Life Lessons From Gilligan’s Island

I recently found myself commenting on two seperate blog posts, about two very different topics within a few days of each other and making references to Gilligan’s Island on both comments.  It occured to me that I learned many of life’s important lessons from watching any number of crappy sitcoms, and Gilligan’s Island is certainly no exception.

For a bunch of people stranded on an island with no way home, they look pretty damn happy – let that be a lesson to you!  (Image from dvdsetcheap.com)

1. Given the opportunity, people will use technology for the dumbest possible reasons.  Long before we learned this the hard way through internet porn and Facebook, Gilligan and the Professor were using the available technology of coconuts, bamboo and palm fronds to the fullest extent of the materials’ potential.  Rather than use the technology to fix the boat, or make a water purification system, they chose to create things like automatic hammock swingers and for making the Howell’s a stock ticker which printed the Dow Jones on banana leaves.

and on a related note:

2. When faced with dire circumstances and a poor prognosis, people may focus on the wrong priorities.  Long before people squabbled over the rights to use a given pop song as the theme for a presidential election instead of frivolously wasting time on silly things like issues, Gilligan and company had paved the way for wasting time and resources.  The gang on the island would use their valuable energy to put on a show.  They’d build a stage and props so that 4 of them could entertain the other 3.  This sort of thing is still fairly rare in the real world, but in the realm of show biz it’s commonplace.  Still, we can learn from it.  The next time there’s a natural disaster, instead of sending medical aid and supplies, we should send footlights, greasepaint and boomboxes for musical accompaniment.

3. Running fast doesn’t always get you there quickly enough.  Instead you need to speed up the tape and make it even faster.  To clarify, Gilligan and crew didn’t originate this concept, the Munsters did it years earlier, whenever Herman scared someone.  Irrespective of who invented this incredible strategy, the truth of the matter is this; there’s no point in being careful to trying to accomplish things in an orderly, logical manner.  Instead, just run around and around really fast and people will become distracted by your foolishness and laugh at you.

Good news Lil Buddy! The Professor finished making the hot water heater for the showers!  (Image from Timstvshowcase.com)

4. Having your heart in the right place counts more than actually accomplishing something and/or forgiveness is a noble thing.  Gilligan screwed up the group’s chances of getting rescued multiple times.  Though the Skipper would take off his hat and smack him with it, eventually, he would realize that Gilligan’s heart was in the right place and all would be forgiven.  So don’t worry about succeeding, just try your best for all the right reasons and some big Sandusky-looking guy will forgive you and call you his “lil buddy”.  Nothing creepy about that.

5. Change is not good – change sucks the big one.  Despite their time stranded on an island, not one of the castaways changed.  Ginger remained a primadonna, the Howells continued to value money and status over everything else, Maryann stayed the sweet, innocent farmgirl she’d always been and The Professor never got horny, no matter how hot Ginger looked in that shimmery, skin-tight dress.  Let this be a lesson to you.  If those people didn’t change why should you?  Keep being the same knucklehead you’ve always been, it suits you.  Besides, you only risk a drop in the ratings by trying to improve yourself.

6. As long as we’re on the topic of change, there’s no reason to change your clothes either.  A long sleeved red shirt and bucket hat is a good wardobe for the tropics.  Find a fashion which works for you and stick with it exclusively – don’t be mixing and matching like Ginger and the Howells, stick with your first choice.  Personally, I’ve been wearing these MC Hammer genie pants for going on 20 years and they still turn heads, so I know this one is a stone cold fact, yo.

7. Diversify, diversify, diversify!  People looked at Thurston Howell III and envied his massive piles of money.  A closer look revealed that that while the rest of the castaways were looking for pretty shells and running away from headhunters, TH-III was rocking out voice work for the politically incorrect, but always humorous Mr. Magoo.  Life lesson, if you aren’t happy with your station in life, get your ass to work at a second job!  Once you’re rolling in cheddah, go score some rich debutante like Lovey, then ride that gravy train straight down Easy Street.

8. Despite being seperated from loved ones and presumed dead, you can still have lots of fun. As detailed above, the wacky castaways wasted relatively little time trying to get rescued and finding food and shelter.  Instead, they focused on playing golf, putting on skits, and getting into all sorts of zany hijinx.  Gilligan’s Island taught us to be happy, regardless of the circumstances.  Now go back out there to your own miserable little island and try to have yourself a few good chuckles.  Be sure to wrap things up within a half hour or so, minus commercials and the credits.

Manon Kubler – Is that Samoan for “Reader With Great Taste”?

At the tattoo parlor, they told me this means “courage, faith and eternal happiness”, but the guy at Peking Gourmet said it meant” Shrimp in Szechuan Sauce with Snow Peas”. (Image from checkoutmyink.com)

A week or so ago, I got a notice that a blogger named Manon Kubler wished to re-blog one of my earlier masterpieces.  The post was my biting commentary on the government’s attempt to make bullying illegal, though truthfully, it could have been any of my blogs, they’re all just so damn re-bloggable.  I’m doing the noble thing and not putting a link to that post in here – go over to the right border later and click on “Bully For You” if you want to read it.

As an absolute whore for blogging popularity, I was more than happy to give Manon Kubler the green light to reblog my work.  I figured his scores of loyal fans would read my post, and maybe a few of them would join the fledgling ranks of my followers.  I won’t build a massive loyal following overnight, but small moves like being re-blogged could add up over time.  One complication of it all was that everything Manon wrote in his comments was in a foreign language.

At first I was too flattered to care what he had written.  He had given me exposure to some new readers and I didn’t have to do crap’s worth of work to get them.  That’s a win-win in my book.  After a while, I got curious to see what his comments were.  As my loyal readers can both tell you, I only speak English and not all that well.  My writing is only slightly better than my speech, as I have the luxury of editing and sounding the words out in the privacy of my own home before I hit “send”.  Curious as to what Manon had to say, I went to a few translation websites and started putting some of his words in there, but they didn’t get translated to English consistently.

The words looked kind of Spanish, but didn’t all get recognized by the Spanish translator website.  Maybe he spoke Portuguese or some regional dialect like Catamaran or Pekinese.  After a solid five minutes of trying, I was as stumped as ever.

I do have limited experience with foreign languages.  Occasionally, I’ll be in the home of Spanish speaking clients.   Many of these people have the Spanish television channel on at all times.  The Spanish station around these parts is very entertaining to watch.  Most of the women on it bear a resemblance to Sofia Vergara, only a bit sexier and they tend to dress more provocatively.  They teeter across the screen in 5 inch pumps with skin tight skirts and low cut blouses barely covering their impressive chests, blathering on and on about God knows what – because they’re speaking Spanish.

EeS gonna bee cloudy tomorrow and…are chu even leestening to me? !?  Eye’s up here you steenky dog! (Image of Mary Gamarra from tvallure.com)

If the woman on the screen is standing in front of a weather map and gesturing wildly with her blood-red painted nails, one might assume that she is talking about a tropical depression off the Carolinas.  I tend to provide my own custom translation wherein she is talking about how handsome I am and wishing she had me alone in a deserted vacation home in Hilton Head.  If the woman is holding a microphone as she stands in front of the burned out shell of a rowhome, I naturally assume she is describing how her desire for me burns within her like the flames which displaced a family of four in Brooklyn last night.  As you might imagine, many of my Spanish-speaking clients get a little pissy with me since I tend to ignore them and just watch their TV’s.  There’s just no pleasing some people.

Zee Rerun, he is zee genius, no? Ow ee wearz zee beret and zee sus-penderz! Hees comedy eez, how do you zay, “what eez appening”    (Image from celebslist.com)

It should come as no surprise then, that I have decided to interpret Manon Kubler’s words with meanings of my own choosing.  Here’s the gist of his words:

Manon has written that he and his thousands of avid followers have recognized me, even before my own American countrymen, as a stone-cold genius – kind of like the French did with Grampa Al Lewis and Fred “Rerun” Berry.  I am the next Ernesto Hemmingwayo in their estimation.  Beyond seeing me as a literary giant in the making, Manon’s followers have essentially deified me into something like a cargo god.  They feel they are not worthy of my incredible talent and only read my words on the sabbath.  In the event that I ever deem it necessary to travel to the South Pacific island paradise they call home, I will be greeted in a manner worthy of a spiritual master, descended from the heavens.  Manon didn’t come out and say it, but I’m pretty sure there will be a nice buffet with a roast pig and some of those fancy drinks served in hollow coconuts.

I’ll admit that I may have taken some poetic license with Manon’s words, but if he didn’t want to risk misinterpretation, he could have written his comments in English, or possibly Pig Latin.