The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe in the Pillory,  This Date in 1703

Well just color me dumb.

Long time back, I think I was the last person on this earth to realize that the musical "West Side Story" was Romeo and Juliet - I was about 12 when that aha! moment took shape.

I just had another.  The movie "Castaway" is a remake of Robinson Crusoe (written 1719); and I looked the Castaway story up on Wiki and what-ho!, no mention of the inspiration. My gem of a discovery prompted me to read the Daniel Defoe book over the past several nights; something I haven't done since 7th grade and something that we all need to do.

So the story goes, Robinson was a sailor on a slave ship that went down in a storm.  He washed Más a Tierra in the Pacific off the coast of Chile.  He was on the island for 28 years and ran into all kinds of adventures.  It is a good read and cleverly written by a real-deal writer.
ashore on


Supposedly, Robinson's character was based on Alexander Selkirk (1676 – 13 December 1721) who was a Scottish privateer and Royal Navy officer who spent more than four years as a castaway (1704–1709) after being marooned by his captain on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific Ocean.

I won't bore you with a blow by blow of why one is likely the source of the other as it doesn't matter much other than that there is a realization that what you think you know all about or have figured out turns out to be only half the story and generally the story that is left out of schoolhouse lecture. Schools are, more and more, adept at that.  Just casting students adrift, abandoning them on some Más a Tierra surrounded by a beautiful ocean but void of knowledge and, if one is clever and resourceful, he/she learns on his/her own.

Point is that more and more we have to rely on our own wits to "fill in the voids" in our learning.  I liken this to a string of islands, each representing a bit of knowledge.  Sadly some just realize they are on an island of knowledge and either find no way or are not curious and resourceful enough to find a way from where you are to the next island of knowledge that rests on the horizon.

There.  I feel better.  There is nothing like admitting that old saying "Too soon old and too late smart".



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