Paracelsus said “all things are poisons: there is none which is not a poison.” In my debut Basement piece, I shamelessly warped that statement so that I could cover “all things” in my column. Every other week, I discuss whatever it is that consumes my mind at the time the article is penned.
“That’s what a ship is, you know. It’s not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that’s what a ship needs but what a ship is… what the Black Pearl really is… is freedom.” The celebrated Captain Jack Sparrow hits the nail on the cranium once again. If you’ve ever spent any time at the helm (or tiller) of a waterborne vessel, you know the feeling. The feeling that comes from the absolute and complete freedom to go wherever you want and do whatever you want (within the laws of physics). You could even pillage a fellow seafarer if you like.
While boating season is in full swing, and I could certainly soliloquize about the lifestyle peddled by Jimmy Buffet and Guy Harvey, that is not the main focus of my musings today. I am more interested in the exercise of good ol’ fashioned American freedom.
Everyone knows freedom is our most basic and coveted right guaranteed by the US Constitution. I say it is more than a right, however. It is your duty as a human being to get out and experience the joy that comes from doing whatever, wherever, whenever. That duty is even more binding for Americans because there are children, siblings, spouses and parents making sacrifices each day to ensure you have the opportunity to do so. So what are you waiting for?
Boating is a great way to put your freedom to good use. You are freed from the Tron-esque 90-degree grid on which we typically operate motor vehicles and are given the latitude to exercise 360-degree mobility. But what about our land locked countrymen? Are they doomed to languish in the rigid confines of the paved highway system? Of course not, they could take to the air.
That’s right, hop in one of the various flying contraptions man has contrived over the last 100 or so years. I’ll see your 360-degree mobility and raise you an entirely new axis of movement. I have had the fortunate opportunity to strap into the back seat of an F-16 and take to the skies riding 30,000 pounds of thrust, and I can tell you that there isn’t any better way to experience freedom than at the controls of an airplane. There is just something special about the ability to control movement in any of the three linear dimensions.
Now, I realize that recreational aviation is harder to access and more cost-prohibitive than recreational boating. And that is especially true for high performance fighter jets. All is not lost for the landlubbers though. There is yet another way to escape the restrictions of asphalt.
Just forget the
roads. Who needs ‘em? I sure don’t. My Jeep Wrangler has little regard for what geological substance passes beneath its tires. It brings all the two dimensional freedoms of boating onto terra firma. Wind whipping through your hair included. With the recent mild sunny weather, even the commute to and from work in my open-air Wrangler brings back that familiar sense of freedom. It moved me so deeply this week that I went out and bought another Wrangler, this time a family-friendly four door.
The bottom line here is to just get out and take advantage of all that simple freedom has to offer. It doesn’t have to be anything grand like taking a joyride in a military jet, conquering Poseidon on the open seas or wheeling on a backwoods dirt trail. Just get out and do something that you want to do. Check out the state park down the road that you never bothered visiting. Knock out something from your bucket list. Take something ordinary and make it an exercise in freedom. After all, that’s what a Jeep is, you know. It’s not just an engine and a transmission and a removable top and wheels, that’s what a Jeep needs but what a Jeep is…is freedom.
Powered by Facebook Comments