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P.O. Box 925516
Houston, Texas
77292-5516



The Houston Canoe Club 

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HomeNL-2017-01 Ask the Paddler

Ask the Paddler
January 2017

Readers write in for guidance from the Paddler

Dear Paddler, My husband has bored a decent-sized hole in my canoe, suspended from the garage ceiling, under the impression he was crimping one of my lifelong pursuits. Most Saturday mornings I would strap the canoe onto the top of the car, park the car at the airport, and fly to Austin for a day’s activities unrelated to canoeing. (E.g., of the extramarital variety, one of my lifelong pursuits. By examining my paddle carefully – it has never touched water and still has the label - he may have sleuthed me out.) I dislike this level of vindictiveness coming out of my partner. Should I bust his bubble by revealing he has bored a hole in a prop? - Marooned in Memorial.

Dear Marooned, You place me in a delicate position because of the many avid readers of this column, who demand that I always say the first things first. So: what a horrible thing to do to a good canoe! The readers also might have me say that you are a despicable poser - leaving the craft marooned at the airport instead of getting it out on the water. But as to your actual question, I don’t think you should taunt him about his ineffectual retaliatory act. And a hole of this kind can usually be patched up, if not as good as new, then at least adequate to go some further distance if great care is taken to avoid all rocky spots and snags. (And it is not only the unscrupulous that present the patched-up result as sound to all the world afterwards, and others buy it.) But as to the marriage, I would say, if you are going to continue using the very same level of candor with your husband, Kevlar is worth your consideration, to keep your marriage afloat. - The Paddler


Dear Paddler, I am a part-time employee at the City of San Marcos Lions Club Tube Rental (Little-known fact, this started out as a different business, lion rentals, run by a predecessor club, the Tube Club, but a number of things went wrong with the rental of live lions to children’s parties - lions escaping, or not being returned on time - so the club transitioned to a national club affiliation and thought up the idea of renting inner tubes, since their building was located right next to a river. Please forgive this digression.) I’m also an accomplished scuba diver. My question is this. There is a little waterfall not far below the tube rental (“Spring Lake Dam”) where kayakers and canoeists turn over and dump out, after mistaking churning froth for supportive water. In the vortex beneath that first waterfall there’s a kind of a hole where hundreds of pairs of prescription eyeglasses collect. (Another digression, many Lions Clubbers believe that in the future the San Marcos River will be mined for its aluminum deposits, in a stratum compacted from eons of beer cans.) Can the Lions Club hierarchy force me to give up all these pairs of eyeglasses so that they can ship them to Honduras, or other some other needy place? They have threatened to fire me if I don’t. I’m the one who found them. I live near the take-out, and I’ve contrived to hang the glasses in a tree in my front yard as a gleaming artwork. I eventually want to be some sort of artist-scuba diver-entrepreneur-lion tamer. (I forgot to tell you that the club still has most of the lions, in the back of their building.) - Quarrying Glasses in San Marcos

Dear Lions’ Prey, The Paddler thinks it is very admirable that you are wishing to make your way forward in life is some sort of hybridized, multi-skillset, self-designed profession, rather than saying, “I’ll become a [fill in the blank - Lawyer or Hedge Fund Billionaire or Psychologist or Charlatan].” My father urged that I and all of my siblings should look closely at where the future was going and custom-design an interesting way of fitting into it. As with so much advice from parents, this had limited effect: I became the Paddler, and my various siblings became psychologists and charlatans, rather than say, inventing a career built on studying virus vectors as they relate to the chemical composition of pigments in Old Masters’ paintings. Ah well. I believe the Lions Club is being overly aggressive and myopic. The eyeglasses you found are yours, unless someone who lost a pair can definitively prove superior title. The tree is an artful idea, allowing the original owners to blunder over to the tree, squint at the whole creation, and possibly retrieve their lost pair. The Paddler has nothing against Honduras nor indeed any nation living in poverty and violence in the aftermath of being the special pet of the United States as a base for regional wars. It seems to me that the Lions Club could open an optometrist shop below that greedy waterfall and then send the profits to Honduras. This would enable them to still feel good about themselves, those public serving, money hungry, waiver-waving Lions. By the way - what sort of civic boosters would name themselves the “Tube Club” anyway? Or were these the same visionaries who supported creation of a San Marcos subway in the ‘40s - a combined underground rail system and cageless zoo for apex predators? Which never came to pass, unfortunately. - The Paddler