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I was reading a review for the new Edward Norton-Colin Farrell movie “Pride and Glory” and saw that Edward Norton’s character, a thoughtful, sensitive cop still recovering from a shooting incident, lived on a boat.

Earlier, I read the New York Times article today about laid-off finance types having a rough time of it. I think that’s why the idea of living on a boat struck me on such a level today, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Culturally, nothing in popular culture screams “underachieving adult male not constrained by the system” like living on a houseboat. And now, with the economy going in the tank, I thought I would try to revive the idea again.

Not that the idea was ever that popular in real life in the first place. But you know, once the spreading of the wealth begins, a lot of poor Joe the Plumber types are just not going to be able to afford their boats anymore. So there may be many a yacht on the market. Latrell Sprewell, as always, a man ahead of his time, already had to give up his boat due to worsening market conditions (he couldn’t get to the rim anymore).

Really, in these hard economic times, what says “Sure, I am doing bad, but you know what…I need not such material possessions to weigh me down and I can sail across the ocean at a moment’s notice” like a living on a boat? That you’re a man who understands the fleeting nature of life and that dropping anchor can always be reversed. That you’re tethered to society, but that it wouldn’t take you that long to set yourself free.

It’s also a way to tell the world that the world has given you lemons, and in return you tell the world, “Suck these lemons, world! I’m going to go live on a boat!” (ex. “Footsteps” Shane Falco in “The Replacements”, who responded to a college bowl beatdown by moving on to a boat and scrubbing barnacles, instead of just collecting an NFL paycheck to ride the bench like Troy Smith.)

Or that you’re a man with a special gift that no amount of land can hold down, and therefore, you must live on a boat. (ex. Leon Phelps, a/k/a The Ladies’ Man, who handled much of his business on his boat. )

A houseboat is also equipped for the detectives who are great at solving crimes, but just can’t totally commit to staying on land 24-7. ( ex. Private detectives Cody Allen, Nick Ryder, and Murray ‘Boz’ Bozinsky from the ’80s series Riptide. )

These are just a couple of prime examples. Whatever your reasoning, now I think, is the time for the man who lives on a boat to make a comeback. It’s a brave new world in these times of economic crisis, and what better way to find your place in it than by boat? At least that’s what popular culture tells us.


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