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Survivor: Thailand – An Open Letter from a Fan of Stephanieby Susan Schechter -- 10/21/2002
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Now that you’re gone from Survivor: Thailand, I wanted to write this open letter to you in order to let you know that you definitely have fans.
On paper, before the show started, I thought you were the girl the others had to beat. Without a doubt you were the strongest female on the show. But I figured you had a soft side, bringing along a pair of fuzzy slippers. I thought you were a serious contender for the final four. When Jake picked you first for his team, and said you had a sparkle in your eye, well, I knew I had hitched my wagon finally to a final four contestant.
I didn’t think I would like you as much as I did. I mean, you’re from Arkansas, and I am from New York. I’ve never even BEEN to Arkansas. You are ten years younger than I am. You are a firefighter, and I am a financial research analyst. Total opposites. All we had in common was the same shade of dirty blonde hair.
But there was something about you that made me a fan of yours. A vulnerable side. A stubborn side. The fact you stayed out in the rain all night when your companions went inside the shelter, that impressed me. In hindsight it was a stupid thing to do, since you were sick. But it impressed me nonetheless. I would have gone into the shelter, not stuck to my guns the way you obviously did.
I know David wrote in his Why Stephanie Lost article that one of the things that did you in was concentrating on the food when others were concentrating on shelter. Another thing was that you did not “make friends.”
But that’s what makes you more endearing. See, on the show, people bond together. Some of the friendships are real, like Elisabeth and Rodger from Survivor 2. But some of them are just for the show. Rudy told Jeff he hoped he never saw Richard again once the show ended. How many friendships made on the show survived once the show wrapped up?
A superfluous friendship built for the game crumbles. And perhaps you saw that. It’s a lot of work to have a friendship built on something as fragile as a game playing alliance or a butterfly’s wing. So, perhaps this is the reason you avoided all alliances. Maybe not. I don’t know what you were thinking, although I would love the chance to find out. Maybe you thought the strategy that worked for Kathy O’Brien would work for you. But what saved Kathy was the twist. There is no twist this time. At least no mandatory one, and you chose to stick to your tribe in the voluntary one.
You had a work ethic. Now, I am not saying the other members in the tribe didn’t, so far most of the action has been with the other tribe and the Ghandia/Ted soap opera. But it has appeared (or at least was edited to show) that you were doing the lion’s share of work around the camp.
But what really made me become impressed with you, Stephanie, and made me hope you would get to the final four, was two other things:
Readers may recall this quote – or at least a more common paraphrase of it:
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, it is perhaps he hears a different drummer.Stephanie, you seem to have heard the different drummer. You didn’t change and stayed true to yourself. You were a no-nonsense, strong woman who shot straight from the hip. This is what did you in, but it’s also what made me your fan.
Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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