An actual Madagascar hissing cockroach. In case you've been wondering.
An actual Madagascar hissing cockroach. In case you’ve been wondering.

If you’ve ever watched a reality show contestant choke down a Madagascar hissing cockroach smoothie or bungee-jump off a bridge, and thought, “I can do that,” maybe you’ve considered applying. ‘Cause it looks so easy, right? Sure, from the safe, plushy tentacles of your sofa. But you’ll need more than good hair and an inspirational backstory to succeed at these modern versions of Lord of The Flies. Before you create your Survivor audition video, choose your partner for The Amazing Race, and make an appointment for full-body waxing, consider these other things you ought to do as well:

  1. Learn how to read maps. This is the downfall of many an Amazing Race team. They can’t figure out the directions, and they circle the same pitted roads in their tiny, Eastern European clown-car sedans, looking for the flag that marks their next task while everyone else is on their way to the pit stop. Practice by trying to find a random address in New Jersey in a set time period with nothing but a gas-station road map and any local you can cajole into giving you directions. (Note: they love to help out-of-towners, and you don’t even have to tip them American dollars.)
  2. Get in shape. Not just decent shape. Not just “losing that spare tire around your gut” decent shape. No. If you want to compete with this crowd for that million-dollar prize, and people like this, you’ll have to be agile enough to balance on a four-inch piece of wood twenty feet over a lagoon in the hot sun. Strong enough to pull yourself up a cliff by a rope. Fast enough to beat out another team in a footrace with a thirty-pound pack strapped to your back. Get a gym membership. Bench press your children. Take Pilates, yoga, Tai Chi or whatever else will help you strengthen your core and find your center. Just don’t make your competitors practice with you. They hate that, and they will vote you out. And for Pete’s sake, if you don’t already know how, learn to swim.
  3. Learn at least one foreign language. If you can’t do that, learn “please,” “thank you,” and “where’s the airport” in a bunch of foreign languages. It’s extremely helpful if one of you can speak Chinese.
  4. Learn how to drive a stick. Seriously, do you think any of those tiny, ancient, Eastern European sedans have automatic transmissions? Hah hah hah hah. No. You’ll be lucky if they have transmissions.
  5. Get over your fear of heights. With the right therapy, it can be done. You don’t want to become known as part of the team that lost the million dollars because you couldn’t go down the giant waterslide, even with your floaties on.
  6. Watch all the previous episodes you can get your hands on. The biggest rookie mistake is repeating the same stupid crap someone else tried to get away with in Season Three. Like:
    1. Swearing the truth on your dead grandmother.
    2. Getting voted out when you’ve got TWO immunity idols in your pocket. Turns out they weren’t so happy to see you.

Good luck, don’t forget your passport, and remember to play fair: karma will always get you in the end. Or in another part of your body.