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Ask Izzy #3: Sailing Solo

September 9, 2009 – 11:12 pmNo Comment

Dear Izzy,

My young adolescent daughter is a member of youth sailing club.  Recently she has expressed an interest in becoming the youngest ever solo yachtsperson to circumnavigate the globe.  I feel like I need to be encouraging and supportive of my daughter’s noble ambition.  However, as a parent (particularly a Jewish parent), I can’t help but be concerned of the dangers that would confront my daughter should she actually undertake this awesome journey.  My wife is even more concerned than I am, and she wants me to have to talk with our daughter to discourage her (although it must be said that my wife so far refuses to do this herself).  I am hesitant to do this, as discouraging my child’s ambition seems wrong to me. I was hoping you might have some advice.


Unsure Parent, Maroubra, NSW.



Unsure Parent,

What a meshugaas! To me this whole ‘sailing around the world’ thing is no important achievement.  Once upon it time it might have been a big deal to sail around the world.  A century ago, such a voyage could have led to an important geographic discovery, such as an unknown holiday destination, like Bali or Penang.  But these days, what’s the point?  If I want to travel around the globe, I call up my travel agent Morry Feinschtein and ask him to book me a round-the-world ticket on Singapore Airlines.

You must be crazy to even consider letting your cdaughter go off around the world on a little boat by herself.  There’s a term for the joy that a parent feels upon seeing their child sail off by themselves onto the open sees, knowing they won’t see them again for more than a year – if ever. And that term is goyishe naches.

Sure, it’s not the same type of goyishe naches that comes from shooting a deer and tying it to the bonnet of your pickup truck, or having its head stuffed and mounted onto the wall of your lounge-room.  It’s not even quite the same as the type of goyishe naches that comes from competing in motorsport, bungee jumping, setting a record for eating more hotdogs than anyone else, owning an extremely loud hi-fi, or drinking two dozen bottles of beer in less than an hour.  No, this is more like the goyishe naches that comes from one’s child endangering their life in order to climb to the top of Mt Everest. Oy vey, don’t get me started on that one.

Real naches does not come from any of these meshugah activities – it comes from seeing your child accepted into medical school.  Now that’s real Yiddishe naches!  Such naches can perhaps only be surpassed by one thing – and that of course is when your child graduates from medical school.  Halevai!

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