So what are you taking to the island?

Published 10:45 pm Saturday, September 26, 2009

Having attended dozens of workshops, seminars and group meetings over the years, I have grown accustomed to one constant: Ice breakers.

I am sure everyone is familiar with these social exercises that are designed to help a room full of strangers or brief acquaintances get to know each other a bit better.

The list of options is long and varied.

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It may be something as silly as “what would your theme song be if you were in a movie and had a sound clip play when you entered the room?”

Another one is, “what would your ‘show business name be if you were a celebrity?” Usually arrived at by something like the name of your first pet followed by the street you grew up on.

For me that would be Greenbox Montgomery. I know, it sounds more like a southern gentlemen than a movie star.

But always the most interesting to me is the desert island game.

The gist is that you are stranded on a desert island and can only take a certain number of particular things with you which would it be and why.

If you could have five books, what would they be? Five movies? Five CDs?

I am not exactly sure how you would play these but let’s not overthink it. This may be like Gilligan’s Island or something.

This ice breaker was always the most compelling to me because it provided a little insight into people’s personalities and also forced some self reflection.

Here are mine, as of today, in no particular order. But understand my choices could be vastly different if I had to choose again tomorrow.


1. The Bible: Doesn’t require much explanation. Maintaining faith would certainly be vital.

2. How to Survive on a Desert Island: OK so there may not be a specific book for this but I would settle for some sort of survival guide.

3. The Lord of the Rings: One of the single best fantasy series of all time.

4. The Stand: Stephen King tells an epic story that would help whittle the hours away.

5. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Ken Kesey’s books speaks starkly about society and individualism, leaving lasting impressions.


1. “Exile on Main Street,” The Rolling Stones: Just a great rock and roll album. The second half might even be better than the first.

2. “The White Album,” The Beatles: It is the Beatles, come on. Do I need any explanation?

3. “Tupelo Honey,” Van Morrison: Great album from the first song to the last.

4. “The Joshua Tree,” U2: Sentimental choice because it was one of the first tapes I bought myself and features some of U2’s best work.

5. “The Last Waltz,” The Band: A double CD that is possibly the best jam session of all time with amazing guests.


This one is always the toughest for me.

1. “The Big Chill:” I’ve loved this movie since I was 13 because it has a great classic sound track and deals with growing up and becoming adults, whatever that means.

2. “Gone Baby Gone:” This is more a current favorite than anything else. But the moral dilemmas and the fact that I couldn’t imagine something like that happening to my little girl causes this to resonate on an emotional level.

3. “The Empire Strikes Back:” This may make me some enemies, but I would argue that this is the best of all six Star Wars movies.

4. “Forrest Gump:” Just a feel good movie that never seems to get old.

5. “Bring the Pain:” OK, this one might be cheating a little since it is a Chris Rock comedy special but I think it may important to be able to find a way to laugh.

There you have it. Or at least a list based on my current mood.

You may not like my choices or you may not even care. But hopefully you will spend a minute thinking about your own and I’d love to hear them.

Maybe sometimes the ice that needs broken is actually inside each of us.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at