Mid-life crisises manifest themselves differently with different people. Some people act out "The Pina Colada Song" and troll for anonymous sex at midnight while they may or may not be caught in the rain. Some people have sex with the babysitter. Some people buy a car they can't afford. This guy, however, bought a boat. His family didn't see it coming. They had no clue they were being signed up for a life at sea.
Batten the hatches! I see a gift guide for the nautically-obsessed off the starboard side!
Every time you call him, he is on the boat. He's hanging out and drinking grog, spending long moments looking out of his periscope, and carefully cleaning/swabbing the deck. It's gotten to the point where he thinks that life really would be better if he lived under the sea. He has named the boat something like "Half Moon" or "Pirate's Booty" or something equally stupid. His ringtone is now "A Pirate's Life for Me" which is interesting, because you're pretty sure "a pirate's life" involves a lot of raping and pillaging. Cool, let me get the Coast Guard on the phone.
The view from the Crow's Nest? BLEAK.
1. You absolutely cannot be a real boater without an appropriate pair of boat shoes. Sperry Topsiders ($85, Sperry Topsider) are truly the only way to go. Think about how slick this guy will look hoisting the sails while wearing these shoes that are John F. Kennedy chic. Think about it: whenever a member of the Kennedy family suddenly dies or is involved in the murder of an underage girl, the news always flashes to the "Kennedy Family Compound." Everyone else in the world has a house, they have a compound. With these shoes and that boat, the Sea Captain is well on his way to having a compound of his very own. He'll be walking around Hyannis Port covering up assorted murders in no time.
2. His trips puttering around the lake literally one mile away from the goddamned dock certainly don't qualify as "loggable" trips, but this guy does. not. care. Every time they put up the sails counts as a full-fledged nautical journey, even though the boat is so close to land that even someone with no arms could safely get to shore if they were thrown overboard.
"How many knots are we going?" you'll ask. And he'll tell you to shut up because the answer is "zero."
Indulge his insanity by picking up this handsome book ($12, Kate's Paperie) that can double as a Captain's Log. Everything he writes will be super-serious, but you can grab it when he's not looking and secretly write obnoxious things like lyrics to old sea chanties or "Message in a Bottle" by The Police.
3. Since he's now seeing more of the "cabin" than he is of his own living room, help him make it a little more liveable with this Anchor Rug ($650, Jonathan Adler). It manages to fit in with the boating theme but not look goofy and ridiculous, like those treasure chest tchotchkes and that Jolly Roger flag he's got hanging up in there.
4. Since he has started dressing like a cross between Captain Stubing on The Love Boat and your creepy "family friend" who insists on wearing Hawaiian shirts always (even in the dead of winter), pick up this ridiculous Captain's Hat ($17.99, Amazon). He'll look so official when he wears it. Officially crazy.
1. There are three things that forever changed the way Americans view boats: the Titanic (the actual ship), the Titanic (the movie), and "I'm on a Boat" (the SNL Digital Short). From 1997 until 2008, the first thing you thought of when you hear the word "boat" was either "I'm the king of the world!" or how much you wanted to blow your brains out after hearing "My Heart Will Go On" for the seven millionth time. Thanks to Saturday Night Live's The Lonely Island, we now have a go-to song that espouses the other joys of being on a boat, instead of it crashing into an iceberg and killing Leonardo DiCaprio. Pick up this I'm On a Boat T-shirt ($6, Six Dollar Shirts) so everyone that sees him in it can talk about flippy floppies, nautical-themed pashmina afghans and having sex with mermaids.
2. All the Sea Captain wants this guy to do is to pay attention and help steer the boat, but he's too distracted by how hungry he is every second of the day. "When are the burgers going to be coming up from the galley?" he wonders, as the boat veers off course. Can you even cook burgers on a sailboat? Who knows. If you CAN cook burgers on a boat (you should check into that, I'm busy), Blink Ketchup & Mustard Bottles ($24, Uncommon Goods) are the perfect gift. They effectively have a doll's eyes shoved into them, which move when you squeeze them. It's like something out of The Little Mermaid. A talking crab! A seagull who brushes his hair with an old fork! A giant, drag queen octopus! What a hilarious movie that was, I'm so glad I watched it when I was seven.
3. That old bitch from Titanic may have won you over with that whole "Heart of the Ocean" song and dance, but we know where this guy's heart is at: at the bottom of a bucket of beers. Who wants to climb down into the galley every 5 minutes to get a beer (that's how quickly most people drink one beer, am I right?) when you can shove a sixer into a Custom Beer Bucket (Beer Buckets)? He'll be as unsinkable as Molly Brown by the end of the day.
4. Speaking of beer, he's going to need something quick and easy to crack open those cervezas, and a dinglehopper ain't gonna cut it. He can shove this Wally Wallet Bottle Opener ($12, Uncommon Goods) into the back pocket of his board shorts and be all set to go when he's listening to "Margaritaville" for the 500th time. Scientific studies show that it takes approximately six beers coupled with a beachfront setting for a relatively normal person to turn into a Parrothead. For those of you who don't know what a Parrothead is, it's a Jimmy Buffett fan who has absolutely no self-respect because they go out in public dressed like they fell into Key West's tackiest souvenier shop and all of the worst clothing and accessories somehow attached themselves onto them. Here's a tip: don't trust a grown man wearing a shark's fin on his head, or a grown woman who's drinking through a ten-inch straw shaped like a flamingo.
She could have sworn that she didn't marry a priate, but here she is, swabbing the deck again. "Nautical rule applies!" the Sea Captain says, and she rolls her eyes. All of this would be fine if he were a naval officer or something legitimate, but this is a guy who can't even set his own alarm clock and now he's going to navigate them to safety during a sea storm?
Every time they head out on the boat, she prays that they'll make it back to shore with the same ferocity that a bank hostage or a POW prays for their own safe return to normalcy. She sighs, and resigns herself to the galley to mix drinks and make snacks because she can't watch the Sea Captain and the First Mate fumble around with the sails like a blind person on an obstacle course anymore.
1. On more than one occasion, she's thought about taking a knife to the sails. "Oops, I guess we can't go out today," she'd say. "Some punk teenagers must have snuck on board and ripped the sails!" She can think of about 400 better uses for sails than actually sailing, so these Recycled Sail Totes ($98, Uncommon Goods) that are actually made out of recycled boat sails are perfect for her. She can keep her cigarettes and liquor in there, because she'll need them to calm her nerves as the boat is getting knocked around the water like Tina Turner did whenever Ike got a little upset.
2. You're not exactly sure what the hell pirates ate when they were out at sea, but you're pretty sure it wasn't anything particularly delicious. But with today's modern technology, your boat's galley can be tricked out with everything from a refrigerator to a full-on stove. The Galley Wench has resigned herself to the fact that her duty is to churn out delicious food while the Sea Captain and the First Mate fuck around above deck. If she serves up her sea fare in these Oasis Bowls ($32, West Elm), she can feel like she's actually eating food like a human instead of some cheap knock-off of the Little Mermaid.
3. You might think it's a little asinine to use coasters on a boat. It's like using doilies at a picnic or being nice to a hooker: IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. But after all of the time the Sea Captain has spent staining and oiling the "teak" finishes the boat, the last thing he wants to see is a ring left from your Bud Light Lime. You'd get thrown overboard faster than Natalie Wood! The Galley Wench would really like to avoid being a witness to any murders at sea, so help her provide all guests with these Scrimshaw Coasters ($16, Orange & Pear) and avoid being convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
4. At some point, some idiot decided that whales were cute and started including them in almost all nautical designs. NEWSFLASH: whales are scary. Any time a whale is featured in any movie, there's always this dramatic back and forth as to whether or not the whale is going to eat everyone. And you want to invite this dbag to your dinner party? Even the expression "in the belly of the whale" means you're facing a very difficult task. Moral of the story: WHALES ARE JERKS. But maybe the Galley Wench doesn't have these same psychotic hang-ups about whales that you do. Maybe she'd appreciate these Whale Salt & Pepper Shakers ($48, Orange & Pear) that are designed to look deceptively friendly—smiling and blowing water out of their blowholes. Keep an eye on those suckers.
So there it is. A round-up with approximately 5 million references to the Titanic and The Little Mermaid.
Personally, I don't fall into any of these categories. If there were a "nautically-obssessed" category for me, it would be "Jerk Who Sits Around and Slams Beers."
It's the best one to be in, don't you think?
For more ridiculous references to The Little Mermaid and the like, follow me on Twitter @amandawaas