What? Me Worry?

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 7:25pm

Before my dad bought a windy shack in Point Judith in '64, our uncle John had a summer house in Buttonwoods on Greenwich Bay. The house was right on the water across from Goddard Park—great spot! He picked up an 8 foot sailing dinghy for us kids to hack around with during the lazy and hazy days of summer. It was called the What? Me Worry? Remember "Mad Magazine" folks, and Alfred E. Newman? In 1961, we took a shot at rigging the boat. My sister Janey was the brains of this operation. I stood by holding the halyard, the other kid named Dave, just stood by looking baffled.

     Well, we got the boat rigged and dragged it into Greenwich Bay. Thus began my life long pursuit of messin' around with boats. I've had several over a forty year period. Plutarch said, "If a man wants trouble, let him have a woman, and a boat." I'll leave that one to rattle around the reader's head, and not commit one more word regarding this very expansive and provocative quote. Oh what the hell, I can't quote a smart guy like Plutarch and leave his words in the ether. So, from experience what I can say regarding women and boats, is that when things are going well there is nothing better in the world. However, when things are not going so smoothly, well, things can get very, ahem, complicated. ' Nuff said.

       So the What? Me Worry?  sent me on a life long passion with boats. (In college I had a boat, but no car.) My feeling is that there are people who love boats, and those who don't. There is no room for ambivalence when you own a boat; you're either in, or you're out—like being in love. Since the day me and my sister tried to make sense out of the little sailing dinghy, I've been in up to my ears. Speaking of ears, note mine in the picture. One of the several nicknames I've absorbed over the years, was that of a most outstanding, extraordinary and aforementioned American icon, Alfred E. Newman!

       Finally, in 1970, I worked as a cook at Smugglers Cove. One night an illustrator for "Mad Magazine" was having dinner and many drinks. His name was Sergio Aragone′s. He had black bushy hair and a thick handlebar mustaches. I boldly walked over to him from the kitchen, and asked him for his autograph. He proceeded to draw a cartoon on the table cloth. At closing, I absconded said table cloth from the dining room. A bunch of RISD kids worked there at the time. They were baffled by my brazenness. I said, "Hey, What? Me Worry?"