Worthless Guide to Survival - Part 5: Islands


Being stranded on a desert island is no laughing matter, for death is always close at hand. The possibility for escape is almost nonexistent. The ocean is filled with ravenous sharks. If you stay in the sun your virgin flesh will be charred so severely that it will simply slide from your flank like a tender cut of veal. If you attempt to take refuge in the foliage you will instantly be set upon by millions disease-ridden insects and hissing reptiles will drop down on you from the trees. But it isn't all bad. Wait, actually it is. Better just keep reading.

In This Series
Part 5 - Island
Part 1 – Bears
Part 2 – Jungles
Part 3 – Mountains
Part 4 – Urban

Checking Things Out

ShipwreckThe first thing you are going to want to do when you arrive is scout the island. This is important for a number of reasons, the first of which being that you want to make sure you’re actually on an island. My friend Dr. Ward was once “shipwrecked” on what he thought was an island off the coast of Florida. He didn’t bother exploring (on account of he was tired) but he built this really nice hut out of branches and grass the first night he was there. It even had a window made from plastic sheeting.

The next morning as he was bathing in the ocean, some kids came out from the woods and threw empty soda bottles at his fort and chopped it apart with hockey sticks. Then they took his clothes and threw them up into some trees. He ended up having to walk a mile and a half to a Wendy’s and use the payphone nude. So trust me, it pays to look around a little.

Finding Water

 Water is one of the three essentials necessary for survival. Another one is food. I forgot the third thing. It might have been spirit. Nevertheless you are going to need water, and I can tell you how to get wet. Check it:
  1. Create a Solar Still. I hope you can figure this out. I don’t know how to make a solar still. Seems pretty complicated though.

  2. Pee BottleCoconuts Got Water. If you see a coconut in a tree, throw a stick or a lizard at it to knock it down. Hack the water out with an ice skate.

  3. Don’t be Bother with Mirages. Unless you are quick the water is going to disappear before you can reach it.

  4. Drink Ocean Water. Go on, do it and see what happens. I’d laugh if you did.  

  5. Shake it from Trees. Stand under a tree and shake the tree with your mouth open. That might work (but I doubt it).

  6. Babies are 90% Water. If there are any babies with you on the island...well you catch my drift.

  7. I Think you can Drink Pee. But don’t quote me on that.

Building a Shelter

You can’t just sleep on the ground, and why settle for a crappy lean-to. You might as well go for broke and build a cool fort. What else have you got to do, sit around talking to a stupid volleyball you painted a face on? What a loser. Here are your options (along with some schematics I drew up).

Branches & Grass Hut W/ Plastic Window

Hut Drawing

Yes, this is the same kind of shelter my friend Dr. Ward made. As you can see it features a plastic sheeting window. It is made from Branches. There is a chimney but it’s just for looks. You shouldn’t light a fire in a thing made of branches. Also I forgot to draw the door, so just say it’s in back.



A treehouse is every kid’s dream. But unlike the “treehouse” my dad built us (thin plywood hastily nailed between two rotting branches), this one is actually safe. It should be built on the top of a giant stump, which may be hard to find. But if you do find it, boy oh boy, it'll be great. It features a spiral staircase and also a lamp.

Luxury Treehouse Complex

Luxury Treehouse
I think this one speaks for itself. Take a moment to study the fine detail. Brother, this is a state-of-the-art island home with all the fixin's. The Robinson Cruise family would certainly be jealous of this beauty.

Getting Rescued

As nice as an island vacation is, eventually you’re probably going to want to get home. Escape may seem impossible, but it’s actually easier than you might think! Here are the three best ways to get saved.

Rescued!Move Stuff Around. They say that rescuers might notice things which are out of the ordinary. I don't really understand how, but the site I read it on looked pretty official. So go ahead and carve your initials in a cave. Turn a few rocks upside-down. Rip leaves off of a tree. Stomp on a bug if you see one. It might also be funny to catch some fish from the ocean, put tiny straw hats on them, and then pose them out on the sand. Rescuers would probably get a big kick out of a thing like that.

Go Ape. Going ape is the international symbol for distress. If you see a ship or plane try to get the pilot’s attention. Men should frown, remove their shirt and shout “Hey!” and women should say “Ooh!” and begin to rub their hands all over their bodies in a sensual fashion. I don't know why you would want to, but you can also try wildly hurling objects towards the rescue craft while sobbing and screaming “YEAAAUUGGHHH!” I would suggest utilizing nonessentials such as empty shoeboxes full of crumpled shoepaper, old tires, or those plastic streamers which show the finish line of a bicycle race.  

Pennies in the Fire.If you throw pennies into a fire, the copper will turn the fire green. You might think this would be a good way to signal rescuers, but actually it isn’t. They will see the green fire and will probably think that island is haunted. Nobody is going to try to go to a haunted island, even if there might be treasure. Anyway last time I checked, destroying US currency was a crime.

I think that’s more than enough information to keep you alive on a desert island. Now if you die of exposure I’ll consider myself blameless. I might even laugh if I read about it in the paper. I know it seems heartless, but that's just the way I am.