People – usually men people — often ask me “When am I too old to float my boats in the tub?” Some will tell me their mother or their wife, or both of them together will say that any age over nine is TOO OLD! and 39 is, FOR CRIPES AND GOD’S SAKE, YOU LUNATIC.
My standard answer: age is irrelevant. If you’ve got boats, no matter how big or unbig, you float ‘em.
Remember, a boat-floater without flotation is pure sadness. Imagine having a stack of pancakes in front of you, only to discover the maple syrup bottle is empty and your fork fell on the floor and embedded itself in a stink bug who heard there were pancakes. Or what if you have a really gigantic bag of money — a duffel bag would be much too small — but inside it there is no money. How do you go on?
It’s hard, because the sadness takes hold of you like a foot (actually, your foot) getting caught in a bear trap left carelessly in your path. Sometimes with an unhappy—and very sad — bear still in it. Oh, the dreadful wind and rain.*
The next time you find yourself walking down a busy street – on the sidewalk – take a close look at the people you pass, or those who seem to be giving you a wide berth, or who are hurrying across the street as you approach, not waiting for traffic to clear, sometimes in such a hurry they fall beneath the wheels of a runaway vegemite sandwich wagon or a self-driving weinermobile.
Count the faces of those who seem sad, angry, hopping mad or simply hopping. Ask yourself this (with your inside, non-lip moving, pretend voice): how many of these sad people could benefit from floating some boats in the upstairs tub?
Others ask the obvious follow-up: “Is it okay to float ‘em while you’re in the tub? As opposed to being on your knees on a throw rug or bath towel, outside the tub. And maybe singing ‘15 men on a dead man’s chest’ and sipping a Manhattan?”
I like to say it probably doesn’t matter. Although just imagine how you might feel if you were aboard one of those boats and the lookout suddenly spied a gigantic naked man coming up out of the water. And he screamed “Naked man off the starboard bow! I mean, a really big naked man. Wearing a thong!”
I think that would be upsetting.
Once in a while someone will tell me they can’t float their boats because while they were in the House of Corrections, or at one of the padlocked cottages at Whispering Pines or mixing up a batch of meth in the garage, their mother (sometimes their wife) raced upstairs and pulled the plug in the tub, then hid the boats in the garbage can (usually stomping on them first.)
Sometimes the questions I am asked are so serious they give me paws (for example, the sad, rescue possum I got the other day.) Once, a caller said to me “Let’s say I have a friend who is president of a country-to-be-named-later, between, say, Canada and Mexico. And let’s say he is right now floating his boats off the coast of North Korea.”
I found this question very flippant and seditious. So much so that I phoned the Secret Service. The woman who answered said “Who is this?”
I said “Is this the Secret Service?”
She said “I’ll ask the questions, boyo.”
I said “Do you know the president is floating his boats off the coast of North Korea?”
“North Dakota,” she said. “A lot of people get them mixed up.”
“But it doesn’t have a coast.”
“We warned him but, as you know, he is very sad.”
I heard the crackle of a short wave radio in the background.
“Naked man off the starboard bow! I mean, a really big naked man wearing a massive hairpiece!”
She said “Is it orange?”
That gave me such paws I punched out of the call and ran upstairs to fill the tub. Where I found – you guessed it — my sad possum, already in the tub, floating my boats and drinking Manhattans out of the soap dish. No signs of sadness or bubbles.
I mean, whatever floats your boat.
*Thank you, David. Such uplifting lyrics. https://genius.com/David-grisman-dreadful-wind-and-rain-lyrics
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2018, all rights reserved.