I’m sorry to interrupt while you’re laboring on your Mighty Works of Wonder, but I have a question for You. What is all this fuss about buckets of ice water? Why are the newspapers and the TV newscasts filled with pictures and stories about people pouring cold water over themselves for the privilege of paying $100 to a charity? Have You in Your Wisdom, decided to drive the American public mad?
At the risk of repeating myself, I must ask why American reporters and news editors suddenly find this weird behavior newsworthy. Every damn newspaper (beg Your pardon) every newspaper you pick up carries report after report of people dunking water over thousand-dollar tailor-made suits or the finest haut-couture dresses.
I ask why the fuss, because we in the Pacific Northwest have been doing this for centuries.
We call it sailing.
And nobody ever made a fuss about it.
You, being omniscient and omnipotent and omnivorous and all that, will obviously know already that sailing in the Northwest is like being in a cold shower tearing up 100-dollar bills. Every time it blows from the southeast and you have to beat home, she lays over and puts her shoulder through those steep oncoming waves and sends a great shower of 45-degree spray back over the people in the cockpit. And every time it blows from the northwest and the wind is against the tide, and you have to beat around the goddam (sorry, beg pardon again) the ordinary island again to find sheltered anchorage in the lee, it’s exactly the same as pouring a bucket of ice-cold water over yourself. Only more expensive, because you first have to buy a boat.
But the point is, getting wet while sailing in the Pacific Northwest never went viral. It never send waves of paroxysm through Facebook or Twitter. It never brought YouTube shuddering to a halt. So what is the fuss all about? Would You kindly delegate one of your angels to investigate and let me know?
Oh, and a couple of other things while I have Your Heavenly Ear.
Could you please help me to be kinder to West Marine? Every time they send me a boating catalog I find myself criticizing them and making fun of them. I don’t mean to do it. I just can’t help it, honest. One of these days they’re going to sue me, and my wife will divorce me, and I’ll be in deep doo-doo, if You’ll pardon the expression. So if You could top up my soul with a little extra-strength Kindness, I’d surely pass it on to West Marine.
Another thing: in case You’ve been too busy creating sunbeams to notice, You’re making life very difficult for our President with all the stuff You’re allowing to happen in the Middle East and the Ukraine. Not criticizing, You understand, just sayin’. But when the President’s unhappy, millions of people are unhappy.
Finally, as I know You to be a Loving and Generous Creator, I wonder if You’d mind sprinkling a little pixie dust over me, so that everything I touch turns to gold? Just like You did for that feller Croesus, remember? I’d really appreciate that.
I tell You, talking about ice buckets and sailing in the Pacific Northwest has made me long for a nice little house on a white beach in some protected bay in warm waters down south somewhere, with a pretty little Folkboat at anchor just offshore. Or, OK, I’d settle for just a 16-foot Wayfarer if things are not looking too bright in the Celestial Exchequer. Can You manage that?
Yours in eager anticipation,
You know who, of course.
Editors may think of themselves as dignified headwaiters in a well-run restaurant but more often they operate a snack bar . . . and expect you to be grateful that at least they got the food to the table warm.
— Thomas Griffith, How True: A Skeptic’s Guide to Believing the News
A shipwrecked man was captured by cannibals. The cannibal chief asked: “What was your business among your own people?”
“I was a newspaperman.”
“No, I was just a copy editor.”
“Well cheer up. Tonight you’ll be editor-in-chief.”
(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)