Workplace lunchrooms would be nothing without the ol’ desert island scenario. There you are, you poor bastard. You’re stranded on a very tiny desert island for what you can only assume is an indefinite amount of time. A few concessions are made by the universe toward your predicament: Apparently, you have at least a meager source of fresh water and food–enough to survive, even if you get the “coconut runs” daily. Sadly, though, it is presumed in most scenarios that you have no companionship.
Curiously enough, whatever crisis led to your surprise crash or abandonment on the little island, you are given some options–maybe by the grace of generous pirates? Well-connected mer-people? So, now is the time to choose. Your benevolent porpoise or pirate wench has given you but moments to decide the small comfort you may be afforded for your eternal, sandy sabbatical. I hope you have your answers ready to go. Wish-granting squids are notoriously impatient.
If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could only have…
This is the standard smartass conundrum. Are you one of those insufferables who believes you are terribly clever in declaring that you would bring a survivalist’s guide? Or a medical guide? Or a guide to building boats? Or the longest book possible so the pages may act as kindling?
Fuck you, if you are. That isn’t the exercise. The point is to decide what you read for your mind, spirit, and soul. And the merman will tell you so. Offend the merfolk and they’ll swim off and leave you with nothing, you jagoff.
And while major collected works and anthologies aren’t strictly against the rules, the dolphins will make sure the pages are loaded with bed bugs and fleas. And the pirates will vomit old rum and sea water on them. So select those at your own risk.
Trilogies or series are too broad. One could merely select the largest volume of books as a “series”, thus creating a little sandy coconut library. But, remember, the porpoises can only carry two books, and the pirates are far too drunk to retrieve more.
For my part, I’d be tempted to select some Poe short stories, a Stephen King novel, or Catcher in the Rye. But I have to be careful not to pick anything too damn depressing. The whole idea is to promote survival and sanity. I want to be removed to a happy place where I can remember the beauty of humanity and maintain my imagination.
Here are my picks:
- David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
I will confess that this is partly due to length–scarcity certainly being a consideration, but also for the humor and humanity of the Dickens work that follows young Master Copperfield as he makes his way in the 19th century world. The characters are vivid and inviting. Reading through this novel is like taking a whirlwind tour of different families, circumstances, and ways of life. What better way to have dozens of imaginary companions during your time of isolation?
2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Perhaps you can tell by these selections that I have a fondness for bold, upstart leading characters who face adversity but still see the good in themselves and the world. I think facing down the prospect of rancid water, raw crab meat (okay, yum) and pouring rain storms, I might need a reminder of innocence, optimism, and imagination.