Our sails have feelings too

Published on May 16th, 2019

When in the heat of battle, we expect a lot from our sails, even pleading for them to give more. And when they age and are no longer competitive, we move on. How do you think that makes them feel? Enjoy this commentary by Chris Christensen:

Hi, my name is Jib, and I’m homeless.

Well, I’m not actually homeless. Right now, I stay in a garage, but before that, I traveled all over the country and the world before settling down here.

I used to have so much hope for the future, places to go, things to do, and lots of people who enjoyed spending time with me, especially when things got tough. “So easy to work with” and “Much easier than the others,” they would say.

Fresh out of the bag, I was the talk of the dock. “No seas too rough, no puff too tough,” was nt reputation…until that one dark and stormy night at sea, when I got pushed beyond even my limits. After that experience, I met my maker and got stitched back together, but never quite the same again. Now, they just call me “old jib.”

Over the years, I’ve softened….and I’ve tired. It should be no surprise that I don’t get out now as much as I used to. Who can blame me after being raised up over and over, only to be let down again time after time? That may sound tacky, but that’s just me.

Some have said I’m abrasive but that’s only when others get me sideways, or chafe me or try to walk all over me. That kind of thing can lead to a shorter lifespan, so I’ve always tried to avoid it.

Throughout my time, people have relied on me in the toughest, most tumultuous of times. I’ve fought headwinds most of my life, and it never seems like very long before I’m faced with, yet again, another tempest. But whenever I’m needed, as long as I can, I’ll continue to rise up.

I’m rugged, don’t get me wrong, but you just never know when things will begin to unravel and you can suddenly crack, or just start falling apart at the seams. I’ve been through a couple of what seemed like religious experiences at the time, but I wouldn’t say that I am holey.

I used to live life in the fast lane, until I started getting headed in the wrong direction, fell off point, and then it all went downhill quickly from there. Things always seem great when you are lifted up, but it’s the hard knocks that can really make you fall off track.

Others – usually some sort of middle man – often create a lot of tension for me. Sometimes, I really got pounded. Many a time I would get ridden hard and put away wet, but I’ve just learned to stay strong, despite being flogged getting thrown from side to side, all while just trying to do my job.

When I’m done, I’m bagged….I just roll up in a tight curl and wait; it’s usually not long before I’ll be needed again. Sometimes, however, from my head to my foot, I wonder how much longer I can take it. I need to be supported. Often shrouded, I ask myself, “Do I really need this sheet?”

Things always seem great when the wind is at your back…but that’s not when I’m at my best. While others are better at running away, I am in my element when things reach that lowest turning mark. When it’s an uphill battle, I can slog it out with the best of them.

I may not be as fast sometimes as those that are bigger than me, but when the pressure is on, you can rely on me to lead the way. Don’t turn your back on me, it’s time I came out of the closet once and for all and either get on with my life, or find a new purpose.

Can you help me? You might think after reading this that I don’t have a clew, but I do. I’ve managed to keep my head above water so far, but I’ve never really found that you need to follow a track to get to the top. I promise, I will hank on hard when given a chance, and a place to stay. I just need to get my foot wet.

I started out life down south, and traveled extensively before finally settling here. I’ve lived most of my life on boats; every now and then I stay at a house or condo, or in a garage, or at a friend’s house. I am definitely not a drifter, nor am I a flake….I just tend to “roll with it.”

Ever since I came into existence, I’ve always been close to the sea or some form of water until now, where I just sit, in a dark, dry, lonely garage, collecting dust.

I’m not too old, really! I still have a lot of life in me and know I can be of help to someone, somewhere. Admittedly, I may be a little salty and crusty in certain spots, but all of that can be washed away with just a little bit of love and attention. I am low maintenance compared to others, and, not to brag or anything, but I last longer too if you know what I mean.

I am strong, reliable, and can hold up to the pressure as good as, if not better than, most others. I just need another chance.

In our throwaway society, I know it is easy to just buy a new “anything” when the old one shows wear, but just think – for a minute – of how much you can gain by trying an older, reliable, experienced model.

Besides, it’s not right to just discard old things in a rumpled heap. When it comes right down to brass tacks, I carry more than my share of the load…not just 100%, but 110%.

Through my little window on the world, I’ve seen telltale signs of what’s ahead, and I know that the winds of change are just around the corner. My owner says I’m probably worth more to someone else now, and so it’s time I seek out yet another voyage on the sea of life. Can you help me?

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