Monday, August 18, 2008


Life was desperate in rural Holland. As far as he could remember, the poor little Dutch boy could remember nothing but hardships. Food was scarce, his father was abusive, and there was nothing to do after school but chores.
Every day was another hardship.
The boy loved to dive from the windmill into the canal, but his father hated to find that he had skipped out on his chores.
Whenever he returned, his father would beat him.
However, if he didn't skip out, his father would find a reason to beat him anyhow.
Life was nothing but hardships, except for the secret escapes to practice diving from the windmill.

Eventually the boy, now in his late teens, heard of a great contest in far-away China.
The best divers in the world, along with the best of everything else would meet to decide who was REALLY the best.
It would be the perfect escape from the hardships of his mundane life.
He runs away from home, sneaks aboard a freighter in Rotterdam and waits.
No good.
Of course, he is discovered.
Beaten by the crew, bloody, he is sent home to his unimpressed father, who finds new hardships for him to endure.

A better story-teller than I could tell you of his next four or five attempts to get to the Beijing games, each of which failed, yielding nothing but ever more painful hardships.
The poor little Dutch boy stoically endured each of them, persevering and enduring.

Eventually, he stows away in a cruise liner heading for the orient.
He isn't found until four days out at sea.
The captain has the discretion of calling for a chopper to take him back to the Netherlands, or to let him continue the trip and let immigration in China deal with the problem.
The captain listens to the boy describing how he's been doing difficult dives all his life, and how demonstrating the perfection he's developed to the rest of the world in China is his only chance to escape from the hardships of his normal life.

The captain decides to let the boy demonstrate his abilities.
If the boy can execute a perfect dive from the top of the radar mast, he can continue to the Olympics.
So, the radar is turned off, and the boy climbs the hundred feet to the top of the radar mast. He looks down.
He has never dived from a ship before.
The gentle sway of the ship is magnified by the height of the radar mast.
He didn't expect this.
Looking down, he sees ...
Pool, deck, sea, deck, pool, deck, sea, deck, pool...
He jumps! ...
And misses!
He crashes right THROUGH the deck!
Everyone runs for the stairs to see if he's OK.
There's a splintered hole in the B deck.
Even the metal decks of the C, D, and E decks have been burst.
They find the body crumpled against the very hull itself, and even that is dented.

Everyone is astonished when he sits up, dazed, but apparently unhurt.
The captain, horrified and apologetic, rushes forward.
"My goodness! I never should have asked you to try that! Are you OK? "

The boy shakes his head and answers:
"That's OK. I'm used to it. I've been through many
HARD SHIPS before."

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