Nice Guys Finish First

Friday, January 11, 2002
Suburbia, California 


~ CBS:  Survivor: Africa

Nice guys finish first.  I said it on November 21, 2001 and I'm saying it again.

"When I first arrived here, I set some goals for myself.  Obviously, I wanted to last as long as I could.  But more importantly, I wanted to go home with my integrity and prove that good, honest people can get far in the game."  ~ Survivor: Africa player, Ethan Zohn

Not only did he get far in the game, Ethan won. Ethan, that good, honest person.  Ethan, that introverted soccer player with Hungarian puli-style dreadlocks.  With a shy, appealing mystique. If you will remember, quiet, introverted George Harrison was/is my favorite Beatle; there's a pattern here.

If you haven't watched the CBS reality-based TV show, Survivor: Africa, I realize this means nothing to you.  It almost meant nothing to me.  I missed all of the original Survivor series, but was taken in completely by Survivor: The Australian Outback. Survivor: Africa failed to capture me. I saw the occasional episode, and the blood-drinking competition effectively turned me off.  Last night, channel-surfing, I came upon it and watched the two-hour riveting finale.  I caught up with the "game" and its players and was pleasantly satisfied with the viewing and the outcome.  

Mind you, I was also rooting for the 56 year old woman, Kim Johnson, just as I did for Tina Wesson in Survivor: The Australian Outback. Believe me, I am an excellent vicarious Survivor experiencer, and if I were in better shape, maybe I'd be out there myself, just for the adventure. Yet, if those women lost to their closest competition, Ethan and Colby Donaldson, I was okay with that, too, as both young men were both worthy, fine players. 

I have a soft spot for big-hearted do-gooders, and I was happy to hear that Ethan's hacky-sacking with the African kids helped to influence him into directing some of his winnings toward inner city youth sports.

The biggest positive effect was the heightening of AIDS awareness.  The producer, Mark Burnett, joined with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation to highlight the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic and the show provided AIDS assistance and test kits to the African people; and player Linda Spencer, instead of opting for all-expenses-paid luxury safari, went on a tour with a mobile health clinic dedicated to spreading AIDS awareness. 

Their acts of compassion follow the example set by past winner, Tina Wesson, who has used some of her winnings to help those who are real-life, everyday survivors.    These acts balance out the other human qualities revealed in this show: sharkiness, bitchiness, sexism, age-ism, homophobia, bitterness and vindictiveness.

The player that I loved to watch was Brandon Quinton from rural Oklahoma, that swishy, bitchy drama queen -- who would be complimented by every one of those descriptors.  He was refreshingly soooo himself.  His "splash of sass" was endearing.  By far, he was the most interesting of them all... and he too is making a positive difference in the world. At the end of this month, he is flying some of the Survivor players to a Dallas AIDS benefit.  He's already raised $20,000 in pledges.

I was also delighted to hear the announcement that Survivor 4 will be sited in the Marquesas in the South Pacific.  I went to boarding school with a pair of Palauan twins, who awed me with their pure Polynesian beauty and grace.  These many years later, I'll have a chance to visit, via Survivor:Marquesas,  their homeland. They often and fondly spoke of its natural, untouched beauty, and thanks to reality-TV, we'll get to catch glimpses of it.

A wonderment.  

Water rings on your wooden table? Put mayonnaise on it and let it sit overnight.
Candle wax on your tablecloth? Put some paper down and iron it. It comes right up. I learned these household pointers from Courtney Cox.

Blood stain on your  clothing? Put your spit on it. It disappears.  I learned that from Kelly Ripa.  Regis' blood stain from a razor cut disappeared right off his shirt cuff!  Really.

You never know who your teachers are until you learn something from them.


"Life is a Gift."

Author Unknown

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
September Morn 2001-2002