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How to Enjoy a New Boat

I was the giftee of a new kayak. The fact that I was also the giftor is irrelevant. As long as everyone in the transaction is happy, it's a beautiful thing.

To optimize the pleasure derived from this, one must begin with the proper ritual. That's where the enjoyment commences, not when you finally get it to the water.

The boat arrives ensconced in layers of protective wrapping and padding. Stuffed into the cockpit of the boat is a mesh bag containing all the pads to custom fit the kayak to your body, plus the owner's manual. Kind of like the giblets of a roasting turkey.

The first thing you do is tear apart the wrapping with gusto. You don't slit it carefully and gently remove the boat. This is a present. Go for it! Then, untie the bag and pitch it aside. Jump in and feel the boat. Inhale deeply of the toxic new plastic fumes. Ahhhhh. Run your hand over the glossy virgin curves for the tactile sensation (it's the last time it'll be this pristine).

Now you're ready to start the fitting. There are all kinds of mysterious adjusting devices with no apparent mode of operation. Do not succumb to consulting the manual. It'll only confuse you.

Initiate the process by twisting, unscrewing or loosening anything that appears to be moveable. Do that until parts start falling into the bilge of the boat. These things are assembled by races who have hands the size of parakeet feet, so you're good for another hour or two of reattaching the components. But, it'll be a learning process and you'll bond with your new partner.

You now have a reasonably good fit. But, you'll need the other goodies to effect a form fit. Shake the pads out of the bag. Enjoy it - more presents.

The padding is pre-cut to precisely fit the contours of you and the kayak. Just not this kayak. It's as if the boat and the sculpted pads are pieces from different jigsaw puzzles. You can eyeball, squeeze and rotate the pads all you care to but you won't find a home for them within the bowels of the boat. Again, eschew the manual. The manufacturers have no idea where they go, either. They just throw in a bag of random foam blocks to keep you happy.

So, get out the hacksaw and some dragon skin. Carve out some slices to close the gaps between you and the boat. There, doesn't that feel better? Discard the manual. Now, you're ready to rock. Except, the phone rings.

"Are you playing with your new toy yet?"
I described the process to her, savoring the replay.
"I don't suppose you considered a more organized approach."
"That's the way it's done. That's the way a guy does it."

Whatever floats your boat.

Written by: Henry E. Dorfman - Cincinnati, OH

For more great stories: See the Archive!

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