I could claim that I have fencing lessons, or that I have tickets to La Boheme, or that I’m attending a lecture on the sustainability of agricultural practices in Machu Pichu. But I’d rather admit what I’m really doing on Wednesday night.
On May 24th, I’ll be watching the two-hour season finale of Survivor. Our family has seen every season since the show premiered on May 21, 2000. While stationed in Germany, we tuned in on Armed Forces Network. And today, we still pile on the couch to watch every week.
During commercials, we fantasize about winning the million-dollar prize and never emptying our own dishwasher again. As for me, I could subsist for days on the fat stored under my chin, so you’d think I’d be a perfect Survivor contestant. However, I’d never win and here’s why:
First, I never shut up.
Put me on a bus, in a waiting room, in a check out line, and I’ll strike up a conversation with anyone. I’ll tell long anecdotes and add unnecessary details. Before you know it, people are trying desperately to get away from me.
Picture this: After building a water-tight shed for my tribe, I start a roaring bonfire and cook the fish that I caught for everyone. Feeling confident, I tell a story about the time my car broke down in Cincinnati.
An hour later, I’m describing the mechanic’s coveralls, while one of the cast mates stands behind me, silently mouthing to the others, “She’s outta here” as he scrapes the last bites of fish from his coconut shell.
Second, I’m a slave to my digestive tract.
Without the comfort of my morning routine, which includes coffee and time to stare out the kitchen window, my digestive tract shuts down while traveling. There’s no escape, if you know what I mean.
Picture this: On day six, I can’t take it anymore. I’m found beached at the water’s edge like a whale, weakly chewing palm fronds for fiber, mumbling something about needing coffee. My tribe mates, put off by my deliriousness and suspicious of my growing paunch, vote me out that night.
Third, conflict makes me cry.
With an emotional range limited to happy and sad, I react to anger with an embarrassing chin quiver, blotchy neck, and blubbering tears.
Picture this: While my tribe mates are tanning on the beach, I begin to tell them about a blind date I had with a guy named Jethro. Hangry, the tribe bully snaps, “Nobody cares about your boring life, old lady!” My alliance waits for me to defend myself, but I can only muster an ugly cry face. Sensing weakness, they blindside me at tribal council.
Fourth, I am a scavenger.
When I go to the beach, I am compelled to scan the horizon for shells, sea glass, flotsam and jetsam. If it washes up, I’m determined to find it, take it home, and put it in a jar.
Picture this: Two tribe mates find me gullible enough for an alliance. They search for me to make plans, but I am miles away, engrossed in a pile of smelly seaweed. We go to tribal council before they’ve had a chance to find me, and I am voted out.
Lastly, my two-piece days are over.
Wobbling flesh started and ended with “Naked Guy” Richard Hatch in Season One. Nowadays, you could bounce a quarter off most Survivor contestants’ stomachs. Birthing three large babies has turned my figure into something of an old deflated inner tube. If you tossed a quarter at me, it would disappear into one of many rolls.
Picture this: Jeff Probst announces the start of a challenge, and we all start running. My tribe mates are propelled by lean sinewy muscle, but I am hindered by jiggling body parts. Crawling under a set of barriers, my bathing suit top is ripped off. The cameras zoom in on what looks like two fried eggs and a stack of pancakes. That night, the vote to cast me out is unanimous, and the director instructs that the footage be cut from the scene as not suitable for viewing.
That said, I’d better go empty the dishwasher.