As required of our New England boyhoods, all of us pals hit the river after school to play with boats. Some of our boats are bigger than others, Billy Jr.’s being the smallest boat of all. Because of this, the rest of us circle around Billy Jr., stirring up waves until he vomits all over his stupid little boat.
Some of us put on eye patches and sink the other kids’ boats and steal all of their candy and are hated because we are pirates, and others of us do the same thing but are commissioned by the royal government so we are privateers and beloved adventurers of the sea.
Some of us are good boatsmen and some of us are bad boatsmen. The bad boatsmen are soon overtaken and forced to walk the plank as we good boatsmen, if we are pirates, rape and pillage the candy from their decks, or if we are privateers, also do that.
My personal regatta entails five boats, all captured from my boyhood pals. George, my good buddy from arithmetic class, has captured six boats. Many people say George is a better boatsman because of this, but they stop saying that when I make them watch me eat all their precious candy.
Yes, boating in New England is about the most wholesome fun a boy my age can have! Older folks don’t like it as much. They stand at the banks of the river and yell, “That kid has eaten way too much candy today!” Or, “somebody call a dentist!” Or, from Mrs. Jeffrey down the street: “that’s my son, he’s a diabetic!”—whatever that means!
Yes sir, the life of a sailor is the life for me.