YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollections

Remotely Amusing


February 21, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

(Spoiler warning. At the end of this column the winner of this spring's "Survivor" show is revealed.)

MARQUESAS, Tahiti — After poring over online bios of the 16 people picked to star in "Survivor: Marquesas," one similarity among the contestants emerges.

There isn't one of 'em who could survive a day on a lettuce-picking crew.

That said, one of the 16 will win $1 million for surviving on a tropical isle.

(Shakes head in resignation.)

"Surviving" on a tropical isle, or an African game preserve, or the Australian outback?

That's a vacation, not a test of endurance or wit.

Anyone who has survived an Imperial Valley summer is more worthy of acclaim.

Not melting to the car's vinyl bench seat in the middle of a Valley August is 10 times tougher than lounging in a poorly built hammock worrying about who ate the cherries the day before.


What about the guy in a sweat-soaked baseball cap who baled a field of Bermuda hay for 12 hours straight with only a jug of water and five homemade burritos to get him through the shift. That guy deserves a million dollars. If he gerryrigged that baler with baling wire or twine, he deserves two.

Populist pandering aside, a week from today thousands of Valleyites will watch the first episode of this spring's new "Survivor" episodes and hundreds will actually admit it.

The big questions for these fans: "Who will be the person to win $1 million?" and "Can Jeff Probst be any more of a tool?"

Since the last question is rhetorical, that leaves only the question of the eventual winner.

The first few contestants to eliminate from consideration are the savvy veterans: Paschal English, 57, of Thomaston, Ga., and Patricia Jackson, 49, of Lugoff, S.C.

Too old. Too Southern.

Sure, Rudy, Roger, "Mad Dog" and Tom were popular but they didn't win. Roger couldn't swim, Tom was certifiably nuts and Rudy couldn't outlast or outwit a flaming nudist.

The next two to eliminate from contention are the African-Americans, Sean Rector, 30, of Harlem, N.Y., and Vecepia Towery, 36, of Portland, Ore. No black "survivor" has ever won or lasted until the final rounds.

"Jesse Jackson on line one." What? Huh?

The next few to eliminate are the really good-looking young women (as much as it hurts to do so.) These three have no chance of winning: Sarah Jones, 24, of Newport Beach, Gena Crews, 28, of Gainesville, Fla., and Neleh (it's "Helen" spelled backward) Dennis, 21, of Heber City, Utah. The "survivor" is never the best-looking woman of the group. For instance, the blonde who came out in "The Animal" — gone; the brunette who posed in Playboy — gone; the cute San Diego socialite — gone.

The next to eliminate from contention are those with careers that are incompatible with the game: Gabriel Cade, a 23-year-old bartender from Celo, N.C.; Tammy Leitner, a 29-year-old crime reporter from Mesa, Ariz.; Zoe Zanidakis, a 35-year-old fishing boat captain from Monhegan Island, Maine; Peter Harkey, a 45-year-old bowling alley owner from Millis, Mass., and Robert De Canio, a 38-year-old limo driver from Queens, N.Y.

All five are aggressive people used to being in charge. They won't take kindly to having their fate left to the whims of others.

Bonus reason to count out De Canio: his luxury item is a "voodoo doll."

Contestants are allowed to bring one item to the island.

Eliminating all the aforementioned contestants (especially De Canio) leaves four to pick from.

· Filling Colby's runner-up shoes from "Survivor: Outback" is Hunter Ellis. This guy makes the bulging freak on the Bowflex commercials look like Jon Lovitz. Plus, Ellis is a FedEx pilot from La Jolla to boot.

The women on the island won't vote Ellis off and neither will the next possible winner, John Carroll.

· Carroll of Omaha, Neb., is this season's Richard Hatch. The registered nurse worked for eight years with AIDS patients in Los Angeles.

His luxury item? Massage oil.

(Not that there is anything wrong with that.)

· Who is this season's Tina Wesson? Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien of Vermont. She's a 47-year-old divorced real estate agent who biked across the states for an American Lung Association fund-raiser.

(What? You want a joke about a divorced woman who volunteers for the ALA?)

· This season's athletic-type Ethan-esque dude is Rob Mariano of Canton, Mass.

His luxury item is a football. Good call there.

Mariano is a 26-year-old construction worker who won't get voted off for a while because he can build stuff.

Of those last four, the most likely winner of the bunch is (drum roll, please) Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien.

Maybe next season on "Survivor: Imperial Valley" the guy in the sweat-soaked baseball cap will get some love.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles