I admit to being somewhat of a Reality TV follower. It gets a deserved bum rap at times. When they first appeared years ago, reality shows made for some pretty darned good entertainment (worm eating and multiple-wife families withstanding). Let’s rewind the film back to 2002 and the FOURTH season of CBS’s Survivor: Survivor Marquesa – South Pacific.
Chalk it up to the human resources in me, but Survivor (The Apprentice, Big Brother) provide microcosms and apt examples of workplace drama. As with Survivor, some days are good; some days are bad. Some days the fish are biting; other days you go hungry. And if one tribe raids the other of all its worldly goods, the sun rises the next morning, you still grow hungry, and life goes one. Those remaining on the island learn the hard way that “He who is waiting for something to turn up might start with his own shirt sleeves.”
Particularly amusing were the tribe members’ reactions to the winds of fate. They spent weeks sleeping on a hot, bug infested, sandy beach eating taro root and coconut trying to tolerate each other’s idiosyncrasies and body odor. Success was ultimately determined by attitude, determination and, the big surprise of that season: honesty and integrity. WHOA! Tightly made pacts and sworn promises were splintered and destroyed by deceit, self-interest, and opportunity.
Being from the South I pulled for Paschal “Paps” English, a 57-year old Superior Court judge who hailed from Thomaston, GA. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Georgia/Athens. Paps sounded and acted so much like former President Jimmy Carter they could have been brothers. In those early years, Survivor participants were allowed ONE luxury item on the island. Paps chose to take the American flag. It came in quite handy during one of the challenges. Yes, he also served in Southeast Asia as an Air Force Captain.
Paps’ performance secured him a spot on two special trips away from the tribe. One of the rewards was a night on a private cruise ship that included a hot shower, a lavish, hot meal, clean clothes, a night’s sleep in a real bed, and the opportunity to share his good fortune with the tribal member of his choice. Paps chose seemingly innocent 21-year old Neleh Dennis, a blue-eyed blonde from Utah. Her luxury item: Scriptures.
The South Pacific winds of fate blew the two back to the tribe totally satiated and smelling good after a night of luxurious leisure on the cruise ship. When they neglected to return with food to share with their tribal ‘family,’ the seeds of jealousy and resentment sprang forth like weeds in a garden. Neleh’s excruciatingly detailed description of the smell of soap, the taste of each morsel of food, and how wonderful it was to feel her real skin again, quickly turned the garden weeds to highway kudzu.
It wasn’t unreasonable to expect that Neleh’s naivety and lack of sensitivity, coupled with the tribe’s rampant jealousy would secure her banishment at the next Tribal Council. But truth, justice, and the American way, a salute to old Paps’ influence, won out and the least trusted member, slick and sly Tammy Leitner, a 29-year old crime reporter, received the boot.
A twist of fate using a controversial Purple Rock tiebreaker (never used again), caused Paps’ demise despite having had NO votes against him. Ultimately, Neleh was one of the remaining two tribal members but she lost the $1 million prize by one vote to 36-year old Vecepia Towery.
You can learn a lot about human nature watching Survivor. This particular series served as a great example of how ‘doing the right things right’ ultimately worked. It was one of the first seasons when the ‘little guys’ collaborated to overtake the ‘big guys.’ That could be why show host Jeff Probst ranked it as his second to least favorite of the first 19 seasons. He thought it was a ‘sleeper.’ Denis Waitley, ‘Losers make promises they often break. Winners make commitments they always keep,” just might have been proven right.
Much can be said about fate and luck. I live in the spirit of rolling up your shirt sleeves. I’ll leave you to ponder these thoughts:
What helps luck is a habit of watching for opportunities, of having a patient but relentless mind, of sacrificing one’s ease or vanity, or uniting a love of detail to foresight, and of passing through hard times bravely and cheerfully. – Victor Cherbuliez
Depend on the rabbit’s foot if you will, but remember it didn’t work for a rabbit. – R.E. Shay
~From the desk of Becky Morlok~Share with a Friend or Colleague