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Sunday, June 12, 2021

When open auditions for “Survivor” roll into town, you’ve just got to take your shot.

Well, I don’t. I can’t stand that reality TV shit. Besides, I already had my fun by auditioning for ESPN’s “Dream Job”; one television cattle call in a lifetime is enough.

But others can have their fun. Like Terry Tomalin, who checked out, and participated in, the scene at Tampa’s “Survivor” free-for-all.

Maybe not so surprisingly, the show’s signature scheming starts long before the cameras start rolling:

That is when Jeff Nolen, the infamous “man in the pink hat,” returned and tried to lure me to the dark side.

“I like your shirt,” the 40-year-old from New Port Richey declared. “Let’s talk.”

But Cheryl Clark, the 38-year-old owner of a lawn care business in Bradenton, warned me about joining Nolen’s team.

“He’s trying to form alliances with everybody,” she said. “Watch out. He’ll vote you off the island.”

Shocked and disillusioned, I went off in search of my own posse, hoping to form an alliance that could withstand even the Axis of Evil.

“What’s with the karate uniform?” I asked James Kendrick as he awaited his turn before the camera.

“I am a martial arts instructor,” the 42-year-old from Lakeland replied.

I told Kendrick I was looking for a good man to cover my back if and when we made it to the island.

“Do you have any survival skills?” I asked.

“I can chop wood with my bare hands,” he replied.

“Good enough.”

So we headed back through the crowd to find Nolen and the rest of his Pink Hat Mafia.

“He went to the bar,” said Reniger, the hairstylist. “I take it that you have formed your own alliance?”

I smiled. Kendrick and I had agreed to split the cool million, 50-50.

“If they find out, you’ll be disqualified,” Reniger said.

“What if we cut you in for a third?” I said.

He smiled. I was finally learning what it takes to be a survivor.

Is there any chance that Tomalin will make it onto the show? He’s got certain qualifications:

When my turn came, they ushered me into a little room and gave me the signal to begin.

“I’ve sipped champagne with movie stars and killed a wild pig with a spear,” I began.

I spent the next 110 seconds talking about the sum of my more memorable adventures… swimming from Alcatraz, paddling a canoe to Bimini, backpacking through New Zealand, hanging with witch doctors in the Amazon…

Aside from his outdoorsman profile, there’s enough more behind that champagne-with-movie-stars thing that would make Tomalin an intriguing “Survivor” participant. I’m not at liberty to disclose the skinny — I defer to Terry on that — but it would bring a different spin to the show.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/12/2021 01:15:07 PM
Category: Reality Check, Florida Livin' | Permalink |

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