Posted by: towmasters | April 29, 2009

Towmasters Forum Fan Mail!

I always love it when I get fan mail! It definitely gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling inside to know that someone was touched enough on a personal level by my writing to bother to respond. Usually I simply approve whatever comments I receive and leave it at that. If other readers want to know what was said they can check it out for themselves. But I recently received a comment on last week’s Moron Alert post that was so good that I felt it necessary to share it directly with all our readers.

Here’s the response from “john” that gave me the warm-fuzzy: You fail to mention the fact that there are just as many idiots operating tugs. The towing industry is full of people with less than average intelligence. These are dopes and dullards who got their jobs through the old “family connection”. If your father isn’t in the industry then chances are you won’t get anywhere near a tug job. So look in the mirror asshole.”

D’oh!!! Well, thanks so much for schooling me, john , I really had no clue! To be fair, john’s assertion that there are idiots who operate tugs is absolutely, 100% correct. There have been and always will be. He’s also correct that dopes and dullards have gotten steering jobs, and every other position in the towing industry for that matter, due solely or primarily to nepotism.  It surely cannot honestly be denied. And sometimes these things do in fact result in incompetent people assuming positions that they shouldn’t. This can and does, though quite rarely, lead directly to people being killed or in needless pollution and degradation of the environment, sometimes on a huge scale. But below-average intelligence, if indeed the towing industry is truly “full-off” people meeting that definition, doesn’t necessarily translate into someone being an incompetent seaman. Any more than possessing above-average intelligence guarantees a diligent and superior one. Secondly, education and intelligence are not one and the same. They can, and often do, exist as separate entities. And he’s way off base with the claim that “there are just as many idiots operating tugs” as there are operating pleasure craft. His claim that you won’t get anywhere near a tug job unless you have family connections is also lame and not based on any verifiable facts. While these things do occur, they are the exception not the rule.

Every Ivy League college graduate isn’t an academic superstar and didn’t get there solely by merit. They are often the sons and daughters of alumni. Every doctor isn’t a world-renowned brain surgeon, either. Medical professional make mistakes that kill people every day. There are also crappy airline pilots that just manage to get by. Ditto for lawyers, plumbers, licensed massage therapists and circus clowns. Surely there are even astronauts and Navy SEAL’s that just ever-so-barley made the cut and are privately considered to be losers by their colleagues. From time to time the public is even shocked (shocked!) to discover that some of our politicians are less than forthright and honest, let alone stellar legislators and administrators. And let’s not even get started on the Wall St. Masters of the Universe that have done such a bang-up job lately. In short, every profession has its professional luminaries and embarrassments alike. That’s just part of the human condition and life goes on.

John’s comments have all the hallmarks of someone who tried and failed to get a job steering on tugs. If that’s the case I’d say it’s also very probable that he’s a maritime academy graduate who was surprised and hurt to find that no one was terribly impressed with his educational and experiential resume and didn’t give him the steering job he thought he had coming right away. It could be that it bothered him that someone whom he considered to be intellectually inferior to him was, in fact, his supervisor. He may have been disturbed to find out that he would be expected to actually go out and work on deck with his hands for an indeterminate period of time in order to prove himself before anyone would make the substantial investment of time and effort, and shoulder the personal professional risk to their own career, to train him. He may be a disgruntled engineer, or possibly even someone in the Coast Guard who doesn’t think very highly of any of us. Of course, I’m just guessing since john offered no background information about himself that might have lent his opinion more weight. But it’s an educated guess since we’ve all seen this before, usually many times over. But john, if it makes you feel any better I’ll relate to you that I did go and look in the mirror as you advised. And gosh, wasn’t I surprised to see a sphincter-like image gazing back!

In any case, I personally regret hearing of any incidents of negligence or incompetence in the industry I work in, in my profession as it were, that results in anyone being hurt or killed, or in serious damage to the infrastructure or the environment. The primary reason for this blog’s existence is to disseminate information that will improve the knowledge and professionalism of those working in the towing industry, and considerable time and effort goes into it. I encourage everyone to share their thoughts and opinions, and I won’t edit them unless they clearly are meant to incite acts of violence or promote any of the ism‘s (racism, sexism, ageism, etc.). And even this I do reluctantly. I’m a huge believer in the 1st Ammendment and freedom of expression. PC I ain’t. So if you have any valid constructive criticism that might further the above-stated goal I’ll post it with enthusiasm, even if you want to call me an asshole again too. If you don’t then I suggest you focus your attention elsewhere.

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Responses

  1. Boneheads in the maritime industry? Say it ain’t so.

  2. Well said. I covered most of the bases you hit upon (and I’ll probably unmask myself to someone out there), ex-SUMC, DH for Bronx, Turecamo, McAllister back in the 333 days, and an ‘Ivy-League Grad’ and finally licensed.

    I haven’t steered for 25+ years (except my own boat) and now I’m looking to maybe come back to my roots after a career ashore chartering and operating ships (which I still do).

    58’s no good for decking but I’d still like to steer.

  3. well-said, well-said! and don’t you just love the abuse in the original comment!

  4. […] Towmasters: the Master of Towing Vessels Assoc. Forum has a serious response to the following reader comment in “Towmasters Forum Fan Mail!“. […]


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