Desert Island Shaves

This is the fictionalized account of my “Desert Island” week.  I stuck with one set of shaving gear for the week, as if I were stranded on a desert island, and didn’t change anything until the end of the week. The original manuscript was in the form of a short story, but I lost the notebook that it was in, so I created this little piece to take its place.  Enjoy.

Day 1

I’m stranded on a desert island thanks to a helicopter tour gone wrong, but it’s not all bad.  My Ogallala Bay Rum, Limes, and Peppercorn soap and my Body Shop Maca Root shave cream are here to remind me of civilization.

I wet my face from the shallow pot of water that I have heated over my small campfire and begin to lather up using my elegant, but robust Art of Shaving Fine Badger brush.  The slowly setting sun gleams off of its ebony handle as it effortlessly applies the superlather to my face.  I inhale the spicy, yet subtly green fragrance of my lather and am silently thankful for the little things in life.

I strop my vintage Union Cutlery 5/8 full hollow square point straight razor on a small leather travel strop while admiring its ivory scales and stainless steel bolsters.  When it’s set, I bring it to my face and marvel as it slides effortlessly down my skin.  Three passes later my face and neck are clean, smooth, and soft.  I feel better than I have all day and all it took was a shave.  I lay back and watch the sun dip bellow the horizon. And I wonder when they’ll notice that I’m still not back…

Day 2

My tarp is desalinating more water this morning and I spend some of my time trying to carefully work out a ration schedule for my dried food.  Once I figure out how to make it last a week, I begin to do my best to capture some of the crabs scattered across the beach.  I manage to get two small beasties and toss them into the slowly boiling slat water for my lunch.

As the day winds down and there are still no indications of anyone else living on my small island I settle down to perform my calming ritual by pulling out my shaving gear.  I smile as the creamy lather slides across my face and revel in the feel of quality badger hair as it caresses my skin.  Tonight I may still be stranded, but my skin will feel free.

Day 3

My spirits are starting to flag, my tarp is still doing an excellent job of desalinating water, and I have enough dried food and crab to last a while, but I was hoping to see a rescue plane by now.  I’m only an hour off shore, but it may as well be the other side of the world.  These islands are so rarely visited and so spread out that it could be weeks before I am found…if they’re even looking for me.

I do my best to put those thoughts out of my mind and begin to strop my razor in preparation for my shave.  These shaves are the only things that can quiet my mind enough to allow me to sleep.  As I guide the 5/8 blade across the leather I become mesmerized by the gleam of light off of the polished mirror like edge.  My mind calms and I relax into a smooth, three pass shave.

Day 4

I’ve explored my tiny island a bit today, but there is depressingly little to see.  A small palm, banana tree, and brush forest with a few critters here and there are the only living things besides bugs.  There are rocks everywhere and my beach could best be described as jagged rocks with patches of sand in between.  I couldn’t have picked a more unpleasant island to be stranded on if I tried.

When I close my eyes I can still see the crazy look in the helicopter pilot’s eyes as he shoved me out of the door and then took off.  Luckily for me, he was hoovering low enough for me to fall safely.  Even more lucky was the fact that I was planning on hiking some of these islands, so I just happened to have my hiking pack and some supplies with me when My pilot decided that I was an alien who had come to steal his “juices”.  I should have known not to trust him after I saw his garbage can filled with redbulls and Mexican diet pills, but he was cheap and seemed steady…until he wasn’t.

Tonight I am feeling tranquil and take my time to run my AoS Fine Badger brush across my hand before lathering up.  I smile at the soft feeling of the badger hair and enjoy the solid feel of its handle.  I pull my pot of freshly desalinated and boiled water from its cooling spot and get down to business.  My lather is as good as ever, it continues to transport my olfactory sense to another place while leaving my skin feeling new and unburdened.  I only do two passes today and then lay back to plan for the next day.  The subtle scent on my skin reminds me that there are better things waiting for me, somewhere out there across the water.

Day 5

I catch the glint of what must be a plane flying across the horizon and wait all day long for it to reappear, but it never does.  I don’t know if it was a rescue plane or just some passing jet, but it destroys my spirits and sends me into a deep depression.

I pull out my gear, but I can’t bring myself to lather up.  I take a few deep sniffs of  the Ogallala soap and let its spicy scent fill my nose before I pack it back away.

Day 6

I spend the day gathering dried palm fronds and logs for a larger signal fire.  By the time the sun is fading I have a bonfire going and I feel as if I have actually made some useful progress today.  I feel tired, but hopeful and sit down to begin my shave.

Today I focus on the green, slightly sharp scent of the Maca Root shave cream as I create my superlather and imagine myself using this same set up back in my home bathroom.  I smile as my Union Cutlery blade shines in the deep orange of the setting sun and I do three passes, which leaves my face clean and smooth.  Afterwards I feel refreshed and ready to face another night alone, but strong.

Day 7

I am rescued!  It happened somtime around midday.  A plane dipped its wing as it flew over my little island and then a few hours later a helicopter landed and whisked me away to freedom.  I was told that my pilot was found two days ago, staring blankly at Godzilla movies and babbling about throwing aliens out of his helicopter.  Someone went over his itinerary, put two and two together, and sent out rescue parties to try to find me.  I am grateful to finally be headed home.

Once I am safe in my own house again I sort through my gear.  A few rocks and shells managed to get stuck in my tarp and I smile at my unintentionally collected souvenirs.  I pull out my shaving gear and prep for one more shave.  My Ogallala and Maca Root lather fills my senses and makes me think of the setting sun.  My AoS Fine Badger brush has a lingering smoky scent from my many camp fires and feels like silk as it paints the superlather onto my skin.  My Union Cutlery straight razor gleams in the light as it gently slides across my neck, removing hair and grit.  Tomorrow I will rest, but today I will shave and will allow the memory of my ordeal to slip off of me along with my whiskers.


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