August 27, 2013

Nothing so much worth doing

IT TOOK A WATER RAT, in conversation with a mole, to reveal one of the great human truths, which is that “there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

The famous quote comes, of course from Kenneth Grahame’s dearly loved classic, The Wind in the Willows. When Mole shyly revealed that he had never been in a boat before in all his life, Rat, who had offered to scull him across the river, was open-mouthed with astonishment. He was moved to ask: “What have you been doing, then?”

Mole didn’t answer. He was experiencing the bliss, the quiet rapture, that grips many humans also upon their first encounter with a boat.

Rat, undeterred, continued to espouse his love of boats. “In or out of ’em, it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems to matter, really, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular, and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do ...”

There’s no doubt about it. If you must have an obsession, boating is better than most.

Today’s Thought
Great Estates may venture more,
But little Boats must keep near Shore.
— Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard

“I promise you, I’m never going to work for that rotten so-and-so again. Not after what he said to me.”
“What did he say to you?”
“You’re fired.”

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

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