Sunday, August 2, 2009

Toys For Wee Men

There were a lot of adolescent boys in the mid to late 1980s who watched the television show Miami Vice during its five year run. It was an immensely popular show among the MTV crowd, likely due to the subject matter: high living (literally), fast cars, Teflon-coated Billy blast-off blazers, smoking women (again, literally) with bad hairdos, and insanely fast, off-shore racing boats. Most of us sold our shiny suits after the Miami Vice era came to an end. Thanks be to grunge for ending Sonny and Rico's reign of terror. Some adolescent boys, however, still lead lives full of Vice.

Some deal in drugs. Some frequent prostitutes. Some wear t-shirts under their Armani blazers (arguably the bigger crime). And one drives a cigarette boat on Washademoak Lake (the jury is deliberating).

These high speed, offshore racing boats were given the name 'cigarette boat' because they were used to smuggle cigarettes into Canada. Under the cover of night, these water rockets would avoid detection and deliver their contraband. Rather than sending an empty boat back to the U.S., the always polite Canadians would load the boats with a few hundred thousand in unmarked bills, and a bag or two of fiddleheads, as our uniquely Canadian way of saying 'thanks for the heroin shipment, my friend'. The name 'cigarette boat' was later used as a corporate handle, thus giving berth to Cigarette Boats at marinas all over the world. The Cigarette offshore racing team did very well among the mindless, let's burn up the world's non-renewable fossil fuels as fast as we can, jet-setters.
Even as we are experiencing the reality of peak oil, we continue to live with the blinders on. Future generations, trust me, will look back at our generation and shake their heads in disgust. We are living in the age of excess, but put your life jackets on, people, things are going to change drastically as oil begins its terminal decline. At the expense of sounding optimistic, cigarette boats, will be very popular as museum displays (right next to the Hummer display, and General Motors' tombstone). On the downside, no one will be able to afford to drive to the museum.

Often powered by twin 500hp engines, these bad boys could outrun anything else on the water, particularly the police, DEA or Theodore Tugboat. Their deep vee hulls were designed to cut through ocean chop, the type you would find off the coast of Florida. They are the Ferraris of the ocean, so to have one on a small, narrow, populated freshwater lake is akin to killing a mosquito with a a family picnic! There's going to be collateral damage.

Did I mention that these boats are deafening? When this particular cigarette boat, which I believe is a 36 foot Baja SST, goes past my property, I have to stop talking, playing my guitar, listening to music, or thinking for about thirty seconds. Well, I don't actually stop thinking, I just turn my thoughts to things like torpedoes, mines and the hunt for Red October.

This particular boat, and it's owner, are generating a lot of buzz in the Village of Cambridge-Narrows. Just yesterday, two watermen were talking:

Waterman 1: "Hey, have you heard that cigarette boat on the lake?"

Waterman 2: "Yeah, that guy must have an incredibly small penis."

Waterman 1: "That's what my wife said!"

This is a true conversation. I was there! But it's not a new or startling dialogue as men have been half-laughing at these boats for a long, long time. Women are chuckling too. There's not much to laugh about, really. Boats like this say two things, not counting issues of male inadequacy:
1) I don't care about about our planet.
2) I don't care about the enjoyment of others.
With the exception of a few drooling adolescent boys, it seems that this boat and its owner pisses off a lot of people. I'm not one who like a lots of rules, prohibitions or fatwas (okay, I love fatwas), so I'm not suggesting that these types of boats be outlawed on our lake. Rather, I'd like to see the owners take responsibility for their actions and behave a little more thoughtfully toward others (i.e. sell the boat to someone who likes to harass whales, run drugs or impress teenage boys).
I'd like the owner to sit in my yard and try to have a conversation when his boat goes past. You can't do it, unless you're into sign language. I'm pretty sure this boat generates a lot of sign language, and it's not often two thumbs up.


  1. The Narrows would be a great spot for boat races.If only we could keep those *@^$!%& windsurfers off the water.LIFE ON THE LAKES would get some attention then!!!

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