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Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
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Friday, March 2, 2018

Hope Ain't a Tactic

Catfishin' Clip from the movie, Deepwater Horizon

Wish in one hand; s**t in the other; see which fills up first.
-- Folk Wisdom

Fishin' for Trouble; Hope Ain't a Tactic

The movie Deepwater Horizon depicts the events and poor decisions preceding and exacerbating one of the outsized, normal accidents of our age.

In this clip Mark Wahlberg, playing Chief Electronics Engineer Mike Williams, presents the seemingly obvious:

If you go fishing for trouble, you'd better gear up.

To embark upon dangerous pursuits, it helps to arm ourselves with knowledge, tools, skills and practice, practice, practice. Err on the side of caution. Get our heads in the game.

All too often, hope is mistaken for a tactic.

We plunge ahead, counting on fair weather. On our reflexes. On our instincts. Our guts. Our ability to wing it. On rescue. We imagine that these will pull us through. Often enough they do. But now and then things go south in a hurry.

And we're caught out.

Recently, I heard blind risk described as putting a paper bag over one's head with a bucolic scene painted on the inside. Running through that imagined or wished-for landscape is bound to end poorly.

We can't rule out risk, and really, we don't even look to minimize it. After all, most of the worthwhile pursuits in life are inherently risky. Risk is something we accept as the price of living large.

But stupid risk. Blind risk. The kind of risk that predictably cuts short the pursuit of happiness...

I mean, c'mon!


  1. So, should we go at all? At the beginning of any new start, inexperience is vast and working knowledge is thin.

    Had you been cautious in the beginning, would you be where you are now?

    (Believe me when I say I sometimes get the night sweats thinking about our new plan, even as we strive to anticipate what might go wrong, and learn all we can in advance of setting out on the adventure. It's easy to hear the voice that says, "what are you _thinking_?)

    1. Hi Peter,

      Oh, you should, you SHOULD!

      Some folks do leap in blind, and maybe leave anchors for another trip. Mostly they make it, but I don't recommend that. This post is about THAT kind of hope/tactic.

      But if you educate yourself as best you can beforehand, gear up, start small and leave yourself wide safety margins, you'll learn as you go with as much or more safety as your first (or maybe next) trip in a car.

      I had the runs ahead of every time we sailed for the first year. Cotton mouth and knees-a-knockin'. Some scrapes but nothing threatening, and we soon outgrew (most) of the jitters.

      And did I mention we kept an outboard on standby that first year, too? Managed not to use it, but it was a comfort.

      So Fair winds and bite-sizes to ye!

      Dave Z