Fat Daddy’s Submarine Test, Date TBD

by Fat Daddy, Esq. on August 16, 2012

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John Mayer’s new album, Born and Raised, contains a song that has already become one of my all-time favorite songs. Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967 tells the tale of a man who wants to escape to a new world and after much study and tinkering finds himself alone in the ocean in a “homemade, fan blade, one-man submarine ride.”

The main problem I have with the song is the “one-man” size of the vessel. If I built a getaway ship, it would seat five. I love the idea of having location independent work and exploring the world with my family. While I love my country and have been to many wonderful locations stateside, I think we sometimes forget that there is more out there than “sea to shining sea.”

As I plan my future, futile as it may seem to plan for the unknown, I struggle with my desire to leave it all behind and my desire to be an upstanding citizen. I am a raging dichotomy. I want to pick up and circumnavigate the globe. I want to sit on my couch at home. I want my kids to know there is more to see in the world than our small town. I want them to appreciate the benefits of small town living.

Then there are the anchors that weigh at my dreams. Debt, work, commitment, responsibility. I’m not looking for sympathy, we all deal with similar issues. These are just obstacles that must be tackled before we can throw off the bowlines and sail away from the safe harbor. For now, I think the best we can muster is short trips away followed by months of working and dreaming of the next escape. You know, a typical existence.

I recently spent a week in Mexico with Hot Mama, sans Things³. We had a wonderfully relaxing and romantic time. There was no shortage of food or drink; responsibilities were scarce. I did learn that she is much more adept at doing nothing, as I had difficulty letting myself just lay by the sea while she joyfully lounged.  Now that I am back in reality, I long for being back there wasting away by the water.

To me, the song implies Walt made a safe landing in Tokyo, with his wife and kids left behind. We don’t know whether he settled down for a life filled with sushi and geisha, if he continued on to other lands, or if he hopped in his boat and headed back towards his place of departure. I like to think he returned home, satisfied that safety of the crew is not a concern with his designs, and went to work on version 2.0 with more seats.

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