If you should venture out to Arthur Kill and Rossville areas of Staten Island, your eyes will be drawn to a massive amount of rusted boats, sinking slowing into the mud. They’ve been there for… according to my old boss who used to live around there, over sixty years. They one ferried scrap up and down the river from NYC to be melted down in foundries that have long since been demolished to provide the Allies with raw materials needed during WWII.
Nicky and I drove out there with a ill-working GPS system and not much of a plan in order to see these ships. Being the adventurous (read: stupid) one, I went first, trying to stick to logs and solid ground as I crossed what I THOUGHT was dry ground. As I got closer to these ships, I began to sink an inch or so, but not too bad. I found what looked like a patch of solid earth, stood and snapped a few of these shots, and shouted back to Nicky, who was at this point 500’ away, probably laughing because she has this thing where she can see exactly HOW I’m going to screw up.
“SEE! IT’S FINE OUT HERE!” With those famous words, the ground gave way and all of a sudden, I’m huevos deep in the sickest, slimiest, most foul smelling mud in history. Now, I've said stupid things like that before. Around St. Patty's day, like 5 years ago at his point, I built what looked like a RPG-7 rocket launcher that shot little Estes rocket engines pretty accurately. Well, I shot it off the previous night at a... well who cares what I was shooting at- but apparatly, in my quest to want to understand electrical engineering, I fried the switch in the ON position, even though it said OFF. So, I'm kneeling in my driveway with my best friend, his dad, MY dad, Mum, and brothers, all standing around as I'm setting up the rocket launcher to fire again when Jimmy's dad goes, "Hey uh, you sure you know what you're doing?" Being younger and not too bright, I replied, "Artie, I'M the rocket scientist here!" With that, I connected the other lead to the igniter, and the rocket BLEW THE FUCK UP in my hands. I cooked my left middle finger -you should see the scar- my whole left leg, and bruned RIGHT through my favorite pair of blue jeans. Just remember, I'm the rocket scientist here. I hear that about... once a week. Hardy har harrr.
And granted, this was a few months ago and I’m grinning about it now as I sit in my office before going to class and work, sipping Earl Grey tea because I can’t make coffee for shit. But, when you’re all of a sudden up to your waist in mud and can’t move, yeah, you panic.
I bent forward, and crawled and slithered much like a crippled cockroach back to the dry place Nicky was waiting for me. She was cracking up ALL the way back up Arthur Kill Road until a nice old fellow came outside and said that if we wanted to see the boats, just knock on his door and he’ll let us use his deck to get to them.
With his garden hose, I basically showered off on the side of his house, and he gave me a trash bag so I wouldn’t screw up my car’s seats.
We got back to my car, and under the cover of a large beach towel I had stashed in my trunk, stripped down to my undershorts.
I drove home from Staten Island in my boxers.
We’re going back someday, maybe I’ll just get a boat and row the quarter mile from Jersey.
Ah yes, behind every man there's a woman... rolling her eyes.