Summer Folly

06 Jan

When I was younger, my two cousins and I decided to engage in some innocent and innovative youthful folly—we decided to build a boat.

Perhaps “raft” might be a better term to describe it, if even that.  While exploring the rocky beach of a lake, we had made the exciting discovery of a massive piece of Styrofoam washed up on shore and decided to make it “lake-worthy.”

We promptly scrounged up several pieces of wood, nails, and a hammer, and even drew rudimentary blueprints of a frame.  We carried all of our dubious supplies and the Styrofoam onto a dock and got to work.  Many hours of effort later, we finally had a frame that should work relatively well.

The three of us each took hold and got ready to heave it up to our shoulders.  One – two – three – go!  Except, it didn’t go.  Not even an inch did it budge, and the three of us scratched our heads in puzzlement.  We tried again and a third time with different holds, more force, different angles, but nothing could convince it to move.

The sum bulk of the wood could not possibly have been so heavy that it wouldn’t even shift.  And then I had a revelation.  Picking up one of the nails, I examined its length and started laughing so hard that it took a few moments for me to regain my breath and explain.

We had blueprinted and measured so many things, but we had never thought to measure the length of the nails, which were about 1/2in longer than the wood was thick.  We had nailed the raft to the dock!

My cousins groaned and we all had a good laugh.  After freeing what turned out to be a relatively lightweight creation, we finally finagled it onto the Styrofoam and “out to sea.”

Have you ever had a moment in your life when you were so convinced about what a problem was (in our case, the weight of the boat), when it turned out to be something completely different?  How did you feel when you finally realized the truth?  Feel free to share!

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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in Writing


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