There comes a time in any sea gypsy’s life when he has to ‘go home’ or be ex-communicated from his family. I gave these two options considerable thought before deciding——knowing how much money I could save in airfare, dental bills, bail… doctors, lawyers, shrinks and other professional vipers.
Our last ‘family gathering’ involved cops, creeps, and at least one dead body.
…one of my nephews attempted suicide by jumping out a window. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer… it was a ground level window. At worst, he killed the flower bed.
Nobody seemed to have enough energy to bury the dead body. I carried it around for months…
I got arrested for… well, never mind! (“How do you plead?” the judge asked the following morning. “Pathetically?” I quipped. “What time is it,” he then nonchalantly asked the court. “Seven to ten,” I quickly replied. “…if you smart off one more time, Fatty, that’s what you’re gonna get!” he quipped back).
I’ve never liked a judge funnier than me.
No, I don’t take these ‘back to reality’ trips to America lightly.
I have to leave my wife Carolyn in charge of Wild Card. Her ‘preparations’ are a tad disconcerting.
“Do you really need all those cases of Mount Gay,” I ask her. “And why the new six-inch red high heels? Isn’t a 55 gallon drum of Stoli on deck… gravity feeding down through the mid-hatch… a bit excessive?”
“Well, you never know,” she says gayly. “If Wild Card dragged or sumpton, I wouldn’t want to be short of party supplies!”
Of course, I’m never really out of touch anymore… which is a shame.
Daily, while away from the boat, I email my wife Internet-generated questions like, “…what’s the ‘No-Tell Ho-Tel’ credit card charge about? And the deposit marketed ‘lap dancing?’ …surely the surgery fees at Nip-N–Tuck were high… and what’s the ‘Property of the Hell’s Angels’ tattoo charge?”
Needless to say, while in America I have to set aside some time for a ‘one-on-one’ visit with my daughter.
She’s kinda… straight. She has a job, a fancy (non-stolen) car, and health insurance. Even worse, she has an IRA.
Her boyfriend goes to church.
“…where did we go WRONG,” cried Carolyn when she heard that last part.
And it is confusing being a parent from the 1960s and counseling a post-millennium daughter.
Example: I didn’t realize she was considering going to grad school when she asked me what I thought of ‘taking an MBA’ at Brandeis University.
“Oh, be careful, honey,” I warned her. “because a LOT of my friends got screwed up on LSD at college!”
Needless to say, I attempted to keep my trip a secret from my fellow sea gypsies. Alas, I knew I’d failed when a ‘Fellow American In Need’ rowed up to Wild Card and asked, “Could you bring me back a crankshaft for a FOUR-107?”
“…could you have it ‘dropped shipped’ to my sister’s half-way house,” I countered.
“Actually, no,” he said. “It is still in the engine… which is still in the boat… which is still under the water! But I don’t think it would be too much trouble to bring some tools and diving gear… tear down the engine… and hose down the crankshaft with WD-40 when it breaks the surface… hey, I’D DO IT FOR YOU!”
“Anything else you want,” I asked.
“Yeah, I was gonna ask you to bring me back a bottle of Old Spice cologne… but, hey, I don’t want to take advantage of your good nature!”
Most of my friends are like that——a handful of ‘ gimme’ and a mouthful of ‘thank you much!’
Carolyn, too, wanted me to bring her something back and gave me a thimble to put it in. “…all the WMDs the Bush Administration found in Iraq, please,” she said.
“No problem,” I said, “and there will be plenty of room left for the Vice President’s humility!” (Actually, I gotta admire Cheney! I mean, none of the guys I’ve shot ever apologized!)
Packing for the trip is another problem. I don’t have any regular ‘hard luggage’ so I use the old bag from my mainsail instead.
This shocked a guy on the dinghy dock when I told him I was gonna go back to my boat and rustle up my old sailbag…”
“Yikes!” he said. “If MY wife ever heard me say something like that…!!!”
Yes, there’s no getting around it. I have to go home——despite all logic and commonsense.
By the time this story is published I’ll be back in America with Morgoo the Magnificent (my younger brother), Blacksnake (my older middle sister), Ms Bligh (my oldest sister) and even the Sea Siren herself, my 86 year old legally-blind mother. (It’s easier to flinch money from her purse now!) Uncle Foot will be there. Lovik the Lazy too. Momo the Astrophysicist. Medicine Dog. Sea Otter. Even a German countess, newly inducted into the Goodlander clan, will attend.
There’s only one thing for sure: although we might be in the same room, only a fool would refer to us as together!
Cap’n Fatty Goodlander lives aboard Wild Card with his wife Carolyn and cruises throughout the world. He is the author of “Chasing the Horizon” by American Paradise Publishing, “Seadogs, Clowns and Gypsies” and “The Collected Fat.” For more Fat-flashes, see fattygoodlander.com