O. Old Wives' Tales

A-Z: Our 30 day mission: to bring you a tasty boat life tidbit of the day, washed down with a shot of snarky slang. Boat.Life.Larks.

I’ve decided to test the “cardboard attracts cockroaches and other unmentionables like rum attracts sailors” old wives' tale. Are the wives off their rockers?

As I approached the UPS store to pick up our packages, I knew something was different. The friendly proprietors, Fred and Mary, were impaled against the glass, pressed on all sides by boxes! I called the Jaws of Life and we were able to get them out. They were hungry, tired, and dehydrated, and kept saying, “Hate the Lucy...she said just one package, then just one more, red-rum, red-rum!"

It was a little frightening, but they got carted off. The nice man in a white suit said they were going to a resort! Fun! I picked through the broken glass and blood, and packed the car with packages. They were everywhere! In the bathroom, in the attic, stacked on top of an old lady who couldn't remember why she was there.

So many packages, such a little car. Oh my giddy aunt! Looks like Hastings and Matt will have to ride on the roof like I'm Mitt Romney. (too soon?)

The boxes then proceeded into a dock cart and down the dock, passed the three dog boat. The dogs go bat-shit crazy, like a terrorist is on the loose. (but its THEM that's doing the terrorizing!) Their humans screamed at them, making the dogs have to bark louder. I awkwardly waved. Then I piled all these boxes in the guest cabin, since even when we have guests, they say, “No thanks, the hookers and blow motel is where I'll be staying”.

Now, here we are, surrounded by boxes. According to crazy sailor lore, our boat will immediately be overrun by rats and cockroaches because rodents and bugs LOVE cardboard. It's like crack cocaine and they will swim against a 7 knot current from 6,000 miles away to get just a whiff of sweet, sweet cardboard glue. Now, I don't actually believe this. I think sailors make things up to make themselves look cool. Why else would they give rope 65 different names? Why call it a luff instead of the front edge of the sail? (Or is the front bit the leech? Damn it!) It's to make other people think they are cool.

Of course, if they are right, at least you will have an explanation for why Independence has become a rat-ship, and Matt's and my bones are bleaching in the sun, and there's just a shredded part of a label on board: ATTN: LUCY.

(P.S. Matt is very diligent about boxes on board. He’ll throw out the boxes at the post office. Brownie mix is put into ziplocks, etc. The only problem is when we need to send something back, there are no boxes. And I roll my eyes.)

Have you ever proved or disproved an old wives' tale? Do you have a favorite? 

Daily Dictionary 

  • off your rocker: crazy
  • oh my giddy aunt!:  oh my goodness!
  • old wive’s tale: old wives apparently come up with all sorts of interesting things that may or may not be based in reality
  • on your bike!: go away!

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  1. I think this might be the funniest one so far! I try to remove cardboard, or at least get rid of it right away as soon as I unpack the latest goodies that Amazon and Defender have delivered. But, I think cockroaches will find a way onboard no matter what, if they really want to. And they want to. I've watched them swim up through my drains from the thru hulls. Icky. I squash them dead before they make it very far and always keep stoppers in the sinks when not in use now.

    Cheers - Ellen

    1. Oh, wow, swimming through the thru hulls? We've always had bugs on previous boats, but so far we have been lucky on Independence. Maybe Matt's paranoid cardboard banishment is doing the trick. Sometimes, I'll hear a noise and be convinced my nightmares are coming true: A rat onboard, ready to drop through the hatch onto my bed! That will be the last day of boating for me! -Lucy

  2. I know I keep saying this but "on your bike" really is my favourite British Slang. Being married to a Yorkshireman we say that a lot around here along with y'raight, luv?, aye not so bad and eee by gum.



    1. On your bike is my brothers favorite too! At least, he says it a lot! - Lucy

  3. I love all these sayings :D :D I do hoard boxes, but so far have not had rodents in the house, so that's good...

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary

    1. Rodents are a big fear of mine! I think boxes in houses seem to be OK - it's the fact that we leave our doors and windows open on the boat that opens us up to problems!


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