Hey, little buddy. Let’s sit right back, and I’ll regale you with tales of a tiny boat. Okay “ship”, if the lyrics haling TV show Gilligan’s Island, and lauding the SS Minnow were accurate, but come on. That tin can was barely bathtub worthy, never mind a ship. The extensive wardrobe of the seven passengers alone should have sunk it before it hit high seas; two verities that point to the obvious lessons here about afternoon outings. Always grandstand about your ride, and bring at least a hundred outfits on boat trips of three hours or more.
The fortuitous packing impressed, all right. I never plan an afternoon afloat-even at the pool-without several, contingency evening gowns in tow. Depilatories too, because God knows, Maryanne’s micro-shorts were a hundred percent more wholesome than Ginger’s well-delineated charms. If there’s one thing I learned about women’s fashions, it’s that midriff-baring gingham is infinitely less slutty than sequined cleavage, and butt cheeks are more girl-next-door than ta-ta’s. It all has to do with presentation, and in Maryanne’s case, her presentation often involved a coconut cream pie.
And while that echoes the age-old adage about men’s affections and their stomachs, it brings us to another conundrum. The castaways’ ability to create multi-course meals without benefit of a Coleman stove. The campfire need only be stoked for a stream of well-garnished delicacies to issue forth, replete with cocktails and background music. Repasts that put Survivor participants to shame, and that was just their cooking prowess. Guided by the Professor, the crew also fashioned every kind of gadget imaginable out of coconuts and bamboo, from battery chargers, to lie-detector machines, to split-level scaffolding for their stage shows, yet despite this ingeniousness, couldn’t plug a two foot hole in the Minnow’s hull. That kind of “trees and forest” thinking schooled me in mid- management before I hit middle-school!
But of all the lessons Gilligan’s island taught me, the most significant was the importance of an optimistic outlook. The Professor was smart, the Skipper commanding, the Howells wealthy beyond measure, yet it was half-full Gilligan who invariably saved the day. His unflagging desire to help coupled with the belief that he could-no matter how many times he bungled before-unknowingly instilled in me that same belief: No matter how many times life knocks you down, it’s vital to try again. And to try with a smile.