Newport This Week

One Question, Two Very Different Answers



Based on the answers my husband and I gave to a recent hypothetical question, men and women undoubtedly handle stress and the preparation for it quite differently.

The question: “What four items would you bring if stranded on a deserted island?”

As our conversation unfolded it became evident that we were equally dumbfounded by the other person’s reasoning. My list included tweezers, dental floss, sneakers and ibuprofen. My husband’s included a ball, music, lip balm and a Bible.

My items took into account the need for survival in a harsh and rugged landscape by being practical, mobile and highly versatile. My husband’s items, on the other hand, took into account his need to be physically and mentally engaged, while what seemed to me like the passing of time, shading himself under a coconut tree.

The first difference of opinion was his suggestion that an axe would be a far handier tool than a tweezer.

“How would I swim with an axe?” I asked.


“Why are you swimming with your items?” he replied.

Well, hello McFly?! I was certainly not going to arrive on the island via private jet and a glass of champagne. I’d obviously reach the island due to my involvement in some maritime or air disaster. I would be swimming freely with full use of my arms and legs because my items were small enough to shove in my pocket. Conversely, he’d be battling saltwater up his nostrils, while clutching a ball and keeping both his iPhone and Bible above his head to keep them dry.

I think it’s perfectly clear who’d be the lone survivor in this scenario. It’s probably also clear which one of us is going to heaven.

If somehow he did make it to shore by means of kicking only, and we were stranded together with our collective eight items, I’m pretty sure I would tie him up with my dental floss while I stabbed his ball with my tweezers, stole his lip balm and played “Today’s Rap Hits” on perpetual loop.

Amy Martin is an opinion columnist with a background in family chaos, laughter. She writes from a perspective of passion, reality and humor.

Amy Martin is an opinion columnist with a background in family chaos, laughter. She writes from a perspective of passion, reality and humor.

My husband defended his list by explaining that it would be the slow passing of time that would drive him to desperation. I’m of the belief that starvation would do so, but “ to-may-to, ” “ to-mah-to. ” He said that having a ball to play with, music to keep him company, the Bible to challenge him and lip balm to keep him comfortable would help stave off that agony after a hard day’s work.

“Whose hard day’s work?” I asked.

I could not understand how the unwritten Sunday man rule of afternoon napping while watching golf could somehow still apply on Coconut Island.

Tweezers are my versatile, go-to tool for repairs and small surgical procedures, not to mention rogue facial hairs. They can pinch, poke, stab and flatten, and could be used for defense and removal of small foreign objects. They could also crack open a coconut when it falls onto my husband while he’s keeping company with his melodies.

Dental floss is incredibly durable; far more so than the screen of an iPhone that would shatter when dropped on sand. It can be used for sewing, tying, stitching wounds, fishing, and as a fire starter. I learned this fact during a regrettable multi-tasking incident involving a curling iron while performing hygienic dental care.

I can only imagine the desperate need for ibuprofen after the physical exertion of daily island survival, like construction of shelter, or chapped lips. I rely heavily on anti-inflammatories now to combat the aches and pains from middle-aged desk work, laundry and the occasional zipping up of my knee-high boots.

If stilettos have taught me anything, it’s that certain footwear is more practical for certain surfaces. Coconut Island would clearly have a mixed terrain of sand and jungle, necessitating the need for sneakers. It wouldn’t be all barefoot beach soccer games, as my husband envisions.

My chosen items seem to echo the planning, practicality and God-given resourcefulness that woman rely upon in their daily lives. My husband’s chosen items seem to echo the activities he partakes of on Sundays. The Bible now seems to be the most apropos item of them all.

So, if you see us furiously kicking in a body of water together while one of us is holding a book over his head, know that I will survive longer. But please rescue both of us anyway.

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