartest and the one I would most likely choose if whether by miracle or magic genie, I was able to bring these items along. One, an unsinkable yacht with unlimited fuel to take me far away from the desert island; two, a capable crew, savvy to the ways of the sea because heaven knows I would be useless in such matters; three, a small well-stocked library somewhere on the yacht in which I can pass the time until I return back to civilization.

I think you can agree with the answers I have given you to this age old question, though I am sure you have a better plan thought out in your head of how you would handle such a situation. However, my best advice is to avoid desert islands in the future unless you like the idea of roughing it and having no one around but your best friend, Wilson.

Read other articles by Sarah Muir