Oh, how I long for the good ole cruising days of yore—when we happily believed we were just killing all the reefs, not everything alive in the ocean. When sailing ‘hot’ meant fast, not warm. When hurricane season was less than ten months long. When tiny youth sailors were urged to eat their veggies by saying: “The Opti kids in China are starving!” When Great White sharks were universally acknowledged to be the worst predators in the sea.
But I always attempt to be positive and look on the brightside: there’s such aquatic opportunity today—perhaps I could be the lucky snorkeler who spears the last fish!
I was recently sailing with my 33-year-old daughter in the Malacca Straits, between Indonesia and Malaysia. Out of the blue she said, with a resigned shrug, while looking towards her four year old child, “Mankind is screwed!”
I was appalled at her pessimism. “Even sea gypsies?” I screamed back. “Okay, power-boaters, sure …”
I stubbornly prefer optimism and capitalism, as in ‘maybe we should buy seaside property half way up Mount Everest and open up a marina?’
In any event, thank gosh I cruised French Polynesia when it was above water!
See what I mean? There’s always a way to take the positive, upbeat slant—soon I won’t be able to run aground on the same shoals because they’ll be 100-feet deep! Cool, eh?
Yes, back-in-the-day it used to be so yin and yang! Planes would take off and land. We used to deliver bags of poop to the moon—I am not making this up! Two bits were 25 cents, not a bitcoin! And hermaphrodite brigs didn’t get that way in Switzerland or Thailand.
Well, perhaps the coming food riots will be the least of our yacht-provisioning problems. And, hey, the deck of our sailboats will be fairly comfortable places to watch the last few remaining free citizens being chased down by those hardworking, God-bless-’em, SWAT teams.
Yes, this planet is being completely overrun by a horrible, deadly parasite—and it is us. Of course, as a marine journalist, I realize I have to keep my humor columns upbeat. Fine! Example: Good News! Mankind will not have to watch the last fish die—because all human beings will be long dead!
… that certainly makes me feel better.
As a sailor, I often deal with tides—and the ebb and flow of shipboard life. Still, it isn’t easy for me to keep up with the dirt-dwellers and their weird land-centric shenanigans. Has everyone gone completely nuts ashore? For example: when oil prices rose steeply, the stock market fell. And, thus, when oil prices declined precipitously—the stock market plunged again.
The only constant with the stock market—the rich getting richer.
Have you noticed this? No?
That’s why you’re poor.
They can’t build mega-yachts fast enough—while the working class men and women building them can’t afford to buy a used Beneteau 22 with a wobbly keel—thanks to the New Economy, which thrives on rising costs and falling wages.
It used to be that Larry and Lin Pardey ‘chose’ not to have an engine in their sailboat! Soon, the remaining two or three members of the U.S. middle class won’t be able to afford one.
It’s increasingly important, of course, to keep your head down politically and not draw attention to yourself as you sail the high seas. This can be tricky. You don’t want to make a mistake. For instance, my symmetrical is white with a red cross, and my asymmetrical is white with a red moon—and you better not pop the wrong one during Easter or Ramadan.
… speaking of the high seas: I’m 63 now. Back in the day when I used to smoke and drink 23/7, I believed the evening news was exaggerated and made up. Now that I realize it is not—I’m too old to find my dealer! Or maybe he died. Or just got so old he couldn’t find his stash.
I hate having memory problems!
… what was I saying?
I’m dating myself, I realize—but I can remember when folks committed suicide solo—without taking, say, an entire shopping mall, class room, or planeload of folks with them.
We live in a Brave New Literary World—I bet the publicity-seeking editors of Mad Magazine regret not taking French lessons now!
Yes, we live in exciting times. Dying of climate change might not be so bad—better than dying in the upcoming religious WWIII, for example.
But I’m determined, as an international yachtie, to remain positive: for instance, I’m beefing up my rig for the coming super-storms. That makes me feel happy. And, of course, while doing so I beefed up my spreaders in case I have to lynch anyone for a Major Crime.
What’s a Major Crime? Being different than I. For instance, I believe that we ketch owners have the right to kill sloop owners, and that all the sloop owners have a right to … well, to die prettily for our amusement.
I hope this won’t upset them. It’s nothing personal. Or to put it another way—fair is fair, right?
Of course, in times of turmoil it is good to have powerful friends in high places—especially if you’re poor. Thus, I’m sending 50% of the $4 per hour I currently earn to the Koch Brothers—realizing they’ll know how to trickle it down better than I.
A few short years ago—both the United States and Great Britain professed to care about free speech. Yesterday, the British prime minister of Jolly Ole England said it should be illegal for any citizens of the world to communicate in any way with anyone that the government CAN’T read. In essence, that private citizen to citizen communication, by definition, should be internationally illegal.
To preserve our personal freedoms, of course.
… talk about the Big Lie!
I recently discovered, while reading WIRED, that they only safe way to communicate and surf the net was with a TOR browser—so, within seconds, I downloaded one. Then I thought about it for another moment or two—and realized that probably every LEO (law enforcement officer) in the unfree world knew what I just did. (Gulp!)
My secret plan: Blame it on my wife! (How traditional is that, eh?)
It used to be that Big Brother accused you of being a drug addict—now that’s passé. You’re either a terrorist or a pedophile now—or maybe both. (It’s slightly different in Jakarta or Syria; you don’t scream, “Stop thief!” you scream, “Cartoonist!”)
What, exactly, does this have to do with cruising under sail? Plenty. I used to delight in saying, as I proudly sailed the world with the Stars and Stripes waving on my transom, “America #1!” without having to add, “in drone strikes and assassinations.”
I certainly can’t say it about education level or the infant mortality rate.
Almost a quarter of the world’s population is Islamic. Many of them are fairly smart. It’s getting harder and harder to convince them we’re sending in the drones to teach their children religious tolerance.
Yes, I try to be a goodwill ambassador as I circumnavigate—telling how efficient America is at locking up her citizens, for example—but the message doesn’t always resonate in the Third World.
I recently attended a boat show. The fellow manning the marine safety booth sold me an inflatable PFD, and pointed out it came with a safety harness and whistle.
“What?” I said, suddenly panicking … “A what?”
“A whistle,” he said in amazement, noticing how badly I was freaking. “To attract attention, you blow it.”
“But I don’t want attention,” I screamed at him. “At least not that kind of attention! I’m apolitical. I’m not like Edward Snowden or Julian Assange—I hate the truth! I want nothing to do with the freak’n truth. Truth is evil and dangerous—and I’m only a yacht-wimp! Please—don’t attempt to entangle me with the truth, whatever you do!”
I immediately dashed to my shipboard computer and started typing in Google searches like, ‘How to express gratitude to the FBI’, and ‘How much does it cost to have your name proudly engraved on a drone?’ and ‘People with respiratory problems shouldn’t mess with the NYPD!’ and ‘I’m not a trouble-maker, just so you know!’ and ‘How was that cop supposed to know what the perp meant by waving his arms over his head?’
Whew! Coming ashore, even briefly, is stressful!
Editor’s note: Cap’n Fatty and Carolyn Goodlander are eating popcorn and watching Western Civilization crumble from Southeast Asia.