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. So, following the cathartic, know thyself philosophy of comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who brought us the You Might Be a Redneck routine, I offer You Might Be a Boating Nut, based on my own peculiar behavior.
1. You buy a wooden boat. (At night.) I purchased a 1962 32-foot wooden Pacemaker more than a decade ago after a nighttime delivery. I stepped onboard at dusk, went right to the flying bridge with the owner, and off we went. I agreed to write a check the second we hit the dock. What sold me on that cursed little gem? The sound of her twin Chryslers roaring to life and rumbling under my feet as we sliced across Long Island Sound. What a sap.
2. You take off from your little brother’s christening to explore a boatyard. Hey don’t judge me, I guarantee I’m not the first person to bugger off during a family event. And after all it was during the reception. You see, my brother Dimitri is 21 years my junior, and as much as I love him, hanging out jawboning with relatives who didn’t even know my name while Seymour’s Boatyard in Northport, New York, on Long Island, beckoned was agonizing. My father leapt into the passenger seat as I backed down the driveway. I think he was actually waiting underneath the car. “We’ll just go out for 30 minutes. Nobody will know we’re gone,” he rationalized. Such an enabler. Well, two hours later we returned to find almost the entire family, arms folded, lining the driveway. “We’re dead,” my father said—not the comforting paternal statement a son hopes to hear in these situations. Yet, I admire his honesty—because we certainly were.
3. You leave on a 1,200-mile delivery while working. “I need an extra crew, anyway you can come along?” asked my friend Tommy McCoy. “I’m in!” I shot back while at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show. Now the fact that I was working the show should have prohibited me from taking a boat from Florida to the Virgin Islands, but I didn’t think twice.
4. You spend more time shopping online for boats than you do reading the newspaper. I’m a newshound, but I know my sweet girlfriend wonders what in the hell I’m doing on the couch with my laptop or iPad pecking away. “Checking my portfolio, babe.” Yeah, right. I’m sad to say I’m always looking at boats, and more boats. Some that I can’t afford, but that I just find cool as hell. There’s a poor broker with a 1964 Sparkman & Stephens-designed Burger 65 listed who is waiting on the edge of his seat for one of the 1,100 weekly page views this boat gets to actually call. So sorry.
5. You buy a boat without telling your spouse. Imagine this event coming back to you in a couples-therapy session and it may convince you not to do it. My part in this particular event was only that of the enabler. (The apple really doesn’t fall that far from the tree.) Our Group Publisher Gary De Sanctis pulled the trigger. Although I admit my chides of “Do it Gary. Do it. Be a man. Who’s really the boss? For the love of God, buy the boat,” didn’t help. Imagine his wife Sue’s surprise when a Roadway tractor-trailer pulled up to their driveway with all the parts and lumber for a 14-foot center console kit boat. To Sue’s credit, she signed for the boat. To Gary’s credit, he built the boat and the Radio Flyer has taken his family on adventures from Florida to Lake George.
I admit, I may have demonstrated above that there’s a razor-thin line between being a boating nut and, well, poor judgment. Yet like I said, there’s safety in numbers. So help me help you, and drop me a line with a few of your own You Might Be a Boating Nut thoughts. Together we’ll get through this. See you on the water.