May 19, 2015

Planning for calamity

I CONFESS to having impure thoughts. They’ve been going on a long time, on three continents and in practically every city I’ve ever lived in. They started when I was quite young, when I realized that everyone should have an escape vehicle in times of calamity.

Calamities, I knew even then, are rare, but it’s a wise man who recognizes that they can occur and who makes timely provision for his family to flee for their lives. I’m thinking of things like our resident volcano erupting, or the biker gangs going to war with each other in our town, or Sarah Palin being elected president.

My way of escaping is, of course, by sea, and to this end I have always turned my impure thoughts into deeds by choosing a suitable boat berthed in my nearest marina or mooring field. I recommend that each of you who lacks a boat suitable for crossing an ocean should follow suit and generate some impure thoughts of your own.

Let’s get one thing straight immediately. You’re not going to steal this boat when panic sets in. You’re merely going to borrow it to sail to New Zealand, or Tahiti, or wherever it’s nice and safe and peaceful. And when things have settled down, you’ll see that it gets returned to its owner. Honest.

Meanwhile, as you stroll the marina docks, pick out your boat and find out surreptitiously as much as you can about it. What kind of boat is it? Do some research on the internet. How many berths? Does she have a good sail wardrobe? Does the owner keep food and water on board? Does he lock the boat, and if so, what size bolt cutters do you need to buy?

Find out how to start the engine and how to raise the sails. You can do a lot of this by lurking at a distance and making notes but if you can bring yourself to be really impure, you could make friends with the owner and get invited on board. It would mean betraying a friendship when the time comes to borrow the boat, and ordinarily I would never encourage such a thing, but when it comes to survival — and survival is what we’re talking about here — then it’s every man for himself, as Nature intended.

From time to time, you might want to change your planned escape vehicle. Better boats come along now and then, or easier boats to spy on. I am tempted to tell you which boat I have my eye on presently, but it wouldn’t be wise. All I can say is that it’s always known in the family as Plan B. It’s not clever to tell anyone else about it, lest they should take advantage of you and beat you to it when the time comes. Let them do their own homework, I say. Let them have their own impure thoughts, and learn to live with them, as I have to.

Today’s Thought
“The unfit die—the fit both live and thrive.”
Alas, who say so? They who do survive.
— Sarah N. Cleghorn, The Survival of the Fittest

Tailpiece
“Are you Russian?”
“Yes.”
“Do you always drink your vodka neat?”
“No, sometimes my shirt tail hangs out.”

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

3 comments:

Edward Jones said...

Pretty funny but in this country you better be damn sure that boat is empty when you get to it or you may find yourself talking with Mr Glock, in my case:)

biglilwave said...

Yeah...thanks John. Now I have to move aboard my boat. By the way, my emergency tiller is a shotgun.

SV Tystie said...

Only in the USA do you need to have such impure thoughts, and only in the USA would you get comments like the previous two.
David. ( A Brit who has spent the last two years in Alaska, BC and Washington State, and is just about to depart for New Zealand, as it's nicer down there).