When answering the existential questions of our time, such as how do we end institutional racism, or what will take it solve income inequality, we should give some consideration to the deserted island Sesame Street companion question posed to us on Twitter this week. If the choices for a companion on a deserted island come down to Elmo, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, or Grover, there is only one logical answer to that question. Grover. One must choose Grover. Here are my thoughts, unasked for and unnecessary, as usual.
Cookie Monster is the easiest one to eliminate when determining which character would be best for survival. His need for unnecessary calories coupled with his limited conversational skills make him the least attractive companion for a survival situation. He would become annoying within the first hour, and I cannot see him being helpful in shelter building, hunting, foraging, fire building, or emotional support. No cookie.
The next furry creature that would be eliminated from the challenge would have to be Elmo. He has the developmental skills of a preschooler and he speaks about himself in the third person. While the creativity of a preschooler might be a real asset when surviving on a deserted island – they are great at unconventional building for example – the use of the third person voice in everyday conversation about oneself would surely be justifiable grounds for muppetcide. There isn’t a jury that would convict someone for killing Elmo after a day or two of listening to him say, “Elmo thinks we should use more palm fronds for Elmo’s raft,” or “Elmo doesn’t have a problem with the biting flies because Elmo has no nerve endings,” or “Elmo wishes you would stop chasing Elmo with the machete now…” Elmo is simply not a suitable companion for surviving on a desert island.
In all fairness, Oscar the Grouch would be a close second to Grover because Oscar has some mad survival skills. You don’t just wake up one day knowing how to live and thrive in a New York City trashcan, that takes some experience and ingenuity. Oscar has fifty years of experience in making it work. Oscar would be prepared for life in a survival situation if he were allowed to have his trashcan with him, but that’s a big if. And the obvious question, of course, is whether or not Oscar would deign to share any of his materials or know how with someone else. My sources say no. When has Oscar ever shared anything willingly and without expectation of reciprocity? Rarely, if at all, and whenever he has shown any connection or vulnerability he dials it all back in the end. If I were to survive with Oscar and ended up back in civilization, I would fully expect to end up in endless litigation with him trying to gain something back from me with interest. He is the perfect symbol of the “I have what I need, what’s in it for me?” mindset that happens to be in political power right now. I think a few days of that might trigger something in this loudmouthed snowflake if you catch my drift. I’m not sure a jury would be as forgiving if I offed Oscar and I don’t think I could live with him for very long.
Grover is the clear choice for a desert island companion. Grover is humble and caring. His emotional intelligence, a very important attribute in a survival situation, is extremely high. He has had a variety of life experiences, from being a waiter, to traveling the globe. Grover can get along with many types of personalities and he is curious about the world around him. I saw him learn how to make mud baked bricks with children in Nicaragua so I know he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and get to work. Sure, he’s a little clumsy, but we won’t be polishing the crystal on that island. Grover would also be a terrific parent if we needed to repopulate the island. And if he has his cape and helmet with him, Grover can fly off the island as Super Grover and bring back help. Grover is the most highly evolved of the Sesame Street characters. He has faced his fears, as noted in his best-selling, ghost written memoir, “The Monster at the End of This Book.” Surely Grover could help me work through my existential angst at being on a deserted island and help me face life’s big questions. Furthermore, Grover would do it without expecting anything in return. Grover would be a terrific ambassador to the United Nations upon our return to the civilized world. When he retires from being the moral conscience of Sesame Street, maybe someone could nominate him for that post. The world needs more Grovers.