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Monday, February 20, 2006

Say What?

The other day, while checking my boat during a bad southwest storm, I overheard the pilot boat captain talking over the radio to one of the outbound ships. Because of the weather the transfer was being made well inside of the pilot station, not unusual for this type of situation, weather being what it was. However, after the transfer was made, I heard the pilot say to the ship's captain: "Have a safe trip."

Maybe I'm a bit too whimsical but when I heard that I laughed. In my mind, telling a liquid container ship captain to have a safe trip is a lot like telling Merryl Streep to do a good job at her next acting gig. Or telling Jeff Gordon to "Drive fast."

It's a given that people don't always say the right thing at the right time. Even our president has a propensity to flub-a-dub-dub his lines. If the President can get away with it, why can't a pilot boat captain? Or anybody else for that matter?

I'm sure more than a few people have told you, "Drive safe." Or, "Have fun." It's human nature to want to have the last word, no matter how nonsensical, inappropriate, or just plain stupid. But telling a ship captain to have a safe trip, well, that just takes salutatory conversation to a new low.

She could have said: "Have a good trip." Because that might mean . . . don't catch a cold on your way across the pond. Or, I hope you see a couple good movies on your trip, or you receive happy news from home.

I hope a live tuna accidentally jumps onto the ship and you all have sushi grade tuna steaks for dinner one night.

Or maybe just say: "Fair winds, Captain. See you on your return." When I was captain of the pilot boat, I always made it a point to call them, Captain.

Have a safe trip. I still can't get over that.


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