Indignity Vol. 1 No. 15: An island is a "No, man!"


Indignity Vol. 1 No. 15: An island is a "No, man!"

Location, Location, Location

SOMEONE TWEETED OUT a link to a Zillow listing, for entertainment purposes. It was an entire private island off the coast of Maine: a small rustic chalet nestled among pine trees on a long, narrow 28-acre stretch of dry land, separated from a larger island by a narrow strait in a larger archipelago in Western Bay. For $1.29 million, and the willingness to live off the grid in a place only accessible by boat, it could be yours. Three bedrooms, one bath; septic system and bottled gas. It would be uncomfortable to actually live there, surely. But those pines! The clear black waters, the rocky shore! The stars at night must be amazing. An island of one's own. Something to daydream about.

Following the thread of the daydream, I zoomed out a little on the Zillow map, charting a course through the offshore waters. There was another dot there, and this one was only $339,000. I clicked through and started laughing with sheer absurd amusement, and also with terror. This is a human habitation, for sale in the United States:

Active: $339,000 (1 bed, -- baths, 540 Square Feet) Photo via Zillow.

It's a cartoon setup brought forth in real life, and the punchline is that you will die in the cold uncaring ocean and the lobsters will eat your flesh from your bones. One point five acres, known as Duck Ledges Island, of which maybe one-quarter is high enough above the waves to sustain terrestrial life, in the form of a patch or two of grass. The square footage of the house is abysmal, the so-called bedroom is a loft reachable only by ladder, the bathroom appears genuinely, actually to be an outhouse—and none of that even rated in the calculation as I tried to imagine physically inhabiting it.

"There is no better place to spend the weekend in the world!" the description says, exceeding my most optimistic estimate by at least 48 hours. It continues:

The ledges surrounding the island are loaded with seals for constant entertainment.  As it has no trees, it offers views of nature that you can't find anywhere else. The cottage is well constructed and just a few feet from sand beaches on both sides.
Now how much would you pay? Photo via Zillow.

Picture those inimitable treeless views of nature: staring straight into nature's unbroken, wind-whipped, annihilating indifference, as the waterproof seals chortle at the predicament. The sandy beaches press in on the thin walls from both sides at once. Ponder the mystery of the orange matter lying thick on the roof—it would look like tree duff, if there were any trees, but, again, there are no trees. So: rust blooming from salt-poisoned roofing nails? Windblown kelp? Climb up to the roof to find out, and scream out the answer for no other living person to hear. This is the house of someone's dreams.


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WE PRESENT instructions for the assembly of sandwiches from Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes, Copyright 1916, now in the public domain for the delectation of all, written by Marion Harris Neil, M.C.A., former Cookery Editor, The Ladies’ Home Journal, author of How to Cook in Casserole Dishes, Candies and Bonbons and How to Make Them, Canning, Preserving and Pickling, and The Something-Different Dish.

1 can salmon
1 oz. (2 tablespoonfuls) butter
1/2 oz. (2 tablespoonfuls) flour
2 teaspoonfuls sugar
1 teaspoonful salt
1 teaspoonful mustard
1/8 teaspoonful paprika
1 gill (1/2 cup) vinegar
1/2 pint (1 cup) milk or cream
2 egg yolks
Buttered bread
1/2 tablespoonful lemon-juice

Sprinkle the lemon-juice over the salmon. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour, add the seasonings, milk or cream, and when smooth add the vinegar. Stir until thick and pour on the beaten yolks of eggs; return to the fire and cook for a few minutes. Do not curdle the eggs, add the salmon, and cool. Spread between slices of buttered bread and cut into square pieces.

One-half cupful of chopped peanuts may be added to the salmon mixture if liked.

If you decide to prepare and enjoy this sandwich, kindly send a picture to us at