Boat Bills: Up in $moke?

Bill Mann Mann Overboard
Posted 9/4/18

IT’S THE (MONEY) PITS: Each year around this time, I joke that I’d like to set up a booth at the Wooden Boat Festival with a banner proclaiming “Let Me Burn Your Currency!” I’ll provide the …

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Boat Bills: Up in $moke?


IT’S THE (MONEY) PITS: Each year around this time, I joke that I’d like to set up a booth at the Wooden Boat Festival with a banner proclaiming “Let Me Burn Your Currency!” I’ll provide the matches, boat owners provide bills of any denomination. A free service that’ll save sailors a lot of time and aggravation!

Why? For years, I’ve heard boats called “money pits.”

But are they? Is Mann really going overboard on this? I asked a PT sailor friend I’ll call Peter about floating money pits.

“That’s exactly what they are,” said Peter, a lifelong sailor, current boat owner and occasional crew member on the Race to Alaska.

“We sailors here have a joke about currency,” he smiles. “We call $1,000 one Wooden Boat Unit, as in ‘That haul out only set me back four units.’”

“I think of these boats as floating violins. It costs four WB Units just to replace one wooden plank.”

But surely there are other considerations, the pleasures of being out on the water, etc., right?

Peter nods, then smiles: “Sailing a boat in Puget Sound is like standing in a cold shower tearing up 100-dollar bills.”

Watch for my booth this weekend.

ON THE WATERFRONT, PART II:  What happened to that U.S. Bank time and temperature sign next to the ferry dock? It’s now a smaller sign, with time only. How am I supposed to know how frigid it is as I drive by in January? It’s on my dashboard display, you say? Um, nevemind. (Props to Emily Litella).

OK, so try this disappearance mystery: Whither all the raccoons, who have seemingly vanished from our ‘hood up on Dundee Hill? I haven’t even seen the little masked bandits scampering across any local roads lately.  

God, how I miss aiming a high-pressure sprayer at my roof at 3 a.m. to chase them down. Really sorry if they’ve relocated to your part of town.

NAVAL HISTORY: Since we're going (mostly) maritime today in honor of the Wooden Boat Festivus, you may have read that the carrier USS John Stennis will soon be home-ported in Virginia, relocated from its current home base in Bremerton. I’ll miss seeing that floating city. I remember eating lunch in Doc’s one day as the Stennis cruised by, en route to Indian Island on an ammo run. You could see the big carrier in all the east-facing windows.

There’s one nagging question I’ve always wondered about that flattop: How many black sailors on the ship know that the Stennis was named after an arch-segregationist U.S. Senator from Mississippi? I’m just old enough to remember the Klan-friendly Stennis.

Maybe the Navy will some day name a garbage scow after our current melanin- impaired incumbent as compensation.

NAVAL-BASE NOISE FAN?:  I’m pretty sure the T-shirt I saw a guy wearing in PT was Growler-ing at us. It read: “I Love Airplane Noise.”

I don’t, and I’m both a licensed pilot and I come from a military family.

Full Disclosure: I’m an EX-pilot. Walking away from two small-plane crashes forced my hand on this one.

SPEAKING OF THE MILITARY: I’ve heard that the Marine Band at the White House has a new signature tune: “Jail to The Chief.” And if you haven’t yet gotten your hands on veteran GOP strategist Rick Wilson’s hilarious book, “Everything Trump Touches Dies,” please do so.  Laughing will help us through trying times.

CLEARING THE AIR: My description of the awful, health-hazardous smoke and haze we had here recently: “Dickensian.” It reminded me of living in L.A., which was once called “The City Where the Birds Cough.”

PT resident Bill Mann has written the humor column for USA Today and CBS He’s and @Newsmann on Twitter.


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