Spring is here, which believe it or not, can be bad. Allergies can be unbearable, but there’s something worse about this season…people with boats. I have a few friends who own boats. Although fun, they often force their owners to speak like they’re quoting lines from The Old Man and the Sea.

Two weeks ago my buddy Jake took me out on a Georgia lake. He told me, “Keith, mind the tiller. When we have 2 to 3 fathoms under us, anchor starboard aft.”

I suppressed my imminent brain hemorrhage with my primary defense mechanism: pure sarcasm. “Oh, I’m sorry, Skipper. I don’t understand. If I’m playing the role of petty officer, I’m going to need about five hours with a Jimmy Buffet box set in order to decode what the hell that was you just said.”

I half expected him to say “Yar!” and get upset, so I quickly explained that I can appreciate a healthy vocabulary, but just because we’re on a pontoon doesn’t mean he can’t say, “Keith, help steer to deeper water, then drop the anchor over the back right side.” That’s how he would have said it on solid ground, but Jake apparently thinks his surroundings should dictate his dialect and vernacular. Maybe he’s related to Hillary Clinton. If he were an astronaut, I bet Jake would communicate to Houston in English until he left the atmosphere, at which point he would switch to Klingon.

I admit, though…getting outdoors was a nice getaway. I’m a sports fan, but this time of year is pretty hectic even for my tastes. Every major sport is in action. Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL playoffs, the NFL draft. For me, it’s fun to watch. But it can also be the perfect storm for guys who think everyone gives a crap about their 11 different fantasy teams. Even when you adequately express your lack of interest, they rattle off players faster than they could list the birthdays of three random family members.

That’s where it’s going, though. Sports are big business. Very big. Just look at the NCAA basketball tournament. Every March, people fill out office brackets with more contemplation and scrutiny than they give a quick copyroom fling with a co-worker. And Vegas puts odds on every single team in the NCAA tourney. This past March, the team with the longest odds of winning it all was Jackson State. Their chances…one in 20 sextillion.

One in 20 sextillion?! Not just one sextillion. But twenty! The humiliation had to be aggravating. Besides, I see no need to publicly insult the team by making up words. How many gajillion go into a sextillion? Maybe it was “Take Your Kid to Work Day” for oddsmakers.

“How do you think Jackson State will do, Junior?”
“Um…3, no 4, no wait…twenty um….sex-tillion to one, Daddy! I have to go poopy.”
“Done and done.”

I know. Some of you really intelligent people will tell me, “It’s really a number, Keith. It’s ten to the 21.” Okay, fine. You know that, but the average American does not, including, I assume, casino cashiers and backyard bookies who would need some serious calculating skills if Jackson State won the whole thing.

That would be an interesting situation. March Madness is obviously huge. So are conspiracy theories. If the government could get away with it, they should put money on the biggest underdog next year. Then fix the tournament so that they win, just to wipe out our national debt and even have some cash left over.

We could turn on CNN after the Final Four and watch miraculous history on two fronts: “In sports, Jackson State is your new national basketball champion. Wow, what a huge Cinderella story that was! In other news…the massive national debt unexpectedly disappeared overnight, and now the government enjoys a surplus of…let’s do the math here…72 cents.”

I think that’s a super game plan. Maybe that spare time on the lake cleared my mind a little. This could be a great spring after all. I’m going to take it all in, maybe with a few fathoms of tasty ale. Yar!

Categories: Columns