June 16, 2014

Can you pass the test?

A REQUEST from  “Cape Dory Fan,” of Miami, Florida, says: “John, years ago you wrote a blog about how intelligent you need to be to own a boat. I made a copy but lost it. Can you tell me where to find the original?”

I can do better than that, CD Fan.  I can repeat it, word for word. Here goes:

ARE YOU intelligent enough to own a boat? I only ask because it takes a certain amount of brain power to move even the smallest of boats safely from one place to another. No matter that you simply want to row the dinghy from the beach to your boat, you still need a certain number of brain synapses, all holding hands tightly and working together, to come up with the elements of a plan: pick up oars; place in oarlocks; find oarlocks; curse person who left oarlocks under thwart where near invisible; now place oars in oarlocks … you know the drill.
If you don’t have enough synapses, or they’re not feeling well, or they’ve gone on strike because they fear you’re going to outsource their jobs, I’m afraid you don’t have the intelligence to own and operate a boat.
Now, as you probably know, intelligence varies from day to day, so some days you may be intelligent enough to own and operate a boat, but on other days, the blah days, you’d be safer if you stayed ashore and let your teenage daughter drive you to the bowling alley. But how will you know if your little synapses are generating enough intelligence? Well, here’s a quick test:

Aer yuo albe to raed tihs? Appernalty olny 55 penrcet of poelpe can. Teh oethr 45 petrcen cna’t. Btu, if yuo can, tehn yuo aer intiegllnet enoguh to own a boat. Yuo may fnid it hrad to bevelie taht yuo can untersadnd waht yuo’re rdanieg, but resechar crriead out at Cmbarigde Unietrsivy in Egnlnad has rveeaeld teh phemnnoeal poewr of teh hmuan mnid. It dosne’t seme to meattr in waht odrer we plcae teh lerttes in a wrod bescuae teh integlleint mnid raeds teh wrod as a wlohe, not one letetr at a tmie. So coninrgaltuatos, you hvae psased teh integlleince tset adn yuo aer fit ot clal yesourlf Citapan.

For those of you who have no idea what’s going on in the last paragraph, I’m sorry to have to say you’re in the 45 percent group. Too bad. Stay on dry land today, will you? Maybe your synapses will be fitter tomorrow, after a good night’s sleep.

Today’s Thought
Americans have always had an ambivalent attitude toward intelligence. When they feel threatened, they want a lot of it, and when they don’t, they regard the whole thing as somewhat immoral.
  Vernon A. Walters, US Ambassador to UN, 78

“Mommy, what’s it called when one person goes into the bedroom and sleeps on top of another?”
“Ah … ahem … well, sweetheart … um … it’s actually called sexual intercourse.”
“Huh, that’s strange. My friend Billy told me it was called bunk beds.”

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

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