Life isn't a houseboat in Florida

Published online: Dec 09, 2009 News Mike Pound
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When I was young and single, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life.

I wanted to live on a houseboat somewhere in Florida, just like Travis McGee.

Granted, I didn't know exactly what I was going to do for a living. I just knew I was going to live on a houseboat somewhere in Florida, and I would have neat, interesting and quirky friends. Some of them would be female and would look very good in a swimsuit. My friends and I would hang around the houseboat all day, pretty much doing nothing, and then at 5 p.m. or so, we would put a bunch of steaks on a grill, sip Plymouth gin martinis and watch the sun go down.

That's how I was going to spend my life. Instead, on Sunday, I spent most of my day hanging around the Stone's Throw Dinner Theatre in Carthage waiting for the play our 11-year-old daughter, Emma, is in. The Stone's Throw Theatre is not located on a houseboat in Florida.

There were a lot of neat, interesting and quirky friends hanging around with me. (Some of them were female and probably would look good in a swimsuit.)

But at the end of the day, instead of slapping steaks on the grill and sipping a Plymouth gin martini, I went home to my non-houseboat house and scooped out the cat litter.

Pretty much the exact opposite of what I figured I would be doing.

So what happened?

Reality, for one thing. It turns out that if you want to live on a houseboat somewhere in Florida and spend your time goofing off and drinking Plymouth gin martins, you need to have a lot of money. And since I didn't have a lot of money when I was young and single, I was going to have to find a job that would pay me a lot of money. And in order to have a job that paid me a lot of money, I would probably have to spend my time working, and not goofing off and drinking Plymouth gin martinis.

The other thing that happened was I realized that Travis McGee was not a real person. He was a character dreamed up by the late, great John D. MacDonald. So, after a few years, I put away my dream of living on a houseboat somewhere in Florida.

I got married. Later still, Emma came along. And before long, I found that my spare time was often spent waiting for Emma-related events to begin.

I guess the expected thing for me to say now would be that I wouldn't trade the times I spend waiting for Emma-related events to begin for anything, including goofing off on a houseboat somewhere in Florida.

But what wouldn't be true. Sunday, for example, as much as I enjoyed working in the kitchen at Stone's Throw, I would rather have been home watching football.

"But your daughter was in the play. Isn't it more important to watch your daughter in a play?"

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