From The Boatshop
by Ron Magen

Politically INCORRECT, and PROUD of IT

Christmas is a couple of days past. You’re most likely still full from that BIG dinner . . . or sobering up from the ‘party’. Or cleaning up from the one YOU hosted. The ‘in-laws’ & other ‘travelers’ may still be hanging around {Wasn’t it Ben Franklin who said, “Guests and Fish start to smell after 3 days”}, and the ‘children’ are probably already bored with their ‘politically correct’ presents.

“Overkill, overkill
Such a modern problematic ill . . . “
J. Buffett

The ‘marketing powers that be’ seem to be starting the ‘X-Mas Selling’ season earlier each year. I think it started around ‘Hallowe’en’, this time around. Usually about a week later the ‘DANGER - KILLER TOYS’ news segments/sound bites and ‘public service’ announcements start.

Add to this the recent increase in the ‘ZERO tolerance’ mind set. In any number of cases it should be called, “ZERO SENSE”. It’s one thing to warn parents of small children about choking hazards and small parts. Especially since a lot spend more time researching their next automobile than what is involved in rearing a human being. The REAL killer, the real danger is . . . TIME. Time not spent with them. Time not being involved in mutual interests. Time missed that can never be retrieved.

Yesterday, Joanne and I, one of her friends and her husband were having an early dinner at a small, out of the way, restaurant. There was almost no one else in the room so we were able to do something many people can’t do anymore . . . have a conversation!! And face-to-face, too!! We have known these people for at least 18 years {the age of their eldest daughter - I remember her being changed on a table in another empty dining room . . . do I feel OLD !!}. As friendly conversations do, it started in one direction, meandered around many subjects, and wound up on children. Specifically the problems with rearing them today. Both of these parents work . . . as many HAVE TO in the present economy. Although they live in a nice community, the school is in, and part of, a rather unsavory area of Southern New Jersey. Both parents are educated, intelligent, and caring people. But when I hear the tales about their daughter, it’s hard for me to believe . . . it’s seems like she is from a different family.

At one point I related a ‘tale’ from my own background, involving my younger brother. The point being that the children were brought up with the parents values and morals, etc. Therefore, maybe some of her behavior was simply, “Let’s see how much I can irritate my parents. . .”. Then my wife’s friend said a very interesting thing - “She’s me. She’s me all over again”

Although extremely intelligent, both of these people are somewhat ‘mechanically un-tutored’. And their interests do not parallel the typical person who reads this magazine . . . the ‘Boat People’. I have to really be careful in offering advise to them. While they are interested in going sailing with us, if I mentioned ‘building’ anything, their eyes might glaze over. However, ‘Boat People’ tend to be a curious mixture of dreamer and doer. And, although they sometimes need a little push, generally willing to tackle anything. Hopefully that passes on to the ‘next generation’.

To insure that, you have to nurture it. What I most remember from my childhood is ‘building things’ with my father. He was always adding or subtracting something from the house. I never had ‘toy tools’ - just smaller versions of ‘normal size’. In the beginning I was probably more of a hindrance then a ‘help’. But as I got older, my attention improved, and so did the quality of my work. One of the things that is ingrained in me drives my wife nuts; everything HAS to be LEVEL and SQUARE. I won’t even hang a picture with out using at least a pocket level ! That ‘partnership’ faded away at 13, when my father started his own business . . . “Being the ‘Boss’ means working longer and getting less than everybody else”. It took all of my parents time and energy for over 10 years.

Forget any thoughts of ego for a moment. Forget any thoughts of bragging, or of fear of what others will think of the boat you may build....

It is a wonderful feeling to be in a boat you made. The sound of the waves gently lapping against the boat. The gentle rocking.... lying on your back and looking at the blue sky, or stars, above. It is a unique feeling. A great feeling. Even if it is in your backyard.

And with your children at your side... tired from the days adventures...You forget about the things you should have done, you forget about the mistakes, you forget about the praise. ... it is a warm feeling... nice feeling. A sense of peace and just being right somehow.

If you are thinking of building a boat.... ANY boat ... don't let lack of tools, or fear, or anything get in your way. Many have been built in unprotected driveways. You don't need lots of tools, or even a table saw. A drill, a small pad sander, a cheap circular or jig saw is all you the ‘power tools’ you need {and MANY have been made with only ‘hand powered’ tools} Once you start, a few friends with nicer tools may just pop up every now and then. It has been done.. you can do it. And you will ALL be glad you did.

Ron Magen