Cast-Aways for a Castaway

Most of us have likely imagined what it would be like to be marooned on a desert isle, be it along with the quirky characters from Gilligan’s Island, all alone with a magnificent black stallion (that was my fervent wish, as a youngster), or perhaps with only the company of a soccer ball named Wilson.

If not a black stallion, I hope I at least get to have my dog with me

It’s a classic game to play: What would I do if I were a castaway on a tropical island, like some modern-day Robinson Crusoe? How would I survive? What would I eat? How would I collect water?

And it’s a game that I play pretty much every day. Because, you see, when I spot trash and junk scattered along the road, or on a hike, or in the corner of a grocery store parking lot, I often examine it with the eye of a castaway, someone frantic to put every precious item to good use.

“Oh! That discarded cup could be used to preserve the water I catch dripping off the trees from the morning fog!”

Or: “Hey, that bent nail would work as a fishhook!”

“And that piece of string would make a great fishing line!”

You never know what might turn up on that sandy beach…

The other day, while laboring up a very steep hill on my morning bike ride, I spied a stainless steel spoon that someone had discarded, and was so immersed in my castaway game that I was tempted to stop and pick it up. For that would be worth its weight in gold to a Robinson Crusoe type: a digging, eating, and leverage tool made of metal? Jackpot!

Not that I actually want to be stranded on a desert island, no matter how beautiful its coco palms and turquoise waters.

Though come to think of it, being marooned with Thurston Howell, III, and his seemingly endless supply of Mai Tais wouldn’t be all that bad….

Readers: Do you ever fantasize about being a castaway, and if so, do you play a similar game? What book would you take on the island with you, if you had to pick only one?

20 thoughts on “Cast-Aways for a Castaway

  1. I love the beach but the thought of all the hard work involved with living as a castaway scares me too death these days. Maybe 30 years ago, but not now.
    If I do get stuck on a deserted island, I want a lifetime supply of bug repellent with me.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I don’t often think about being marooned on a desert island. I do think about secluding myself in the mountains, though. But I’d have a house so I could take all the books I want. And a fireplace, and a kitchen, and…

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I would *not* like to be a castaway. My survival skills are minimal. But I have seen unusual items on the beach. Sometimes I’ll pitch in with nonprofit Heal the Bay and collect trash on SoCal beaches. There are so many fascinating discarded items: shoes, flashlight, makeup, car parts…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is why I started watching the original season of Survivor. While it is less of the reason I tune in these days (and yes, I still tune in regularly), I don’t think about it nearly as much as I used to. Probably because I think I’ve figured out I would die pretty quickly if it happened.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. No matter how beautiful the island–and I do love the ocean–I would probably spend most of my time mulling how to get off of it. I’m not a seafood fan, so I’d be eating a lot of coconuts and enticing the monkeys to throw them more often to split them open for me. The thought of hunting beasts or toasting bugs isn’t very appealing, either. I’d probably be nocturnal thanks to the zero SPF, but then there’d be that pesky Smoke Monster on the other side of the island. Guess I’d memorize the rest of Little Women and fire up the pages in an enormous signal bonfire. (Or maybe something heartening by Dickens, since the characters would have things a lot worse than I.)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t think I’d be a good castaway. The thought of being all alone on an island would terrify me. The thought there might be someone or something else on the island with me that I don’t know about scares me even more.
    If I WERE somehow lured onto a show like Survivor, I would learn how to start a fire before I went. That seems to me a necessary skill that almost none of the contestants seem to have bothered to learn before signing up for the show!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I never got the hang of starting fires properly in Girl Scouts (not sure how I got my Camping badge). I literally tried to create a spark with 2 sticks like you always hear about. Never worked for me, sigh.


      1. Aw, I’m sorry, Lisa. You can’t make S’mores without a fire! Hope you smuggled some Girl Scout cookies into your backpack.❤️


  7. Thurston Howell III! I did marvel at his (and the other castaways’) island bar/pantry.

    I know I sound like “If a genie gave me three wishes, I’d ask for unlimited wishes,” but the one thing I’d like on a deserted island is an easy way off of it when I’m ready. Until then, I’ll take (you guessed it) a large assortment of licorice.


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