Posts Tagged 'kids at sea'

Down to the Sea with Tots

I’ve seen enough movies about whalers, Bering Sea crab fisherman and Somali pirates to know that the open ocean is a place that deserves the utmost respect, if not downright fear.

Apparently, Eric and Charlotte Kaufman didn’t share my misgivings. In fact, they seemed to relish them when they embarked on a worldwide 36 foot sailboat cruise with daughters Cora, 3 and little Lyra, 1. With less than adequate seagoing experience and saddled with Lyra’s recent unresolved illness, the Kaufmans felt that many months of exposure to death-defying conditions would sober up the little brats in short order. Much like my Mom did by sending me outside to play softball in the alley, or by giving me a nickel to ride the streetcar all alone to the Bertha Theater on Chicago’s Lincoln Avenue.

The Daffy Duck Kaufman cruise ended with hoards of Coast Guard rescuers racing to their salvation, an astronomical number of taxpayer financed naval ships, and a not so trivial exposure of others to possible injury or death.  A rollicking good time was, I’m sure, had by all.

Having never put my eye out by recklessly aiming my BB gun, I’m probably not well qualified to judge the sanity of the Kaufmans’ daredevil antics. But their bravado apparently hit a nerve with similarly minded sailing enthusiasts who laugh uproariously in the face of disaster.

Jim in Seattle defended the Kaufmans by citing the statistics of known sailing deaths in the last fifty years. Encouraged, even proud of those numbers, Jim noted that “You are more likely to be stung by a mosquito than drown in the middle of the ocean in a 36 foot boat. And everyone knows that malaria can kill you quicker than being run down at midnight by a 1,200 foot long, 50,000 ton container ship.”

Martha in Marina Del Rey volunteered “I’ve been a matron in an institution devoted to the rehabilitation of delinquent teens. Going to sea before being able to walk or talk is sure to be a great incentive for those kids to obey their parents, walk the straight and narrow, and stay out of my way. I hope they have the guts to do it again, maybe even when Charlotte is eight months pregnant.”

Steve in New York compared the Kaufman adventure with the maniacal motorcycle acrobatics of the now departed daredevil Evel Knievel. “Ya know, Evel wasn’t afraid of anything. He broke every bone in his body twice, replaced his cirrhotic liver, spent half his life in the hospital, and lived to be nearly 70. Fear wasn’t in his vocabulary. Evel said it all when he said I guess I thought I was Elvis Presley but I’ll tell ya something. All Elvis did was stand on a stage and play a guitar. He never fell off on that pavement at no 80 mph.

Sobering statements from people who know the real benefits of courting death without hesitation. The sheer exhilaration of putting yourself and your mindless loved ones at peril in order to satisfy a need for recognition and possible profit.

So maybe the Kaufmans had the right idea. Live life to its fullest, even if means killing your infant daughter in the process. They can always make another one.

Kaufman cruise


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