He hands his driver’s license over and they check it against a list of names before nodding solemnly: he’s allowed to rent the rowboat.
We load our vessel up with fishing poles and bait, towels, water, snacks. Flip flops, sunscreen, more towels. (You can never have too many.)
We spend an hour casting and casting, not catching a thing. The kids whine that his bait is bigger, that the worm is dead, that the worm is ALIVE AND THE WHOLE BAIT BUCKET SPILLED HELP, that it’s hot and I’m thirsty and can we go swimming now?
We get stuck in the seaweed on our way back to shore. There are tense moments when we are completely swamped at the edge of the lake, out of snacks and wryly observing the fuzzy green goose poop floating our way.
Finally! At long last! We’re free. We are all too melty and miserable to pretend we like fishing anymore, so we slip our feet into the water. Bear revs the engine. The kids rock the boat from side to side, only gently flailing because they’re convinced it will capsize. Bear rams his weight to one side and then the other. We squeal with delight, sure we’re about to flip. Again, again! All of us belly laugh for the first time that afternoon.
The lifeguards yell from shore for us to stop.
We keep shifting back and forth, not quite stopping, because COME ON IT’S A SLIGHTLY PUMPED UP ROWBOAT WHERE’S THE HARM.
Except um. Returning the boat takes an unusually long time. Bear is ultra-quiet on the walk back to the car.
He slips me a sign as we start driving: 2 fingers, then 5. I give him the raised eyebrow.
“Twenty-five dollars? We were FINED?”
::mumbles:: “And we were added to the list.”
“The Rowboat Watch List?”
“We’ll be warned if we rent a boat there again.”
::cue laughter of epic, falling down on the ground and crying proportions on my part::
REALLY THIS IS A REAL THING THERE’S A ROWBOAT WATCH LIST.
When they took Bear’s driver’s license and scanned it against the enormous list in the back of the rental shed, they were checking for his rowboat…terror potential.
Excessive rockers, foot danglers, speed demons, capsizing individuals, those unfortunate souls who get stuck in the seaweed: all on the list.
This is wonderful, it’s like we had to pay a Ruffian Tax! I’m thrilled. (And I gave Bear $25 so I could tell this story to all of you.)
I encourage you to get put on every Rowboat Watch List possible.
Pay all the Ruffian Taxes you can find.
Ruffian Taxes are meant to keep you from (literally) rocking the boat, causing any sort of trouble, or having any even-slightly-outside-the-rules fun. Pay them gladly, then do whatever the fuck makes you heart open so wide it hurts.
In business, that might mean that you swear as frequently in your business as you do in real life, or let out your weird, or make inappropriate analogies of all kinds to get your point across. It might mean you say “fuck productivity” or make space for more time away from your laptop in the name of bringing your most brilliant work to the world.
Being added to the Rowboat Watch List in business means that you go your own way. (And yes, that’s a link to my book of the same name, which is totally free. Peeps have called it the best business book they’ve ever read — probably because it’s the first business book that didn’t put them to sleep by page 23.)
Please please please sweetly, softly, and relentlessly pursue your truth.
Let the lifeguards yell from shore: that’s not allowed! That’s inappropriate! You aren’t behaving like everyone else!
Sometimes you’ll be fined. Sometimes you’ll be banned from the facility.
This is the cost, and I hope you pay it every freaking time. Because being on the Rowboat Watch List — whether on the weekend or in business — means you’ll always have the biggest belly laughs and the most fun.
With all my love –
P.S. If you’re the one who’s always getting called out, shut down, or screamed at from shore? You’re probably magic. Magic often feels like broken, and M-School helps you bring your magical nature to business in practical, everyday ways.