Shell Shocked: Word on the Island
There’s a weekly feature in the Islander called “Word on the island.” It’s a man on the street (and woman, too) interview which asks each person a simple and pungent question.
The questions have to do with the serene lifestyle in Sanibel and residents’ and visitors’ reaction to it. Some of the more recent questions have been: Why do you keep coming back to Sanibel? Do you enjoy putting your hand in an alligator’s mouth? How long can you hold your breath underwater? How much beer can you jugalug in 30 seconds? And, what’s the longest you’ve waited to be seated at the Bubble Room?
I decided I would do my own version of “Word on the Island” and stood outside of Bailey’s one day to catch some unsuspecting targets.
AS: Madam, I’m a roving reporter for the Islander and I’m going to ask you our question of the day. And with your kind permission we’re going to publish your response, identify you and you will be famous forever. Years from now your grandchildren will still be in awe that your photo appeared in the Sanibel Islander. Are you ready for your 15 minutes of fame?
Lady: If you help me carry my groceries to my car I’ll answer your question.
AS: Okay, that’s a deal. The question is what do you consider to be the antithesis of frivolity?
Lady: That’s a tough one. Let me think about that a moment. My best guess is the antithesis of frivolity is condensation of morbidity.
AS: Thank you, madam. And now let me make sure I have your name spelled correctly. Let me take your photo. Just one moment. Uh, oh, I took a selfie. Here let me adjust the camera. There. And now let me help you with your groceries.
AS: Sir, yes, you who just shoplifted that cantaloupe. If you answer a question for the Islander I won’t report you. The question is what do you consider to be the antithesis of frivolity?
Shoplifter: Caught in the act. This is the first time I’ve ever been spotted shoplifting a cantaloupe. I’ve been practicing my routine in hundreds of supermarkets throughout the country and not once was I ever caught. It isn’t easy hauling a big, round cantaloupe out of a store. But I’ve perfected it.
Okay, if you won’t turn me over to the Bailey police I’ll answer your question. Frivolity is what I engage in when I spot a ripe cantaloupe. The antithesis of that feeling is when cantaloupes aren’t in season. My frivolity barometer falls to a minus C. So to me frivolity depends on the abundance of ripe cantaloupes. Want some of my cantaloupe?
AS: No, thanks. I’d then be an accessory to a crime. If you give me your name I will be sure to publish your answer in the Islander without referring to your cantaloupe, of course. Thanks very much.
Oh, madam, can I talk to you for a second? No, I’m not selling anything. And, no, I’m not running for political office. I’m a roving reporter and I’d like to ask you today’s question. What do you consider to be the antithesis of frivolity?
Lady Two: What do you take me for, an idiot? That’s the strangest question I’ve ever heard. Why don’t you ask me something simple like what’s my favorite color? Or how many cans of soup does Bailey stock? Or how far is it from Bailey’s to the Island Cinema? But if I’m to be quoted for publication I’ll answer your question.
Antithesis is defined as a person or thing that is the direct opposite of someone or something else like love is the antithesis of selfishness.
Frivolity is a lack of seriousness. Therefore, my view of your question is that it is neither frivolous nor antithetical. May I go now?
So there you have it. Three good citizens have volunteered opinions on a question that is on everyone’s mind. Tomorrow’s “Word on the Island” question is “Do you spell your name with a ‘V’, Herr Wagner?”
-Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.