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Paul Coates – Confidential File, Jan. 25, 1960

January 25, 2010 |  2:00 pm

Jan. 25, 1960, Mirror

Earthy language from Eva Marie Saint shocks Hollywood bash!

It's Yo Ho Ho for Seafarer

Paul Coates    The current national insanity for small boats, and its consequent problems, is nothing new to me, matey.

    So avast, you lubbers, and don't bug me.   Belay that jive.  I already dig it.

    My personal psychosis for the scent of salt air, the feel of cold spray and the tingle of excitement at learning that I have dry rot, goes back many years.

    Indeed, like the bug to boat bit me when I was yet a lad, and Bob Yeakel  didn't have a brother to his name.

    It happened one day when my grandmother cradled me in her rather bony lap and spun me  a yarn about how grandpa had gone to sea as a cabin boy and became addicted to smoking tobacco when he was only 9 years old.

    This intimate bit of family lore set me aflame with inspiration.  Since I, myself, was only 10 at the time, it was, of course, impossible for me to buy a boat.  And the radical proponents of the Child Labor Laws had already loused things up for us child laborers so that I couldn't even get a job as a cabin boy on a Yankee Clipper.

image     But I did the best I knew how.  I began smoking immediately.

    Today, here it is almost -- I don't know, 20 years later, wouldn't you think? -- and I have  a boat of my own.

    That, as a matter of fact, is why I asked you all here.  So gather 'round the mizzenmast, as we say, I want to talk to you.

    I stand ready to share my knowledge of celestial navigation, the danger of trochoidal seas, how to make a half-hitch, what time is six bells, the niceties of flag etiquette, including when to fly the yacht club burgee (about which, I think you've all been sloppy lately) and, how to buy your boat on the "Buddy System" easy time payment plan.

    We'll get to that later.  First, lie back and say whatever comes to your mind.  Now, why do you want to buy a boat?  Because you feel insecure.  Right?  This is a way to make you a big man in the neighborhood.  A yachtsman like John Jacob Astor, only you can do it with nothing down and hardly anything a week.  No?  Look, don't kid me.  I'm in the same boat, as we say.

Becomes a Nautical Devotee
    But I've been through it, and I can tell you.  It's not the initial cost, it's the upkeep that kills you.   Six ninety-five for a yachting cap, three-fifty for  meerschaum pipe that stays lit in a high wind, three-eighty for a pair of sneakers, a dollar and a half for Dramamine, seven bucks for a flag with crossed battle-axes to be flown when your wife is aboard (and always good for a chuckle.)
    I'm like you, I bought a small craft to impress neighbors, friends, business acquaintances, and in-laws who still think I'm a bum.
    The man I bought it from told me that the Coast Guards would issue me a certificate of ownership which had to be displayed in a prominent place aboard.  It was the proudest day of my life.  Master of my own vessel!  And, a certificate to prove it.
    I bought  a solid brass frame ($3.98) for this evidence of my financial stability.  It was inscribed with the plaintive sailor's prayer, "O Lord, Thy sea is so great and my ship is so small."
    Then the certificate arrived in the mail.  It was a neatly typed document that listed the length and size of the boat.  And under ownership, it listed "Bank of America."