A Few Thoughts About the Big Boat

You think you got problems? Photo: Suez Canal Authority/HO/AFP via Getty Images

A very large boat has been blocking the Suez Canal since Tuesday. This is a problem for the people who own the boat, the people who work for the Suez Canal Authority, and maybe some other people too, since 12 percent of all world trade passes through the canal. Vice News says the boat drew a dick pic, but interpretation is a subjective act. Sometimes a boat route is just a boat route.

Whether the boat tried to draw a dick, or just tried and failed to do its normal thing, it doesn’t matter. The boat is still stuck, and it has to be unstuck. The Suez Canal Authority is very worried about this situation and has released a video of its efforts that I have now watched three times. There is music, and it sounds like my dumber cat’s brain when she tries to think.

Because everyone is paying attention to the big boat, it seems like a good time to relay some boat facts.

Boats Can Be Too Large

Did the Ever Given have to be this big — a quarter-mile long? What does it even carry? Maybe I am complicit. I routinely order objects that I do not need and one of them could be on this boat. By extension, then, I would be blocking the Suez Canal with my insatiable thirst for home-décor items. Maybe I’m greedy! Maybe the boat is our collective responsibility. I am taking this way too far, a quality I share with the captain of the Ever Given. Let this be a lesson, however: Boats can be too large. They are also as large as we allow them to be.

Tugboats Have Jobs

Today I showed my fiancé the Suez Canal video and pointed to the small boats pushing the big boat. “Look at that, it’s clever,” I told him. “Yes,” he said. “Those are tugboats. That’s what they do.” This was revelatory, because I don’t know anything about boats. I am from a landlocked place and boats are for car-dealership owners who like to go out on the lake. There are definitely no tugboats. That is why, in my 30-odd years of life, it never occurred to me that tugboats are named for their purpose. Tugboats have jobs! But they aren’t doing it very well. The big boat is still stuck.

It’s Almost Impossible to Make Jokes About Boats

This boat is the filibuster, my depression, the petit bourgeois blocking revolutionary momentum. I don’t know! Boaty McBoatface killed the boat joke, if such a genre had previously existed. Boats are banal. Rich people think otherwise, I believe, but they’re wrong. There’s nothing interesting about a yacht. Sailboats are moderately more pleasing but have been ruined, too, by their proximity to wealth. Now they just remind me of lacrosse. Perhaps we can go back to using schooners for things. Schooners are pleasing to behold and they are smaller, and perhaps less likely to get stuck. It’s almost impossible to make jokes about boats! This is as close as I can get. I’m sorry.

Sometimes Boats Get Stuck

There is something refreshing about the stuck boat, even if it’s bad for world trade. We all get stuck, don’t we? I do. Sometimes I go days without leaving my apartment, and this is only partly because there is a pandemic. I see professionals about this tendency of mine and I recommend that decision to the Suez Canal Authority, as they must be very frustrated right now. It helps to remember that sometimes there’s nothing you can do. The city has to shut down because there’s a deadly virus. The home-décor object you ordered doesn’t always make you feel better. The jokes don’t come. The tugboat doesn’t work. Sometimes boats get stuck! And you have to work for weeks to get the boat unstuck, while idiots write blog posts about you. Sometimes there’s only the hard way out.

A Few Thoughts About the Big Boat