CERTAIN CRITICAL ELEMENTS are whining and complaining that not only is John Vigor an idiot, but his pathetic scribblings also lack refinement and urbanity. This is fighting talk. I am as refined and urbane as the next idiot, thank you very much. And to prove it, I have some poetry for you today.
Fresh poetry about boats and the sea has been hard to come by ever since Masefield cornered the market, but I have long been hanging on to this piece sent to me by Mrs. C. Griffin, a reader in Umkomaas, South Africa. This is her (and my) contribution to Culture Corner around here:
An artist went to sea to see
What he could see at sea to draw.
He only saw what all may see —
The sea was all that artist saw.
And when he saw he’d seen the sea,
Proceeded he the scene to draw.
And since I’ve seen the artist’s scene
I’ve seen the sea the artist saw.
Anticipating that most poetry will be worse than carrying heavy luggage through O’Hare Airport, the public, to its loss, reads very little of it.
— Russell Baker
Boaters’ Rules of Thumb, #36
Color blindness. Can the person on watch at night safely judge the courses of other vessels? About 10 percent of men are color blind. If in doubt, call a woman. Although color blindness is passed on from generation to generation by women, few of them suffer from it themselves.
“So you want to be my personal assistant?”
“Do you understand the importance of punctuation?”
“Oh yes, sir. I’ve never been late in my life.”