December 23, 2010

Presents you need for the boat

I HAVE HEARD IT SAID by both sexes that it’s very difficult to buy Christmas presents for men. That being the case, perhaps we men should do our bit to make this task easier, and, incidentally, thereby help the economy to get up off its knees.

One way to do this would be to make up a list of the Christmas presents we’d like to receive, and hand it out to friends, relatives, co-workers, and passers-by. I have heard this idea expressed often enough, but quite frankly it doesn’t appeal to me. I find it a little crass, a little indelicate, a little too much like begging. I would certainly be inhibited about asking for big-ticket items. And it is pre-loaded with the inherent danger that potential present-givers will reward your presumptuous requests by ignoring them completely, so that you receive nothing at all from your list. Such a deliberate kick in the teeth would be highly damaging to your self-esteem, which, I understand, can lead to destructive behavior on your part. That is not the kind of spirit Christmas is supposed to engender.

It has occurred to me, however, that a wish-list of this sort would be completely acceptable if it were presented in the form of a request for items for your boat.

You might think this a little strange at first, but it’s not really. It moves the guilt factor away from you to a third party. And people (even landlubbers) know instinctively that boats have souls. They realize that there are strong emotional ties between sailors and their boats that stop short only of kissing and hugging. Well, in most cases, anyway.

So, the point is that a present-list for your boat would be welcomed by those of your family and friends who are being driven to a frenzy by not having any idea of what might bring you joy this Christmas.

Now, you may already have been infected by the negative attitude that commonly assaults all brilliant new ideas like this. You may be saying, “But people will surely query why a boat would need a new flat-screen, Internet-ready, 72-inch, plasma TV with icemaker.  Or a case of Johnny Walker Red Label whisky; or a five-year subscription to Playboy. How do you answer them?”

Well, good heavens, it’s not difficult. Use your common sense. Close your eyes slightly. Look wise and mysterious. Say: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Explain that the bond between a man and his boat is intimate and very private. Tell them you have this intuitive, exclusive insight into your boat’s true needs and desires. And make sure they realize that every boat knows the difference between real Johnny Walker and the cheap hooch they distill up in those scruffy hills in Arkansas.

Today’s Thought
Ever since Eve gave Adam the apple, there has been a misunderstanding between the sexes about gifts.
— Nan Robertson

The need to de-name first
Incidentally, here’s what can happen if you don’t use Vigor’s famous de-naming ceremony before you rename your boat:

Boaters’ Rules of Thumb, #137
How far away are your navigation lights visible? Well, with a 12-volt system and lights showing through clear glass or plastic in the most favorable weather conditions, a 24-watt bulb is visible at about three miles. A 12-watt bulb is visible at about two miles. Through red or green glass or plastic, a 24-watt bulb can be seen at a little over 1 mile. Incidentally, to increase visibility from three to four miles, you have to double the brightness.

He asked her for a burning kiss;
She said in accents cruel:
“I may be called a red-hot babe
“But I’m still nobody’s fuel.”

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

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