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Read This: Roughing It Edition

Jeff Flake breaks open a coconut, one of many he ate during his week-long self-exile to a deserted Pacific island. (Courtesy of Rep. Jeff Flake's office)

Good afternoon, everyone. Hey, when's the last time your congressional representative spent seven days, alone, on a deserted island, by choice? Never?

Well, meet Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Not only did he do those things, he lived to tell the tale. In a first-person account, his week alone on Jabonwod -- a far-flung spot in the Marshall Islands -- sounds peaceful, challenging, transformative and occasionally frightening:

I went out to where the water was 25 feet deep, "loaded" my pole spear and waited. A bright blue parrot fish sauntered below, looking for coral to munch on. I fired my spear, but it grazed his side and blood spewed. I knew I'd better spear another one fast and get to shore before sharks gathered. Within seconds I shot one right through the gills and turned toward shore, looking down as I did. There it was, resting on the bottom, a six-foot gray reef shark. It was an odd sight, a shark so still. I raced for shore.

In the end, Flake says his missed his family and human contact the most. A close second: Chairs with backs. "In fact," Flake writes, "had I known how I would miss this item I would have whittled one out of a tree on my first day."

Elsewhere in today's Style section: Dan Zak on Lady Gaga as a gay icon. Howard Kurtz on different treatments of two similar sex scandal centerpieces: David Letterman and John Ensign. And Anne Midgette reports on the latest effort from the Washington National Opera.

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By The Reliable Source  |  October 12, 2009; 12:58 PM ET
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As a proud Arizonan, I have to ask: why did we let him back on the mainland???

Posted by: northgs | October 13, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

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