Riding Coattails: Tied Up In Knots

Watching the Ulong tribe on Survivor: Palau reminds me a bit of myself when I weighed two hundred pounds and wanted to revert back to my skinny high school bod. After a weekend of cocktails, Hostess cupcakes, and Mexican combo platters, I would wake up Monday morning with the steely resolve to get back on track and commence the shrinking process. I’d smugly stare into my oatmeal and grin wryly, secure in the knowledge that this wasn’t so hard. It would just take a little willpower. I’d get to work and eat an orange midmorning, feeling almost saint-like. Lunch would be a spinach salad with chicken and a whole wheat roll. More fruit would follow in the afternoon and by the time I put a Denise Austin tape in the VCR, I’d be shaky and crabby.

After my twenty-minute kickboxing session with the ever-perky Denise, I’d collapse on the couch, weak, exhausted, and nearing hysteria. This was impossible! Hopeless! And before I could talk myself out of it, I’d rush to the kitchen cupboard and assemble what I refer to as Survivor snack: graham crackers with peanut butter and a generous sprinkling of chocolate chips (chased by a pint-sized glass of milk). I’d polish off two calorie-laden rectangles and, if the hunger tremors had not yet ceased, indulge in one or two more. Then, I’d sink into the couch and read People or Cosmo, two publications that remind me that it could all be much, much worse. I could be an office slut, or have genital warts, or be married to Charlie Sheen, or (gulp) all three.

Admitting defeat, I’d spend the rest of the week drinking too many gin and tonics and only eating foods covered with melted cheese. I moved into size sixteen territory, which shut me out of fashion palaces like Express and Bebe. I developed an extreme dislike for any woman with a T.L.B. (tiny little butt) and felt rage when standing in front of a sale rack loaded with extra smalls.

So how does all of this relate to the Ulong tribe? I think James (R.I.P.) said it best when he told Jeff at tribal council that the Ulong has been subconsciously sabotoging itself during immunity challenges. They want to win and yet they keep doing the same stupid things that ultimately lead to defeat. It’s not like they don’t want to win; they just have a hard time pushing through the pain (Tylenol, anyone?) that stands in the way of them and a win. Plus, I think they’re making things harder on themselves than they need to. I mean, during the immunity challenge this week, I chalked up their lack of hustle to the fact that James had convinced everyone that his magic knot was going to be a real roadblock for the Koror tribe. Why else would Ibrehem have stood in the water aimlessly? And what other reason was behind James’ fashion concerns? Ulong wasn’t treating Koror like the deadly force that they are.

And now they’re down another member, although the fact that they’re a tribe of three is not the Survivor first that Jeff claimed it was at tribal council. The Maraamu tribe in the Marquesas was also a group of three by the time they merged with Rotu. But unlike Ulong, the members of Maraamu switched around a bit and managed to squeeze in one win. I was fully expecting some type of tribe shuffle, but the numbers are getting too low for that to happen now. And unlike my pursuit for a more svelte physique, which ended up being successful thanks to Weight Watchers and a gym membership, I don’t see Ulong turning their losing train around.

I made a bet last week with a coworker (who is as rabid a Survivor fan as me, God love him) about who would get the boot next. He put his money on Bobby Jon and I guessed Janu. We shook on it, agreeing that the loser would have to give the winner some Thug Passion (a tempting blend of Hennessy and Alize Gold Passion). Well, we both ended up being wrong, although it was a real treat to see James interact with Jenna Morasca on Survivor Live this week. I expected a more raucous Twinkie eating contest, although I understand that they were pressed for time.

And so is Stephenie. Although I admire her ass-kicking ways, she isn’t being very smart in her voting strategies. After the last tribal council, it’s certain that Bobby Jon now knows that she’s been lying to him. Given what a gorilla B.J. can be, I can’t imagine that he’d let something like that slide. And as far as Ibrehem is concerned, he’d be better off sidling up to his fellow Alabaman rather that Ms. La Grossa, since she’s proven to be untrustworthy. I think she’s next.

Unless Mark Burnett waves his miraculous wand of fate over the game and shakes things up radically, in which case I think people are pretty ready to kick Katie out. Coby in particular has been very vocal about how lame he thinks she is, and Caryn hates her, too…

Ugh, my brain is starting to hurt. It’s like its tied up in knots.

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