Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Pursuit of Happiness"

I live near the coast, so of course I have a boat. Now there's no law that says you HAVE to own a boat if you live by the water, but why WOULDN'T you? Big boat, little dinghy, kayak, canoe, sail, power, whatever - it doesn't matter. All that's important is that you have a way to get out on the bay (or lake, pond, river; whatever floats YOUR boat.)

My boat is an old (1984) 25-foot fisherman built by Pursuit/Tiara/Slickcraft/S2 - all of those labels are somewhere on the vessel. But the big block letters on the aft-quarters when I bought the boat several years ago read "PURSUIT" and I just knew that its new name had to be based on that word. The possibilities seemed endless because "pursuit" can be preceded by lots of words to make a recognizable phrase; to cite a few: In..., Hot...,Leisurely... or Relentless..., and my favorite for a while Trivial Pursuit.

But none of these captured the spirit of why I go boating, and many of them were already being used by other local vessels, so the "pursuit" of a suitable name continued. I'm not exactly sure when "Pursuit of Happiness" popped into my head but I liked it right away; and the more I thought about it the more I liked it, because it works in more than one way. Who doesn't know that it's an inalienable right? And the boat is a "Pursuit" model which brings me "happiness" (remember the "bluebird of happiness" from Rowen and Martin?) And when I am on it I am actively in "pursuit" of "happiness" (figuratively and literally). So it was decided, and with some snazzy red vinyl letters from the local signmaker (to go with the original blue ones already in place) my new boat proudly announced that she is the "Pursuit of Happiness" in all of those respects. And she lives up to her name every time I board her.

I'm writing about this tonight, September 30, because today was my last boating day for this season. Some say Fall is the best time for boating in these parts and they may be right, but it seems like I never get out on the water after Labor Day, despite my best intentions. Usually the boat sits on its mooring unattended and unused until it's too late in the season to go anyway, and I feel bad for not taking it out earlier. So I checked the tide chart and my work schedule and today it all came together as a good day to haul. Good, that is, in every respect except the weather. We had a beautiful Summer with lots and lots of perfect boating days, and even this week there were some really nice "bonus summer days". Today was not one of them: overcast with showers, stiff wind out of the South (at least it was warm), patchy fog - but at least I beat the wind-swept rain that is in the forcast for tonight and tomorrow.

So the weather was pretty miserable even for the short ride up the river to my haul-out site, and the occasion for the trip was certainly not a happy one, but for the couple of hours that I was on "Pursuit of Happiness" this afternoon I was a happy man. And it feels good to have her out of the water early enough to get her cleaned up and covered before the really nasty weather moves in for winter. So it was a good day. And if we should chance to have a really beautiful spell of "Indian Summer", well, I have a friend who still has his boat in the water.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why I'm here

I grew up in a simpler, more innocent time - not better, necessarily, but certainly different from today. Life's lessons, as I learned them, could be capsulized in a few short directives:

-Live and let live;
-Follow the Golden Rule;
-Practice what you preach;
-Take responsibility;
-Don't Sweat the small stuff.

There are more, but it seems to me that if we all just abided by these few simple principles the world would be a better place. Take the first one - today it seems like everybody wants to tell everybody else how to live. Sure, we need laws and standards to prevent criminal acts and totally anti-social behavior but beyond that, if what I am doing doesn't affect you then it's none of your business. And vice-versa, of course.

And the Golden Rule - that's a biggie. I read, and I believe it, that every major religion has some version of it. "Treat other people as you would like them to treat you." That's pretty simple, but imagine what a different world it would be if everybody followed it! Damn, if we all practiced that one, none of the others would be necessary! I know, we are hard-wired to protect our self-interests but imagine how different the world would be if before we did something we asked ourselves the simple question, "Would I want someone to do this to me?"

I know, I know, it's a dog-eat-dog world, and you have to look out for number one, and to the victor go the spoils, etc, etc, but when is enough, enough? How about if we all just chill, kick back and live life in the slow lane for a change? So with that in mind, I'm going to offer up my observations, opinions and comments about life in general. I'm doing this mostly for my own amusement and entertainment but if you would like to follow along, that's fine, and I welcome any contributions, criticisms or critiques you may want to add.

So here we go - let's see where this journey takes us!