| 10:00 AM local time, Thursday, January 30 (1400 Jan. 30 UTC) 12 27 N 061 29
W. Temp. 81, Humidity 78%, Cloud Cover 40%. On the hard at Tyrrel Bay Yacht
Haulout, Carriacou Island, Grenada.
Warm greetings from the crew of Maverick.
Mr. Shrode has returned from shore leave in California, where, he
reports, the climate is not tropical. The engineer we were waiting for to
oversee the repairs on Maverick has returned and work began in earnest on
Monday, so we hope to be back in the water by sometime next week. Since for
the last fortnight there was nothing to be done, I've spent my time in
persiflage with the locals, particularly Harold of Hallelujah and Trevor who
runs the Carriacou Yacht Club, who have endeavored to persuade me of the
truth of creationism as science. I've also been peevishly growing my beard
and engaging in glassy-eyed viewing of American TV. It has come home to me
that our devoted followers are reading this when they could be watching those
reality shows like the one where busty models in tiny bikinis land marlins on
a deep sea fishing boat. I am humbled.
I do have some actual news that you'll soon read in the tabloids, and this is the scoop that the lovely and devoted Theresa Fisher has accepted the Captain's proposal of marriage. How was this accomplished, you well may ask. In the interest of the progress of humanity, I have made the decision to release, for the exclusive consumption of all those junior officers in Maverick's Navy who have long stood in awe of the Captain's knowledge of
seamanship, some of his esoteric wisdom from the ancient battlefield of love. Before now, his successes in this area were widely celebrated, but the reasons for them remained obscure.
The basic lesson is simple, but its application requires not a little subtlety. Timing is key. In the present situation, for example, I could long ago have asked for Theresa's hand, but it would have been a high-risk gamble.
The problem was, how could the proposal have failed to bring to her mind the
old saying of my beloved French, that marriage is the death of hope? So I
bided my time. The felicitous outcome has been achieved through the combination of her fading memory--which, though acute, is not quite what it once was--together with my long absence. The result is that she hasn't the faintest recollection of who I am.
It is true that, as long as my physical size is left off of my curriculum
vitae and a photo is not included, I look pretty good on paper--or email,
which is all she sees these days. I attended all the right schools, have a
yacht, a lovely house in one of the most affluent counties in the United
States, and a classic British sports car. Those of you who know the Captain
and are privileged to have made Theresa's acquaintance, should you have the
ambition to attain higher rank Maverick's service, will do well to avoid
sharing with her the details of these apparent advantages, as you may in the
process inadvertently dim their luster. You know, the boat doesn't float, the
car doesn't run, a hamster would feel the house was a bit cramped, etc. Trust
me, Theresa really doesn't need to know these things.
Despite the minor obfuscations alluded to above, sometimes a strategic
necessity, we have a sound enough relationship that I can be very open in
asking her personal things, and so it is from her that I have gleaned the
secrets divulged here below. Often, and perhaps obsessively, I have quizzed
her on just what my great attractions are, with a hidden tape recorder
running for science's sake.
"Is it, sweetiekins, that I'm just physically irresistible, or is it my
charm or sophistication or wit which has so completely overcome your
resistance? So many others have fallen under my spell, that there's nothing
to be ashamed of."
This question elicits a blush, or some sort of reddening in any case, but
the poor dear is usually too shy to speak her deepest thoughts, so she
remains mute and the tape runs without purpose. Women are such vulnerable
creatures. But one day I caught her in a weak moment, and what she said made
my ears burn. Casting modesty aside, I will share it with our readers in the
interest of the happiness of mankind, and of enhancing the love life of our
younger recruits. For I believe our findings may be generalized for women
everywhere, to the advantage of our male readers.
In essence, Ms. Fisher said that she had been undone by my special talent
for absence, or in the phraseology of existential phenomenology, "non-being."
She related that, naturally, she gets a feeling of satisfaction when the
dealings with store clerks and tradespeople come to an end and she can
finally free herself from the burden of human interaction. Even more profound
is the feeling of happiness she experiences when a friend finally takes his
or her leave and she is once again bathed in blissful solitude.
But nothing, she says, compares with the overwhelming ecstasy of my
departures. I had had a hint of this before Maverick sailed from San
Francisco, when she said that it was not my leaving but my return that was
her gravest concern. And now it stands confirmed. No man she has ever
known--and she positively gushed when she told me this, her face flushed with
passion--has ever given her the kind of intense pleasure she gets when she is
certain I've left the premises. This is made even more profound when my
absence may be a long one. I feel rather sorry for those among our readers
who have no aptitude for pleasuring their inamoratas in the fashion the
Captain has recommended. So much the worse for you. What man wouldn't be
proud of giving his woman that kind of joy, and yet how few are capable of
the Captain's wise practice in this area. Is it any wonder that wedding bells
are in the air?
The most enlightened approach of all, followed by only those perfect
masters in the arts of love who have risen above even the Captain's
impressive successes, will produce the best and most intense romances. To
follow these sublime teachings, forego the pedestrian routine of interaction
with the opposite sex and limit your relationships to a glance or two across
the room at a party. Then leave. The tacky business of conversation and
worse, actual physical contact with the object of your affection, will be
avoided along with the attendant humiliations. Only the purest emotions will
remain. Remember the saying, "It's the thought that counts." The woman whom
you've spotted at that disco or party or church social will be eternally
grateful. It takes dedication and practice, but it is my firm belief that in
the end it's all worthwhile.
Since Maverick arrived, a cruising boat has sunk about an hour from shore and
three have gone up on the reef in Tyrrel Bay.
The local boatwrights create the elaborate compound curves of knees and ribs
out of freshly cut local trees using nothing but chainsaws. Planks are hewn
using the adze.
Ericson owners wishing a reasonably complete account of the damage and
repairs, with a minimum of speculation about the cause, can email us at
firstname.lastname@example.org. I won't bore the general reader with the details,
preferring to accomplish that in other ways.
Next report more-or-less from this location: