Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Training for Survivor CBS

Top 5 things to do before going on Survivor.

Fans of Survivor are no strangers to the keystone of Survivor’s success -- its vicarious appeal. But that appeal inevitably leads to more than just outwitting, outplaying and outlasting each Thursday night and then on Sunday. It leads to uncounted mental checklists--revisited and revised with each new season--of how to best prepare to play Survivor for real. Never mind completing an application and an audition tape. That’s for later,... maybe,... someday. Besides, who actually wants to do most of the stuff on their mental checklists? That wouldn’t be vicarious, now would it.

But what would happen if you wrote down and numbered your get ready for Survivor scattering of things to do. How would it compare with others’ checklists? Would it evolve even further? Does going through the trouble to write it down make you think again about completing an application and sending it in with your audition tape?

My short list:

1. Make Fire. Learn how to make it! How hard can it be!?! For those of you not familiar with the show, making fire so you can boil water so you don’t get dehydrated is quite possibly the one challenge every survivor can count on facing. Yet with a very few exceptions, group after group of survivors fails miserably in their attempts to make fire. It’s first on my list, not because it’s the most important, but because it has been on everyone’s list from the very first season, yet somehow it continues to tripe up tribe after tribe.

2. Say No To Drugs. For me, that means giving up the nicotine and caffeine well before the game begins so that I’m not mentally and physically addled by cravings and withdrawals in addition to all the other miseries Survivor throws at you--and it goes without saying that in a game where keeping a cool, clear head is a key to survival, it’s a no-brainer. Besides, who wants to be chemically imbalanced on national TV?

3. Play Chess (and puzzles/memorization games). Chess is the best game I know of to prepare you to think strategically. To a lesser degree, I’d also go out of my way to tackle various puzzles and play games that test memorization.

4. Study and Practice Lying. There are lots of tells to look for, and although I’m aware of some of them, the need to watch people scrupulously for signs that they are lying isn’t something I’ve needed to do all that often. So in a game where lying plays a crucial role, it’s a good idea to brush up on how to tell a good lie, and how to tell if you’re being lied to.

5. Exercise. Run. Swim. Pull-ups. Run. Swim. Pull-ups. Run. Swim. Pull-ups. I’d want to mix in other exercises, like sit-ups and jumping jacks, etc. to balance out my workouts, but the three--running, swimming, and pull-ups--would be where I made my training goals. And I’d probably take up Yoga.
There are more items I could put on the list. Watch Survivor reruns. Learn how to catch, clean and prepare fish. Read up on the history of your exotic location and how to make use of naturally occurring food sources. Etc. But none of them break into my top 5.

Then there’s the sobering fact that Earl, Fiji’s winner and not a longtime fan of Survivor, had just a few days to prepare. But I think that speaks more to developing tactics to fit the circumstances and good fortune, so I’m going to keep working on my list.