How Not-To click here to read or make an observation about this  article
By David Graybeal - Portland Oregon - USA

Flotation Inspiration (in vino, veritable chaos)
- Or -
Another argument in favor of the notion that beer is better than wine

We are building a boat. By we, I mean: my two sons – Devin & Colin - ages 12 & 17; my old friend Jerry (don’t ask how old… he gets quite testy); and myself – ageing quite nicely, thank you. By a boat, I mean the Goat Island Skiff, designed by Australian Michael Storer. It’s a 15’-6” open, plywood & epoxy, flattie skiff. It’s designed for oars, outboard or sail. Now… since I’m a beer fan, for the most part this project has been fueled by the delicious micro-brewed beers of the Pacific Northwest. Even the boys enjoy a sip on occasion. Especially young Devin.

But when it came time to think about the issue of flotation, we decided to start following Mr. Storer’s advice. That is: buy the boxes containing plastic bladders full of wine; empty somehow; use the reinflated bladders tucked into nooks & crannies for flotation. Bloody Brilliant, we thought! We followed his instructions diligently, and I expect good results in the event of a capsize.

We did get off to a bit of a rocky start, however. Friend Jerry, who can be a bit of a parsimonious pecksniff at times (he IS an accountant, there’s probably no helping it), bought the first box of wine. It was the cheapest rotgut available at the local discount supermarket. We choked it down over several weeks (experience has shown that a better product disappears much more quickly). Finally, one memorable boat-night we had almost finished the loathsome sludge. My two sons offered to finish off the tiny bit remaining. I readily agreed. Back to work we went, leaving the boys to drain the dregs. Later, just before shutting down for the evening, I grabbed the winebox. I ripped open the cardboard, opened the valve, and gave it a hearty blow to see what it looked like inflated. Rather than filling with air, it went phblttttttt. Sort of like a fruity whoopee cushion. A big, red-wine Rasberry.

My youngest son, in his single-minded efforts to extract the maximum amount of wine for himself, had snipped the bladder. Heaven Forfend!! All that rotgut gagged down – For Nothing!!! At first, I couldn’t believe it. Then the cruel reality forced itself upon me. I was amazed. Then incensed.

I chased him around the shop, waving a busted bladder and offering to bust his bladder. I offered him for sale cheap to friend Jerry. After I had calmed down - and coaxed him out from under the desk in the office – I explained his transgression to him in soothing, lovingly parental tones. After I coaxed him out from under the desk again, I offered Jerry money (very good money, I thought) to take him off my hands. No go. Even if he hadn’t witnessed this evening’s unfortunate events, he knew my boys too well. I swear that Devin is gonna turn into a lush… must take after his mother’s side of the family after all (harummmphhh).

Ah, well, it may not have been an auspicious start, but we have subsequently done ourselves proud in the flotation department. I have taken over the wine procurement duties, Jerry has agreed not to look at the receipts, son Devin is still alive (and contributing much to the project), and the boatbuilding proceeds apace. Although… I can’t help but wonder if our lives wouldn’t have been simpler if we’d just stuck with beer all along.

“Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy” – Benjamin Franklin