As I look back on my youth, I realize that I’ve matured. I’m no longer that zealously ambitious young man who craved fortune and “the good life.” If I’m being totally honest, I was overly pre-occupied with acquiring “stuff.” I wanted a nice car; a house I could be proud of. I now laugh with embarrassment thinking about this younger version of me, who wanted to “have it all.”
Now that I’m older and wiser, I appreciate that what’s important in life is not simply acquiring material possessions. My, how shallow that sounds to me now.
As I’ve aged, my values and priorities have evolved. What truly matters in the autumn of my life is the joy of developing meaningful, lasting friendships. I want to meet friends I can talk to openly and be vulnerable with, sharing my deepest, most personal hopes and fears. A sensitive, honest person who will be there for me in good times and bad. And last but not least, someone who – how can I put this politely – owns a nice boat.
Young people often talk about having “friends with benefits.” But they have it all wrong. It’s much better to have friends with boats. Now that I’m retired, it really doesn’t matter to me in the least how much stuff I possess – just so long as I have a few close friends… with fast-moving watercraft. If they had a 30-foot sailboat, I would certainly consider becoming their casual acquaintance. But I’m really looking more for a friend with a powerboat with at least 350 horsepower. I really don’t care if it’s Bayliner, a Sea Ray, or a Chris-Craft, just as long as it can reach a top-end speed of 70 mph or faster.
Recently, I met an amiable fellow. We started to hit it off. And from what I could tell, he seemed to share my political beliefs. Sadly, he only owned a dinghy, which he mainly used for crabbing. It could barely reach speeds of 10 mph. Needless to say, that’s not what I’m looking for in a friendship these days. So, I had no choice but to ghost him.
Why this obsession with friends with boats? I live on an island. My wife and I moved here to be near the water. You may be asking yourself, “Hey, if it’s so important, why don’t you buy YOUR OWN boat, Tim?” What a stupid question. Have you seen the cost of high-quality boats lately? Not to mention the cost of mooring, insuring, and refueling them.
I’ve done some research and discovered that boat owners have no lives. That’s because they spend all their free time working on their boats. Here’s just a sampling of the typical tasks they do after every time they take their boat for a spin:
Top off the oil, if needed; wash the hull and deck; check the engine, battery, propeller, electrical lines, and bilge pump to ensure all components are working properly. Oh, and don’t forget to inspect the engine mount screw clamps to make sure they’re secure. While you’re at it, you might want to take a look at the water intake to be sure it’s not blocked. And be sure to flush the engine and propellers to eliminate saltwater, sand, dirt and other debris. I’ll skip the other 27 steps you need to do EVERY TIME you take your boat out, because I almost fell asleep after that last sentence.
So, no, boat ownership is not for me. Let some other sap pay $100,000 for a 40-foot cruiser. I just want to spend some quality time bonding with them… on their 40-foot cruiser – ideally while eating fresh lobster and chowing down on a tasty cheese platter and Godiva chocolates. (Not the dark chocolate, please.)
Perhaps you are that sap, I mean, fine person. If so, I want you to know that if you feel a need to drone on endlessly about how hard it is staying on top of all the regular maintenance needed to keep your boat in working order, as your new best friend, I’m willing to listen. Oh, and I’m a size LARGE, in case you need to know my lifejacket size for when you take me out water skiing.
I’m looking for a new friend. I’m not picky. I mean, it’s not like the only kind of people I seek out as friends are rich people with yachts that comfortably seat eight. Who do you think I am, anyway? No, I’m willing to keep an open mind. I’d even consider starting a friendship with someone who only owns a Jet Ski – but only if you have two of them. I’m not riding tandem behind you. Buddy, you need to give me some space.
I’m still looking for that close friend. I know they’re out there. Perhaps you could be that special person. If you think you might like to become my friend, just email me a photo of you with your boat – or a photo of just your boat is sufficient, actually.
But perhaps I’m being a little unreasonable. After all, why should I care whether a person has a boat or not? I mean, that sounds rather superficial, doesn’t it? Okay, on further reflection, I don’t care whether or not you have a nice boat. I’m more than willing to make friends with non-boat owners – assuming they have their own private plane, that is.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
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