Blog: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Burt Ross

Now I don’t know about you, but every once in a while, I read something in the newspaper and fear I’m not of this world, that I have completely lost it, assuming I ever had it.

Last week I was minding my own business when I came across an article which aroused my curiosity. A 21 year old woman named Jasmine Harrison became the youngest woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Ms. Harrison rowed from Spain to Antigua—about 3,000 miles. It took her 70 days. She alternated between rowing for 2 hours and sleeping for 2 hours. I need a minimum of 7 hours straight sleep, so I guess I won’t be rowing across the ocean any time soon.

This rowing expedition is part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. I knew whisky (the Brits omit the “e” in whiskey) somehow had to be involved with this escapade.  Each year men and women sign up to do this-some as pairs and others alone.  I assume that all the participants consume large amounts of Talisker single malt before they enroll.  Ms. Harrison is a part-time bartender which explains everything.

Jasmine called the experience “everything I wanted it to be.” Those are her words and not mine.  Ms. Harrison went on to say, “There is nothing like it, actually getting away from everything—social media, bad news, from literally everything.” You would think there are infinitely easier ways of getting away, but if Jasmine needs to row across the ocean to get away, so be it. The article points out that the young lass from Great Britain only capsized twice. Again the choice of the word “only” is not mine.

I would venture to guess that young Jasmine is not a member of my tribe.  Can you imagine any Jewish mother allowing their offspring to row across the Atlantic Ocean? Just imagine for a moment that you are sitting in your home at the breakfast table when your daughter says she would like to get away from it all by rowing across the ocean. I bet you would have that kid at the shrink’s office before the sunset. We have a Yiddish word for this kind of behavior and for the people who engage in it—”meshuganah.”