By now you have all probably heard the tale of 16-year-old Abby Sunderland, whose quest to be the youngest person to circumnavigate the Earth was derailed last week by a fierce storm in the Indian Ocean. And you have also probably heard the predictable media backlash, criticizing Abby and, more pointedly, her parents for what they deem to be a dangerous and fool-hardy quest.
To all those critics out there, self-righteously arm-chair parenting from afar, I say to you: “Shut the fuck up! And worry a little more about getting little Bobby off those oxycontins.”
I think Abby is kick-ass! From everything I’ve heard and read about this kid, she seems remarkably capable. She was able to survive the 30-ft waves that ultimately took down her mast because she apparently really knows what she is doing. Meanwhile, most 30- and 40- somethings shouldn’t even be allowed to drive cars: I’ve seen you assholes putting on your makeup and/or shaving during your morning commute, all while reading the paper and texting. I’m not one to necessarily equate advancing age with sound judgement or capability. So there.
And as far as allowing a 16-year-old girl to be in such a dangerous situation goes, I would argue that there are plenty more perilous predicaments the average teenager faces throughout the course of high school. Maybe I’m the crazy one, but if I were a 16-year-old girl, I think I’d take my chances on a sailboat in the middle of the Indian Ocean, instead of in some rapey lacrosse player’s car.
Personally, I don’t understand the desire for this kind of adventure, or risk-taking: I won’t ever get on a motorcycle or into a helicopter, and I tend to drive the speed limit. But this kid is really into sailing; it is what she loves to do. Of course having a passion to paint seascapes is infinitely safer than actually sailing them. Whatever winds your clock, or, in this case, floats your boat.
So good for you, Abby. You seems like a nice, sweet kid, and are probably too polite to tell your critics where they can go and stick your broken mast.