Here I am, the Coast Guard guy--I should know better: there is nothing more useless than the runway behind you and the fuel you left behind. Oh well, as Ernest K. Gann says, Fate is the hunter, so down I go. Splash. (Probably should have raised the gear first.)
Fortunately, because I am luckier than I am smart, I ditch within wading distance of . . . a desert island. (In another world, or perhaps on some other forum, it would be a dessert island, so feeding myself would not be an issue.)
Once safely on the strand (hence the term stranded), I do a quick inventory: all the essential appendages are there (at my age, some appendages are not as essential as they once were). Strapped to each wrist is a watch. Why? Too cheap to buy a GMT. Well, that is the excuse I gave my wife. I have my trusty 217, cannot imagine life (desert or otherwise) without it.
And just in case I have to free-dive to 12,000 feet to bring up a six pound langouste, I have my DSSD ready.
I also managed to salvage a book. No, not Desert Islands for Dummies--I loaned that to Jim Wirth, and have not seen it since. It is my beat-up copy of Swiss Family Robinson. I think I read it the first time when I was about twelve. It is all about surviving in the wild, building tree houses, gathering food, and waiting for rescue. If I get tired of it, it can substitute for toilet paper (assuming I can find a toilet on this godforsaken hunk of sand).
I have also somehow managed to bring along a movie, a movie projector, and a screen (apparently my survival priorities are a bit skewed). Finding electricity might be a problem, but I did live through survival training way back when, so rustling up some trons should not be difficult. Something to do with rubbing two sticks together--or was that fire? Anyway, the movie: The African Queen. Never get tired of Bogie and Hepburn battling their way through the jungle--I can probably learn something if I watch closely. I do wish there had been a little more nudity, but the world probably was not ready for a nude Bogie back in 1951.
Stuck in the breast pocket of my flight suit is the family picture we took at my mothers 90th birthday party. It reminds me how lucky I was to have her as long as I did. She did not make it to her 91st birthday, but the memory will last as long as the family keeps her spirit alive. And with all those great grandkids, that should be quite a while.
As Fate would have it, I remembered to bring along my favorite meal: a beef (shredded) taco, chili relleno, rice, refried beans, and an ice cold Negra Modelo from Las Primas, my favorite Mexican restaurant. Amazing how much you can stuff into these flight suit pockets.
So far my post crash life is going pretty well. It occurs to me that some tunes would further enhance what is turning out to be a surprisingly pleasant experience. Of course, I never fly without my iPod, so the choices are many. Or so I thought. Turns out that no matter how high quality control standards are at Apple, surviving an aircraft ditching is beyond the limits of the warranty. Only two songs remain on the iPod: Glamour Profession by Steely Dan--thank God, I could listen to that one forever. And further proof that there is a God, the other song is Red House by some guy named Hendrix.
Imagine my surprise when my favorite person steps from behind one of the many palm trees that bend gracefully over the fresh water pond at the center of the island. (What? You think Im going to live on Negra Modelo?). Turns out there is such a thing as paradise: my wife, plenty of surf, my favorite watches, movie, music, book and meal--and no telephones, no computer, no taxes, no Glen Beck. We snuggle together on the beach and watch the sun set on the far off horizon. And there!! The green flash. I am beginning to hope this Desert Island Dream is not a dream.