“This boat, I said, is broken”, said the youngster. He, of course, was sitting right beside the hole, which hole seemed wide and substantial and also quite determined to produce as much water in a unit of time as permitted by the laws of physics, the water in turn splashing around in the boat’s sole with a terribly hostile urgency. “We need to do something. We need to get to the shore. Otherwise we will drown, do you hear me, folks?” 

The bearded man on the other side of the boat sighed in that pensive way of the semi-senile, gave the boat a once-over, fixed his wristwatch, carefully folded his gazette. Scratched his head. “You seem awfully sure of yourself, young man.” 


“Well…” The beard’s shrug and concomitant smile reeked of patronage; the smile was a ‘no-point-arguing-with-a-lowbrow’ kind of smile, a very condescending smile indeed. “Unless you’re like, an expert in boat-holes, I don’t see why you think it’s appropriate to tell us, grown adults, what to do. I, mind you, have seen a few things in my lifetime, and this sure ain’t the first boat I’ve been on.” 

The youngster was so stunned that he froze. The hole, however, wasn’t, and kept causing active harm to the boat. 

“Uh… So OK, but we are going to die if we don’t do anything.” 

Sitting to the right of the bearded man was a white-shirted woman with a slightly uneven bob cut, who it turns out had been silently involved in the conversation and had now raised her hand to signify desire to contribute. The youngster nodded in her direction. 

“Young man, personally am very proud of my boat. I’d spent my entire life here and—and tell you what: if you don’t like it, you can leave,” the woman looking at her fellow boat passengers in search of endorsement, them nodding, expressing approval. 

The hole was spurting water with great industry. 

“Hell yeah! And listen up, boy: if you ain’t planning on fixing the hole with your own damn hands, don’t go trying to order us around. My Lord, some audacity these kids have.” 

Soon more and more people had something to say, and with this there commenced a kind of Brownian mayhem on the hull: heads turning every which way, fists shaking and feet stomping—this obviously causing water to fly every which way as well and thus some of it descending upon the turning heads—and even an occasional show of hands…

“You know, punk, I used to live on this other boat a few years ago and they had three holes there! Three! And they were doing just fine—not a single complaint, you hear me? Not one!” 

“Look, if I were you, I’d be ashamed to say such things about my boat. I love my boat and will always stand by it. Unlike some people. Cough cough.”

“This is a very nuanced situation, it seems. I believe we need to consider different perspectives… after all, there are two sides to every story…Perhaps… perhaps if there is a hole, then there is a good reason for it being there.” 

“Yeah boy, how about you change yourself first before trying to change others!” 

“Some boats have it wayyyy worse, you’re privileged to be on this boat!” 

“Hey—that is your opinion. My opinion is, we’re better off with the hole anyway. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, if you, uh, didn’t know.” 

“Jesus, why are people so dramatic nowadays? Like hellooo, there are so many great, joyful things about this lovely boat but noooooo, you just have to make it all sad and depressing…” 

And soon the boat—being, of course, but an ordinary material object with commensurately generic yet essential material limitations avertible by virtue of simple human effort—was gone, devastated by the waves and torn asunder, and it all came down to who, well, knew how to swim. 

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