20 Desert Island Must-Haves
I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours
I have a fun little activity for us, but first: I have a bone to pick with the term “desert island.” This phrasing has always pissed me off. Shouldn’t it be “deserted island?” How are you an island out there in the middle of the ocean, yet also SOMEHOW a desert?
Now here comes Wikipedia to explain why I’m wrong:
Uninhabited islands are sometimes also called "deserted islands" or "desert islands". In the latter, the adjective desert connotes not desert climate conditions, but rather "desolate and sparsely occupied or unoccupied". The word desert has been "formerly applied more widely to any wild, uninhabited region, including forest-land", and it is this archaic meaning that appears in the phrase "desert island".
Okay well, I guess this newsletter is just me learning about life in real time.
Anyway, today we are picking our twenty desert island must-haves. Why? Because life is wild, the world is nuts, and we all need a fantasy exercise now and then.
Come with me (not Timothée, sorry!) and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination…
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Imagine, if you will, your own private island. Not a creepy billionaire type of island, nor a random acre of land in some Great Lake (no shade!) This is a gorgeous tropical island you somehow landed on without spending a dime or sustaining major trauma. This is no Lord of the Flies moment. You won’t need Wilson the volleyball. You are not shipwrecked. You’re just on this island, and it is gorgeous.
What else is on the island? A bunch of palm trees, some edible fruits and nuts that won’t kill you, and some fresh water. You’ve got sand, you’ve got the ocean, there’s fish out in them waters, and you’ve got one (1) seasonally appropriate complete outfit including sturdy footwear (it is always between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit on this island, FYI).
Does it rain sometimes? Yes, we are in the tropics. Do we have hurricanes? Absolutely. Do you need to worry about a flood or a scary tsunami? No. Why not? Because you just don’t, okay?
At this point, it is time to pause and reflect. Ask yourself, “Self, what are the twenty things I would definitely need to have on this island?” If you need a full-time caretaker or just a part-time masseuse named Fabian, that human can count as one (1) item. Just remember you’ll always have to hang out with them, cuz nobody will be sending a water taxi or PJ for your or your little friend!
I have done exactly zero pre-thinking about this, which is why it’s a fun creative writing exercise for me and, hopefully, for you as well. So I’m just going to write out my twenty things like a late-Victorian Englishwoman (played by Anne Hathaway in the film adaptation of this newsletter) possessed by a spirit, doing automatic typing during a seance.
You are invited to do the same in the comments!
Sara’s 20 Desert Island Must-Haves
I’m so pale I got skin cancer when I was 18. Ew! Can you even? It was easy enough to treat, but what a warning! The surgeon was named Babar, which I loved, and his little oncology dermatology Grey’s Anatomy interns and residents all looked fascinated yet deeply embarrassed to observe me standing there naked getting every inch of my skin photographed. An episode Shonda would have written in S1-4 but never after!
I am bringing at least SPF 30 to the island. All the Arab and Italian genes from my mother’s side missed me when it came to my skin, except for the slightest hint of olive undertone that saves me from looking like Aughra from The Dark Crystal (who, to be fair, was a hot big titty elder lesbian and we do have a similar vibe).
Anyway, I prefer Fenty Hydra Vizor Refillable Invisible Face Moisturizer SPF 30 with Niacinamide (and Sephora is having their annual sale, you’re welcome!) Glowscreen is also great but it photographs weird on me sometimes and I don’t know which island birds are also avian paparazzi. I must look good at all times on the island.
2. The Internet
Babe, you think this Jersey girl is heading to her island without bringing alla youse wit me? I thinketh not! I shall have a wifi connection and even if I can’t Doordash my way into more debt, it’ll be nice to chat with the people I want to chat with (you and select family and friends).
But when somebody I can’t abide tries to speak to me, guess what? Oh, I’m sorry, there’s been a sudden disturbance in the wifi force, you know how it is on these stunning, isolated desert islands! Talk to you never, garbage!
3. A solar-powered laptop that has The Internet
I need to write! Remember, this newsletter will be optioned and turned into a major motion picture starring Miss Anne Hathaway, and I’ll need to digitally sign my contracts! Plus, I have to keep making money and intellectual property that I can leave to my little nephews.
4. An ergonomic desk situation that doubles as a shelter during storms
This has to exist, and if it doesn’t, well, we are inventing it now. See, it’s a lightweight, portable yet study desk that I can fold up and bring up on the mountain (the desert island has a mountain, I forgot to tell you) or set up right there on the beach. There’s a chair that supports my distressingly flat (but pleasingly wide) ass and elder bones. Does it include a laptop stand and remote mouse and keyboard? Probably! Solar power is fun.
When I need a shelter, the desk will serve as one. It’ll be waterproof and I can tuck myself inside in and fold down some things and seal it up. Somehow airflow will still occur. My scientists are still working on the prototype, but trust me, it’s gonna be great and I’ll patent it and sell it (proceeds going to my nephews).
5. Some kind of complete sleep setup
Having never darkened the door of a The North Face outlet or whatever (although I’m sure the people in these outdoorsy stores are very hot and much healthier than I!) I am not sure what this would entail. But surely somebody sells a whole kit with, like, a chiropractor-approved pillow, a waterproof mat, a cute little sleeping bag, perhaps an eye pillow to block out any annoying but beautiful glow-in-the-dark insects or distracting shooting stars.
6. A book about how to survive on a desert island
I won’t bother doing any pre-reading, I’ll just catch up on it when I’m there. All I have is time, and surely many questions will come up! This will be a leave no trace (LNT) camping experience, so I shall certainly respect the environment and any smoke monsters I befriend.
7. A fashionable and effective sun hat
See #1, above.
8. One of those waterproof portable Bluetooth speakers
I need my theta waves stress relieving music, my Headspace meditations, and some audiobooks for when I get tired of reading with my eyeballs. Sometimes I must listen to women scream-singing about their feelings and then do the same. Sometimes I will need Stevie Nicks.
Or some other firestarter type of thing. Maybe I should do the pre-reading after all.
10. Many pairs of sunglasses
You know I’m going to lose them. Since this is a leave no trace situation, they should be compostable. Somebody invent that, please.
11. Many pairs of regular glasses
I’m not trying to fuck with contact lenses on my sandy atoll. Let’s just assume my prescription will remain the same for the duration of my stay.
12. Several solar-powered vibrators
I don’t smoke weed, so this is my desert island go-to painkiller. I will absolutely not be taking whatever that terrible Usher family makes in The Fall of the House of Usher, Netflix edition!
14. An anthropomorphic environmental feature
I will be needing a talking waterfall or tree, and it better have a pleasant attitude.
15. Imodium AD
Inevitably, I will give myself diarrhea from my own cooking. Which gives me an idea…
16. A hot person who cooks
I will be needing food prepared in a manner that is healthy, inventive, tasty and fun, and I will need the person preparing it to be hot. I am most assuredly not trying to gaze upon any ugg mugs on this island. They also need to have good boundaries and not bother me when I’m doing my typing or napping or leave-no-trace shitting. This person will be well-paid (not by me, but by somebody) and I guess since we are trapped on this island together, we should get along pretty well as friends.
They will have their own twenty desert island must-haves, obviously, and their own interests and hobbies. Sometimes maybe our interests will intersect. That’s fun! But we shouldn’t spend too much time together. I’m not trying to be codependent!
I’m afraid to ask the person I’m dating to be the desert island cook, because I just feel that would put a lot of pressure on our relationship. But now that I think of it, maybe it puts more pressure on the relationship for me to be on a desert island? Ugh, this fantasy is hard.
17. The book Codependent No More
This will help me to maintain healthy relationships with the hot well-paid person who cooks, and the anthropomorphic environmental feature.
18. One to three dogs (immortal)
Dogs are so great, and I’ll really enjoy romping around with ones that are well-acclimated to the environment and that will never die.
19. My cat, Polly the Demon Queen (also immortal)
Polly doesn’t like most people or other cats, but she doesn’t mind dogs. Surely she’ll tolerate the hot person who cooks, especially since the hot person will also cook for her and for the one to three dogs.
Walgreens better send me off with an infinite supply!
Okay, now it is your turn. Tell me in the comments, please!