George Sass Jr.'s blog
I’ve seen the same reaction hundreds of times over the years—sad, empathetic eyes, followed by a conciliatory pat or two on my shoulder. You would think that I’d told the deliverer of said look that I just ran over my dog.
What prompts this pitiful gaze? Well it’s certainly not a tragic event. Nope, it’s the trigger response that undoubtedly follows when I inform the inquisitor that I’m an editor of a magazine.
I’m probably not the best-suited person for this job. Actually, I may be downright horrible. All right, maybe I should cut myself a little slack before someone lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce on my desk goes to my boss Gary to say, “See, I told you so, even he admits he’s no good.”
I was in a meeting recently where we discussed you, our audience, in an effort to fine-tune our content. There were a lot of colorful graphs, pyramids, and spreadsheets that made me a little nervous. Yet there’s one identifiable character trait that exists within every one of our readers—like me, you’re all boating nuts. Some may call us flawed, but stand up and rejoice! There’s safety in numbers. The first step to fixing a problem is knowing that we have a problem.
I was, nine or 10, living in Annapolis, Maryland. Yet, I still remember the crisp, blustery, sunny afternoon like it was last week. It was one of those perfect fall days that remind you how rewarding it can be to live in a four-season climate.
My dad was motivated by the stellar weather to practice a little carpe diem and take my brother, sister, and I for an impromptu sail on his well-preserved 26-foot Swedish-built Folk Boat. We spent a lot of time on that boat in the late ’70s creating memories that are still fresh today.
The buzz of the distant street cleaner tasked with washing away the sins of the night before percolated in the background. High-fashion photo shoots of models with legs as long as I am tall dotted several nearby corners. The waitstaff scurried around us with full pots of coffee, dressed in their obligatory all-black uniforms—a rather harsh requirement for a sidewalk cafe in South Beach, Miami, I must say.
I like to think of myself as fully endorsing the glass-half-full philosophy. I’ve had some ups and downs over the years and thankfully have gained a little perspective along the way. To help maintain this inner Zen, I think it’s healthy not to allow any pet peeves to pile up for too long. Here are several items that I just need to get off my chest so they quit nagging away at me.
The silence hurt. It wasn’t the peaceful silence of solitude you’ll find on a pre-dawn Sunday morning walk while most folks in the neighborhood are still in a deep slumber. Nor was it the hypnotic tranquility of hearing nothing but a few waves lap against the hull at night while the moon shines above through an open hatch. No, this was a silence encased in sadness and a deep void.
That particular morning it took a while to secure my footing and clear my head. The boat lacked a predictable motion. Indeed, the day we departed south Florida, our weather forecaster called for a “complex” weather pattern of dueling highs and lows extending over most of our course from the Bahamas to the Virgin Islands. He got it right.