January 10, 2012

We need MANLY knots

ON KNOT NIGHT at the club I was one of the few chosen to demonstrate my nautical skills.  I was manning a Knot Table all by myself. The Sheet Bend table, actually.  When a couple of likely learners drifted along I told them:  "I'll show you how to tie one, but I never use it myself. Don't trust it."  They wandered off looking vaguely dissatisfied, not grateful as they should have been. They stopped by some others and pointed in my direction, and after that for some reason nobody else stopped by.

Meanwhile, all around me, people at different tables  were cooing over Square Knots and Figure-Eight knots.  A large group of women at one table was clucking like a bunch of hens about how good the Clove Hitch was for tying fenders to lifelines. I could hardly believe it.  Who has to be shown how to tie fenders to lifelines for goodness' sake? Where have they been all their sailing lives?  Who has to be shown how to tie a Clove Hitch? And to top it all, they were praising their lady instructor as if she'd just discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls or figured out that the earth goes round the sun and not vice- versa, as they had obviously previously been given to imagine. 

Of course, I should have been manning the Running-Emergency-Bowline table, but there wasn't one because it isn't an official knot. I had been practicing the Running-Emergency-Bowline knot for weeks, ever since I saw it demonstrated at a Coast Guard Auxiliary meeting.  It's not a proper bowline, actually, but it looks very much like one at first glance.  What it's all about is this:  When someone falls off the end of a pier and seems to be drowning, you run as fast as you can along the pier toward him.  You run with a coil of rope in your hand, and as you run you give two deft flicks of the wrist and Voila!  the end of the rope suddenly has a loop that will not come undone, a sort of instant bowline. The drowner simply inserts himself into the loop, leaving you, the daring, gallant rescuer, to drag him ashore.

It looks quite magical and manly when you do it, even when you're not running down a pier, and I'm sure a lot of ladies would be attracted to a man who can do the Running Emergency Bowline, if ever the stupid club would allow a man to show them how he does it. 

If ever I become a club commodore, I'll make sure there's a Running-Emergency-Bowline knot table on Knot Night.  Never mind the dumb Sheet Bend. Never mind the wimpy Clove Hitch.  Manly knots is what we want. Knots that make the ladies swoon. Even if they aren't real knots.  

Today's Thought
I say that I am myself, but what is this Self of mine
But a knot in the tangled skein of things where chance and chance combine?
— Don Marquis, Heir and Serf

Two little American Indian boys were sitting by the entrance to the reservation with a small puppy when a white man in a priest's robe drove up in an SUV.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"We're telling stories," said one boy. "Whoever tells the biggest lie gets to keep the dog."
"That's terrible," said the priest. "When I was a little boy I never told lies."
The boys looked at each other with big round eyes. Finally, one said: "Okay. That's it. The white man wins the dog."

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1 comment:

Walldog, Willie and Jake said...

When I was a boy we did not tell lies either. We told whoppers. A whopper is a lie that we told for the truth, but everyone knew it was a lie.