Written on the Boat
by Will Bailey
All aboard! Actually, before you set foot on this water vessel, you’ll need to study a boating manual, take an online practice test, mail your results to the Department of Public Water Safety, wait 6-8 weeks for your file to be processed and then take a proctored exam involving 100 multiple choice questions and either one long form essay or an oral recitation of a sea shanty of your choosing. If that seems excessive, you’ll have to take it up with the Department of Public Water Safety Complaints, which requires a separate exam process that I won’t get into right now in the interest of interest. The bottom line is that NOBODY is going NOWHERE in this dingy (without official certification from the state). Of course I realize that what I just said is a double negative, but then again I’ve been pouring over pages and pages of boating regulations for the past several hours and am beginning to feel a bit like Captain Ahab studying for the SAT’s. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against putting more educated boaters out on our lakes, rivers and oceans. I’m against tests. In all of their horrid forms. Don’t these boating license people realize that the last thing a person like me wants to do is spend a bunch of time reading, memorizing, reciting and answering seemingly arbitrary facts that some Admiral came up with in the 1700′s, all so I can take a row boat and some watercress sandwiches out to the middle of a cliche? Oh. I see how that works. Very clever.