Could You Survive on Survivor?

Do you have a Survivor personality? I'm referring to the long-running CBS TV reality program that airs on Thursday nights. I confess one of my guilty pleasures has been watching the show since it first premiered in the summer of 2000. To this day, I think the very first season is still the best one. Watching the show always makes me wonder if I could possibly withstand the rigors of such a difficult challenge. Would I be the first to go? Would my tribe cut me some slack? Would my winning personality help me form successful alliances? What kind of character traits would I need to outwit, outplay and outlast in order to win the Survivor grand prize of one million dollars?

Fans of the show know that it's an endurance test involving physical and mental adroitness. In many respects, the contestants' social skills and their ability to bond well with others often proves to be a major factor in how long they last on the island before tribal council votes them out. A tricky tightrope balance wherein players can combine personal likeability with deceit and manipulation and exert confidence without the cockiness, often advances them farther along in the game. In the hot, steamy jungle, it seems that clever strategics, persuasive ability and congeniality often win out over brute strength. Not unlike life as most of us know it in the day to day struggle of living in the real world.

On the other hand, the brain over brawn theory does not always apply to a particular age segment of Survivor females. If you're a "mature" woman player, you'll most likely be the first to go. Typically it's because the older women are not as strong as the younger gals. They are the weakest link and in the beginning of each game, they get dumped faster than you can say: "Snuff your torch, grandma". Personally, I'd love to see an entire Survivor season where all the players are baby boomers. Think Woodstock without the music.

While cunning, diplomacy and friendliness are of vital importance to winning the million dollar prize, physical stamina certainly is an essential element on Survivor. For 39 bug-infested days, contestants must survive in a hot, primitive, tropical island environment with little water, meager food supplies, no electricity and no running water.  They sleep under a flimsy palm frond shelter which they've constructed themselves and are nearly eaten alive by droves of nasty, biting insects that leave welts the size of a coconut. As if that weren't enough, players traipse around in skimpy, filthy, stinking, threadbare clothes. They are soaked by pelting rain, bake in the broiling sun and are forced to eat slimey, foul, revolting, live bugs as part of the show's weekly challenges. The bug eating would end it for me. I can't stomach eating cooked spinach much less live, squirming worms. On a positive note, an interesting side effect of being on Survivor is that nearly all the players lose copious amounts of weight. OK, sign me up. That in itself would be reason enough for me to want to join the yammering gang of Survivor outcasts.

Truth be told, I've always dreamed of living on a real deserted tropical island...a female Robinson Crusoe. But as far as enduring on the Survivor TV show? From the moment they throw the contestants over the side of a ship and make them swim toward the island...I'd manage 5 strokes and then yell for a life ring, dry clothes and a martini. If by some miracle, I actually swam all the way to land without being devoured by a shark, I'd inevitably go beserk from the hoards of bugs. The heat and humidy would drive me over the edge. I'd be the first to fall off that damn skinny pole they rig up in the ocean.  As for getting along with the sniveling, rag-tag band of jungle misfits....they'd cut me loose before I could stab any one of them in the back.

Admittedly, I enjoy watching Survivor each week night. But what would give me and I'm guessing millions of viewers, even greater pleasure is if at Tribal Council, both tribes rose up and grabbed that snarky, smirking, pompously snide host, Jeff Probst, by the neck and plunged him head first into a steaming pile of monkey dung. That in itself would be worth the million dollars!

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