THAT WAILING NOISE in the distance is the chairman of John Vigor’s Silent Fan Club, Ivor Tungin-Cheaque. He has just discovered that the number of pages viewed by readers of this blog has just passed the 500,000 mark. As the administrator of the world’s largest fan club, it is his duty to ensure that no member ever steps out of line by openly praising the content or quality of the writing in this column.
You will no doubt recall that membership is completely automatic, and open to all people of every nation and creed. But Mr. Tungin-Cheaque has always been obsessed with the notion that the more columns I publish, the greater the likelihood that someone, somewhere, will actually like one, and be tempted to praise my clever use of metaphor and simile, the sharpness of my rapier-like wit, my vast command of grammar, and the wondrous depth of my knowledge of manifold subjects.
And if that should happen, Mr. Tungin-Cheaque has the unpleasant task of expelling that someone, somewhere, from John Vigor’s Silent Fan Club. So far, luckily, he has never had to perform this duty, but he is starting to cavil at the steadily increasing number of page views this column generates. I have tried to persuade him not to worry, but he feels that the law of averages is against him, and that the greater the readership, the greater the likelihood that some Silent Member somewhere will experience an uncontrollable urge to praise me — and thereby start a wholesale stampede for the exits.
So, on his behalf, and for sake of his sanity, I must beg all of you Silent Members to abide by the rules of the club, and to steel yourselves against the temptation to shower me with the praise I so richly deserve. Please don’t crown me with laurels or even whisper congratulations, much as you would like to.
Thank you. Mr. Tungin-Cheaque will be most grateful.
Meanwhile, we have unfortunately come to the end of the series of essays named The Disease Called Cruising, which means I shall have to find something new and fresh to write about. Damn, it’s not easy.
However, here’s a tidbit that might intrigue you if you own a boat. Writing on the Three Sheets Northwest website earlier this year, Scott Wilson made this comment about the Seattle Boat Show:
“A popular and frightening statistic you’re likely to hear at the show is that every year, the average age of boat owners increases by six months.”
Now think about that for a moment. It’s generally accepted that the average age of most people will increase by 12 months every year. But it seems that if you own a boat, your average age increase from year to year will only be half that of the general population. In other words, instead of living for three-score years and 10, boat owners may look forward to seven-score years even.
You may find this a frightening thought when you add up the cost of an additional 70 years of boat maintenance and slip fees. And one is forced to wonder how sprightly a 140-year-old would be on the foredeck while jibing the spinnaker.
But perhaps this is just a local phenomenon. If I were you, therefore, I’d take great care to stay well away from the Seattle Boat Show.
When you become senile, you won’t know it.
— Bill Cosby, NY Times 17 Mar 87
A local junior-school teacher was trying to teach the concept of distance. She asked whether her pupils throught they lived close to school, or far away.
Nobody was willing to hazard a guess except little Susan, who was quite adamant that she lived very, very close to school.
“How are you certain?” asked the teacher.
“Well,” said little Susan, “every time I come home, my mother says: ‘Hell, are you home already?’”
(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)