Florida Boating

Saturday, August 18, 2012


By Barb Hansen
November, 2011

Some day Occupy Wall Street protestors will Occupy a Boat. I mean that in a good way. I think some actually will buy boats or charter them and they will love every minute on the water.

They will be like the hair down to here hippies of the 1960s who quit drugs, washed their hair and found a job and earned their own financial success.

Fast-forward forty years from today. I can see some former Occupiers anchored up and enjoying the views and breezes with their spouses on a fly bridge. They will remember, not fondly, the lice and lethargy of 2011 when home was a public park that smelled like an outhouse, where drums pounded, vuvuzela horns squawked, and people chanted stupidity: "We WE …are ARE …the THE …99 Percent."

Remember, for every action there is a reaction.

Maybe one of the new one percenters will be the young man Conan O'Brien joked about. He proposed to his girlfriend, "Will you occupy my parents' basement with me until I get a job?"

Well, it's a start, if his parents are okay with that. Why not? Up to now they've given him everything he ever asked for including paying for his PhD in Postmodern Know Nothing Studies where he learned that others owed him a comfortable living and health care, too. It's a human right, don't you know.

Yeah, you know this story. Eventually the parents kick them out of the basement and the young couple applies for jobs. They don't put Zuccotti Park on their resumes.

Most of their former comrades leave Zuccotti Park when the first cold arrives. A few dirty and disheveled deadbeats keep on banging drums, blowing smoke, and stinking up the neighborhood.

After a year or so of this businesses and residents of the neighborhood pack up and leave the city. So New York City's Mayor for Life Bloomberg agrees that if the protestors would please leave the park he will let them Occupy empty office buildings in Lower Manhattan.

Meanwhile, our young couple from the park earn enough to pay rent and buy a used car and they feel better about themselves. They get promotions and raises from time to time so on special occasions they agree to Occupy a restaurant and actually pay for dinner and tip the server.

Yep, our couple has a couple of kids and when the little ones are toddlers the family auto takes them all to the Florida coast and they all Occupy a beach. They build sand castles together, periodically applying sunscreen to pink faces and reminding the little ones not to leave their Kit Kat wrappers in the sand.

They Occupy a dolphin-cruise tourist boat and see bottlenose dolphins surfing the boat's waves and their kids are just thrilled. "You know," she says to the man she married, once a boy with a PhD, "wouldn't it be great if we had our own boat and could go on dolphin cruises all the time?"

See. This is how it happens.

They get the boat. It's great but soon they realize it's too small so they get a bigger boat. And the kids invite their school friends to get pulled on the big ski tube with them and they are far and away the most popular kids in their classes.

Everybody works and studies hard. Then one year, before their teenagers leave for college to prepare for corporate jobs, they decide the time is right to charter a spacious yacht and cruise the beautiful Southwest Florida coast for a whole week.

Wow. This is a boat they could actually, you know, Occupy. It has indoor plumbing, clean linens, comfy beds, heat and air conditioning, everything they need but not drums or vuvuzela horns. The only chant is the put-you-to-sleep charm of the boat's engines.

Temperatures are just right. The Gulf ICW is glassy smooth. Dolphins perform. Ospreys plunge-dive for small fish then eat their meals, guardedly, at the very top of bare trees. Flocks of pelicans fly by in formation. Herons and egrets peck in the shallows for worms and minnows.

Once, cruising along, our couple detect the slightly off-putting whiff of something from Bird Island. They look at each other, both reminded of the same thing, and keep cruising into the fresh air.

That night, anchored up, the family kicks back and takes in the views and breeze on the bridge. The parents tell their teens about Zuccotti Park and they offer some parental words of wisdom, something about always striving to be in the top one percent.


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