I've been noodling on the meme Freezio sent me for nearly a week now. I've been posed the "desert island" question before (not the "dessert island" question, the answer to which begins and ends with ice cream) but usually on road trips when we only brought one worn-out cassette tape with us. After hearing "Battle of Evermore" for the 30th time your minds starts to wander, and it was a good way to dig up embarrassing things about your friends ("You'd bring Toto IV to an island? Quick, push him out of the car!")
So, if you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring three of the following items, what would they be?
This is a tough one. At the pace I read I'd probably still be reading the second one by the time I died of old age. There's lots of great books out there, but not a lot that I can reread if necessary. Should I bring "The Lord of the Rings" even though I've read it so many times I can translate dwarvish runes myself? Should I pick "classics" to finally complete my high school English reading list? Or should I bring a survival book, 'cause it's a desert island and all? Here's what I settled on:
- America: The Book - Jon Stewart. It doesn't matter what page I open up to, I'm laughing within ten seconds. Funniest. Book. Ever.
- The Sandman Series - Neil Gaiman. I know, it's technically more than one book...a series of comic books/graphic novels, actually. But it reads better than 99% of anything else I've read, and comes the closest to summing up the human experience of anything since Da Bard. And it's got pictures
- The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand. I struggled with picking this as my last book. I really wanted to bring Catch-22, As I Lay Dying, or Hyperion, and the Rand is a little trite and conceited. But it probably wouldn't hurt to have a book of self-empowerment handy, especially if it's 752 pages long.
Also a tough one. I love movies, and it's so hard to rate them against each other. I almost went for the obvious choices, like The Godfather and Caddyshack. But I imagined myself watching them on an island and it just didn't work for me. By the way, how would I watch movies on a desert island? Would I have to make a DVD player out of coconuts or something? Anyway, after some deep introspection I'm crossing my fingers and picking these three:
- The Lord of the Rings - Yeah, the whole trilogy, extended editions. It's just one big 12 hour movie anyway. It takes something special to replace Star Wars in my heart (this helped) but these movies were freakin' sweet! And they eliminate the need to bring the books, too, so there.
- Strange Brew - Beauty movie, eh.
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - I almost caved and put The Empire Strikes Back (you can never completely replace Star Wars) but this got the edge. There's a dozen imitations of this flick out there (all starring Zhang Ziyi, which is fine with me) but I still watch this with wide-eyed wonder. It's deep, it's spiritual, and it has chicks with swords.
I really tried to make this one competitive. I considered Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, Bowie's Hunky Dory, Wilco's Being There, Soul Coughing's Irresistible Bliss, Green Day's Dookie, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, Def Leppards' Pyromania, even Dave Brubeck's Time Out. All worthy choices. I even thought about cheating with Bob Marley's Legend, but there's no need to evoke an island feel while I'm foraging for beetles in the sand. In the end it always comes back to the same three albums for me. No matter how far-ranging my tastes may be, I always end up putting these platters back on (much to my wife's dismay) and I don't think I'll ever get sick of them. I'm simple that way.
The rules state no spouse or kids, so I'm off the hook on Oodgie and Cheeky, although I'm sure Oodgie would appreciate the beach time. I think they're better off with working plumbing, anyway. Books, movies, and music are relatively easy because I can just consume those. People you have to interact with and get along with. For a long time. By yourselves. Gah! I thought about wimping out and bringing Sayid, Locke, and Hurley, but that's too easy. I thought about bringing the Professor (I'll bet HE can make a DVD player out of coconuts) but again, too easy. I thought about bringing Dom Deluise so we could all feast off his carcass for a few months, but I'll assume cannibalism isn't necessary for this exercise. It started making my head hurt. So don't hold me to this list--it's up for revision--but I suppose you could do worse than this bunch:
- Mark Twain - The guy was funny, and could tell a story. I'll bet that would come in handy on a desert island. He was a correspondent in Hawaii for the Sacramento Union when they were still called the Sandwich Islands, so might even know a thing or two. He just seems like good company to me.
- Clancy Brown - Dude, he was the Kurgan! He was Rawhide! He was in Shawshank and Starship Troopers! Dude, he was the Kurgan! Did I say that already?
- Marisa Miller - This is a desert island, right? And I'm trapped there, right? And Oodgie can't come, right? I'm just trying to be pragmatic, here.
That was exhausting. Last time I had a meme I tagged Massachusetts, so this time I'll tag....Illinois! You're up, kids!