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An Inflatable Dinghy


My boat came equipped with an inflatable dinghy and a neat little electric pump to inflate it. Boy, these people think of everything! After the pump had been running for several hours, I checked the dinghy and it appeared to be inflating, as some of the wrinkles had come out of it. I also noticed that the pump for some reason had melted the plastic tarp it was sitting next to. I guess maybe these pumps run a little warm. Nevertheless, I decided to let it run for a few more hours and see what happened.

The smell of burning plastic encouraged me to have another look at the pump. I noticed it had morphed into a small puddle with some wires sticking out of it and several wisps of smoke curling off into the breeze. The dinghy did not appear to contain any more air than the last time I looked, so my assumption was that I had a defective pump. Fortunately, the metal manufacturer's tag from the pump was still intact and I was able to obtain their name from it. Phone book in hand, I paged through the listings for Chu, ltd. without success. I then called every Chu in the book asking if they had any family members in the air pump business. Still no luck, time to try a different approach.

Having decided that the air pump was simply underpowered for the task at hand, my next objective was to locate something more substantial. A piece of vacuum hose, an adapter and my car's tailpipe seemed to be the ideal solution and came complete with variable speed control. I attached the apparatus to the dinghy, started the car and headed off for lunch at the marina.

I have always been intrigued by the big cities; they have more than their fair share of excitement and this afternoon was no exception. "A bank robbery and high-speed chase this morning, now we have what appears to be a major fire," I thought as I sipped lunch. As the fire trucks pulled into the marina, I stepped out the back door just in time to see the wind blow a flaming dinghy right under my car's gas tank. The fire crew knew just what to do, and turned two hoses on my car just in time to prevent disaster. The flames were immediately extinguished before any damage was done, but unfortunately the force of the water hitting the car (it was in neutral) was enough to send it over the edge of the dock.

So the marina's going to charge me $25 a foot to leave the car where it sits. Hmmm... 14 feet of car times $25 is $350 and that's for the whole season, not really that bad; plus it sits out of the water far enough for me to walk across to my boat! Guess I didn't really need a dinghy after all.

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