Thursday, September 21, 2006


When I was a kid, my dad was invited by some work-mates to enter a "crazy boat race." The main rule for the race was that the vessel had to be human powered. Their craft was crappy and they ended up sinking. But my dad thought that he'd enter the next year's race with a craft of his own and he invited his friends to be his team.

The H.M.C.S. Fog-Ducker and its hearty crew in action along
the beautiful but unforgiving rocky shores of the Credit River!

My dad approached a local liberal candidate for sponsorship (I think the guy coughed up 200 clams) and hired a welder to build the craft out of oil drums. My dad designed it to look something like a submarine with pontoons on the side for stability. He painted it up and put the liberal candidate's name on it. I don't know if this guy had any idea that he'd be sponsoring a boat called the Fog-Ducker. At that time, being a kid, I just thought it was called that because, being like a submarine, it could literally duck the fog.

My dad had team "I'm With Stupid" t-shirts made for his crew, designating himself as "Stupid" and entered the H.M.C.S. Fog-Ducker into the race. The competition was fierce. The Fog-Ducker was up against a floating army jeep complete with working water-cannon, a giant floating mousetrap, some stupid toilet raft which sunk right away, and about 50 other boats (as far as I can remember). The Fog-Ducker was perfectly designed and easily took first-place and won the coveted trophy.

When they got home, they had a party and decided to phone the local newspaper "The Banner" to see if they wanted the story. They bit and the H.M.C.S. Fog-Ducker and its crew were featured front-page. I imagine that the editor of The Banner thought that it was called the Fog-Ducker because it could literally duck the fog.

The proud winners stand for their newspaper
photo-op. The anchor-man, Gary Luker (far right)
actually broke his leg climbing into the Fog-Ducker
for this photo. He stood on it for 10 seconds and
then had to be taken to the hospital.

The following year, my father had entered the vessel into another crazy river race. Unfortunately, this river was deadly with crippling rapids and a couple of drastic drops. The H.M.C.S. Fog-Ducker buckled and collapsed into a crumpled heap of scrap, killing all crew but my father who was dragged half-drowned, but alive!, to shore by a kind beaver. The television show "Real People" had actually filmed that year's race and everyone got together for a party to watch and see if the deadly crash or even a glimps of the Fog-Ducker made it to telelvision. It was not to be as the producers of the show knew that the name Fog-Ducker had nothing to do with being able to duck the fog.

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