Bonus Advice from Judge John Hodgman

Published on November 19th, 2023

Judge John Hodgman’s weekly column for The New York Times doesn’t offer advice — he delivers justice. The topic in this edition is sailing:

Sarah writes: My mother sails every weekend and often throughout the week. It’s not uncommon to try to plan a family event, only for her to ask that it be rescheduled to a time she wouldn’t prefer to be sailing, like nighttime or during a storm. Such events include my brother’s 40th birthday, baby showers, and even my wedding. Please ask her to stop this.

John responds: I’m sorry your mother is married to the sea. But please understand: Sailing is a meditative puzzle for the hands and the mind that frees you, briefly and semi literally, from the bonds of Earth and attunes you to the wordless language of nature. It’s such a magical experience that it’s easy for sailors to forget it’s just a hobby like any other: essentially yoga with the world’s most expensive mat. Explain to your mother that pretty days exist for other people’s happiness as well. If that doesn’t persuade her to stop asking, skip her next birthday and go LARPING.

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