Building a Boat

Hedrick launches his boat

Two men within a mast length of Rick Hedrick’s homemade 32-foot sailboat have toiled away on their boats for 30 years each. Another for 25 years. Another recently died before his life’s work saw the briny sea.

By comparison, Hedrick, 61, of San Clemente, has practically set a land-speed record. He only had to give up 17 years – working every weekend and two or three nights a week after work to complete his life’s dream. . . .

“Yes, I’m anxious,” Hedrick said last week at the Boat Yard, where men dream of water, sometimes for half their lives. “The only thing I have ever wanted to do is go sailing. But now that I’m here, I’m reflecting on everything. I’ve spent so much of my life here. I haven’t lived a normal life. I’m never home. I’m 61. I wonder, did I pay too great a price?”

No, my friend! The realities of life are much too painful. You anesthetized yourself to them the best way you knew how. There’s a myriad of ways to do it — alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, work, television — and a bunch more that fall under the general heading of Hobbies, including, if you live in a coastal area like me and my friend Hedrick, building a boat.

Take it from me, I’ve tried to take life head on . . . I don’t drink or smoke, don’t watch TV, don’t play golf . . . I spend an inordinate amount of time with my family and oh my God is it painful! I can barely look at my wife for more than about 12 seconds anymore without thinking about killing her for all the damage she’s done to my life.

You did the right thing, Hedrick. Enjoy your fucking boat. I hope you drown.

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