This week's writing prompt is "What would I invent if I were stuck on an island?"
One would hope that the island is located in a more or less tropical location, because I don't relish the idea of being stuck where temperatures dip below freezing. After all, being marooned on an island generally entails not having things like an extra change or twelve of clothing.
Being generally helpless and incompetent at the usual skills that our ancestors took for granted, I'd exhibit no outstanding creativity in fashioning radios from coconuts or anything else the Professor did on Gilligan's Island. I'd be occupied with the more immediate concerns of survival: food, shelter, protecting my hide from bloodthirsty insects and other predators. Luckily, if I were marooned now, instead of when I was a young woman, I wouldn't have a younger woman's biological issues to add yet another layer of monthly misery to survival.
When I read books that deal with such situations, I always wonder about such things, things that don't even make on a man's radar. After all, what man has to worry about menstrual cycles and cramps? What man has to worry about having a baby in primitive conditions?
When I read stories about men and women--especially in contemporary times--who survive a shipwreck or airplane crash or whatever and find themselves isolated on a deserted island, the authors almost never mention issues of getting sand in uncomfortable places, biological problems, the lack of modern toiletries, etc. Modern society prizes women with hairless bodies; "stuck on an island" doesn't lend itself to disposable razors or depilatories. I suppose all those lovely heroines ensure they're denuded of body hair through extensive laser hair removal applications before they head off on those ill-fated voyages.
Also not mentioned are the intestinal difficulties that come with a sudden change of diet and a lack of clean drinking water. Really, if nothing but fresh fruit and possibly potable water suddenly replace your usual diet, then you will suffer intestinal issues. Not only does that become uncomfortable, but it also brings up another question of personal hygiene.
Like I said, my mind wanders to practical issues when faced with such questions. Unfortunately, I seldom see answers.
Authors, in general, like to pretend such inconveniences of real life don't exist. I don't know whether we assume that our readers would also prefer not to dwell on such inconveniences or whether we haven't the courage to deal with these valid concerns of survival. Well, not the shaving. Shaving doesn't rank highly in the list of survival necessities.
So, what would I do? I wouldn't invent anything. That requires more scientific and engineering knowledge than I possess. I'd concentrate on the practicalities of survival, pray for rescue, and then pray that rescue wouldn't be worse than being marooned.
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