Thursday, May 10, 2007

Not Even If You Were the Last 11 Year-Old On the Earth

Every Friday, while the rest of the 5th grade had Reading, I went to Problem Solving. I met in the elementary school library with two other students, Bobby Rasmussen and Jeff Dean for this unusual class.

Each week, in a secure manila envelope, we were given a problem to solve as a group. We were to do our absolute best work and place the completed assignment back in the envelope and close it securely. At the time I honestly thought they were looking for kids for secret government work. And even if I was not selected, I figured it got me out of class, so I was game.

Working independent of any teacher supervision, so as to not taint our results, one week our problem was somewhat as follows: We were to imagine that the people in our problem solving group were stranded on a deserted island surrounded by massive waves and man eating sharks. The paperwork went into great detail about the natural resources and climate of the island. Our assignment included making a list of ten things that would make it possible to ensure our survival.

Our hour long strategy session started out as you might typically imagine. However, early on we debated just exactly what would secure our survival. I argued we needed to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves until we could alert someone to rescue us. Bobby and Jeff insisted we were destined to remain stranded and we needed to consider what would allow for the survival of the human race on the island.

Below knife, tarp, fishing pole, matches, and other such items we had one line left for our tenth requirement for survival. I wanted to write 'flares'. Bobby and Jeff wanted to write 'sex'.

Since sex with either one of them was not even a remote possibility in my mind, as designated scribe, in my neatest cursive, I wrote 'flares.' Bobby grabbed the paper from me, erased it and in crude, firm pencil wrote 'sex'.

I adamantly disagreed and informed them that if we were truly stranded on such an island, I would never agree to continue the human race with either one of them. They insisted that I would have no choice; it would be my obligation to have children. And so a loud and boisterous argument ensued.

Stubborn and strict in my stance, I would not be swayed. While Bobby passionately pounded his farm-hand fists on the library table and Jeff tried to argue with logic, I folded my arms and refused to budge.

Even though we were explicitly told not to discuss answers with our teacher, before securing the envelope, I took our paper and showed it to Miss Langston. Pointing to Bobby's dark penciled 'sex' on line #10, I explained my dilemma.

I stood with my heart pounding awaiting her verdict. She considered all agruments and then agreed I could change 'sex' to 'flares' since I was not physically capable of creating life at this point in my life.

I stuck my tongue out at Bobby and Jeff, and scored an imaginary point for my personal victory of deserted island celibacy.


  1. Ah, Debbie,

    Of all the wonderful sentences I've read this week, your refusal to contemplate to ``continue the human race with either one of them'' takes the cake.

    Lovely yarn. Well told.

    PS: I would have gone for flares as well. Survival experts have a flair for that sort of stuff!



  2. I'd have gone for chocolate peanuts.

  3. Ever head of the radion programme "Desert Island Discs"??? It's on the BBC R4.

    Each week they interview somone and asl them what 7 records they would want with them, deserted on the desert island.

    They also get one book to choose, although they already have the Bible and Shakespeare's COmplete Works.

    Then they get to choose one luxury, and it can't be anything like matches, or a water supply, or anything too useful like that.

    So, what would be your 7 records, 1 book and 1 luxury?????

  4. D'oh! RADIO programme, not radioN!

    That sounds dangerous!

  5. This reminds me of two things. One, when I used to take a separate logic class like this one in elementary school. Two, in my high school senior Human Relations course, we had a desert island scenario. I got "killed."

  6. David,

    While I would never consider myself a survival expert, flares do seem to be a more than obvious choice, don't they?

  7. BT Bear -
    Chocolate peanuts - duh! How could we have been so stupid to overlook those?

  8. BT Bear,

    7 records, 1 book and 1 luxury, huh? Here is my list:

    1. 70's Funk (DH's special mix)
    2. Carpenters (1971)
    3. Best of Sheryl Crow
    4. Sound Track from City of Angels
    5. Kenny Chesney Greatest Hits (Now that I know the words)
    6. U2 The Joshua Tree
    7. Billy Joel's Greatest Hits

    The Book of Mormon

    Could DH be considered a "luxury item"? If not then.....
    A Nail File (I imagine cracking coconuts all day would wreak havoc on my manicure.)

    How about everyone else?

  9. Bart -
    I'm so sorry to hear you were killed in the High School deserted island scenario. This must be why I've never seen you competing on Survivor.

  10. Those poor boy were fishin', weren't they? LOL!

  11. Marvelous post. Laughed so hard I almost considered giving up sex. Sanity returned however. Whew. Thank you for the great humor.

  12. Eve,
    Those "poor" boys were the bane of my existence through most of elementary, jr. high and high school.

  13. Catmoves,
    I do hope no one's reading of my blog would ever make them considering giving up the wonderful game of Leap Frog.

  14. Hey there - great story.

    Laughed hard and could just imagine myself in the same stance (arms crossed)... LOL

    Well done and great blog.


  15. OzLady,

    So glad you were right there with me. How could I have agreed to such an arrangement? It is like choosing between Dumb and Dumber. While Two's Company, Three is a Crowd. What a mess! And did they even stop to realize there would be no one of authority to marry us? Hmmmm?


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