Thursday, February 11, 2010

Eleven's Island

We wear guest badges on friends' birthdays, entitling us to be co-celebrants, in an outside-in sort of way. February 11 is my friend Marjie's birthday, one of the handful I remember from year to year. So I stopped in.

It’s an interesting group, those who share Marjie’s day. You could say the same about the sharers of any birthday, of course. But one name stood out. Tina Louise, who played Ginger on Gilligan’s Island, was born on 2/11/34. Clicking on her name and following where it led, I ended up in a video of a Gilligan’s Island cast reunion on a late night talk show in 1988. Everyone looked pretty good!

It made me think of the day as Eleven’s Island, cast only with 2/11 celebrities. Thomas Alva Edison would take the role of the Professor, of course. He's in his hut, inventing a radio made from coconuts and seaweed. The sign on the hut says "Inventing! Do Not Bother Me," so no one does, though he'd be surprised at how fondly he is toasted by us tourists for the light bulb, the record player, and the motion picture.

The movie star, speaking of motion pictures, could be played by the original movie star, except that Tina didn’t really like the role, and who can blame her. So we’ll give it to Jennifer Aniston and let Tina expand her horizons, maybe go off beachcombing with Marjie.

The part of Mary Ann, the girl next door, will have to be played by Sarah Palin. Not exactly type-casting, but it adds nuance to a boringly wholesome personality. What she lacks in sincerity, she makes up for in guile.

For the millionaire and his wife, we have, let’s see, how about Burt Reynolds and Eva Gabor? She can reprise her Green Acres role of a transplanted socialite: “New York is where I’d rather be! I get allergic from the sea!” And Burt could give Thurston Howell a brooding, ah-shaddap, read, more like a financier would be.

Finally, that leaves us with the actor Leslie Nielsen as the Skipper and the vegan singer-songwriter Never Shout Never as Gilligan. I have no idea what their chemistry will be like, but if things get tense, we can bring in Brazilian bandleader Sergio Mendes to loosen things up.

Tour’s over. As we sail off into the archipelago (“Next stop, Abe Lincoln, Bill Russell, Charles Darwin, Christina Ricci…”), we bid farewell to Eleven’s Island and get an answering wave from Tina and Marjie, who are roasting marshmallows over a driftwood fire. Let's wish them both a happy birthday, shall we?

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