(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell)
(BOAT HORN. GULLS. MOTOR THROBBING)
A beautiful sight on a June day. A forty-foot sailboat making its way out of harbor, past the breakwater, and hoisting sail and getting underway (CREAKING OF RIGGING) into a fresh breeze. It's the Sea Breeze Cyber Sailboat 2000 from Moby Dave's Boats in Bayfield, Wisconsin, and at the helm is the old master seaman himself, Moby Dave----
TR (OLD SALT): Aye, mate. She's a beauty, ain't she. Twelve-foot beam, drafts five and a half, does up to 20 knots, and it's easy to sail thanks to this onboard computer. You just set the GPS to your destination....and the computer raises and lowers sail, trims the rigging, steers, does everything that needs to be done, and you just sit back and enjoy the ride.
TK (SALT): Aye, captain, that she does.
TR (SALT): Me and me first mate Lucky here --- all we do is slip the floppy into the hard drive and press Control S and she sails. And then when you want to dock her, you press Control D. Just as easy as that.
TK (SALT): Aye, that's right, captain.
GK: Captain Dave, can you hear me there on the Sea Breeze?
TR (SALT): Coming in loud and clear. We got all new electronics here --- got VHF, VHS, GPS, depth sounders, radar and autopilot.
GK: And does the computer work the spinnaker, too?
TR (SALT): The what?
GK: The spinnaker.
TR (SALT): Let me turn that one over to my first mate, Lucky.
TK (SALT): Yessir?
GK: Does the onboard computer handle the spinnaker too?
TK (SALT): Handle the what?
GK: The spinnaker.
TK (SALT): The spinnaker....is that the real big one up in the front? the big billowy one?
TK (SALT): Yep, she handles the spinnaker too. Control SP and it takes care of the spinnaker.
GK: What do you do when you're sailing if there's no sailing necessary?
TK (SALT): Well, we keep everything shipshape. Keep the ropes coiled. Swab the desks.
GK: The desks?
TK (SALT): Those too. And we drink a lot of beer. And we wave to other boats. There's one right now---- HEY! (CRY OF ALARM. SPLASH)
TR (SALT): That was Lucky. He fell overboard.
GK: What do you do now?
TR SALT: Simple. I just press "Save."
(MORE SPLASHING, CRIES FROM LUCKY)
GK: I don't think it worked, Captain.
TR SALT: Better check the manual.
GK: Try E. For emergency.
TR (SALT): Here. E--- E-mail. Detaching e-mail. Reading e-mail. Saving copies of. Exit. No, that's not it.
GK: Maybe it's under R. Rescue.
TR (SALT): Let me see. Read-only files. Reconnect. Recording macros. Recovering documents. Reducing.....Reference...Removing Borders. Removing Menus. Repeating, Replacing---Here it is. Rescue. Control R. R! (BEEPS) There. See how nice she comes about. Turns on a dime.
GK: You see Lucky?
TR (SALT): Nope. Don't see him yet. Oh, there he is. No problem. We'll get him aboard here in just a moment. (RESCUE GOES ON UNDER.....)
GK: It's the Sea Breeze Cyber Sailboat, with onboard state-of-the-art Weather Based Sailing Program that does everything with simple keystrokes. And all you need to do is hang out on deck and look good. Put your hand on the stays, hold the tiller, let the wind blow through your hair. You got him aboard now, Captain Dave?
TR (SALT): Aye. No problem.
GK: That's the motto of the Sea Breeze Cyber Sailboat. No problem. The onboard computer does it all....it calculates wind vectors, Total Wind Speed, it tacks, handles the spinnaker, the jib, the tiller, it brings you safely into dock.
TR (SALT): Control D, Lucky! Control D! Here comes the dock!
TK (SALT): Aye aye, Captain! Control D! (CRUNCH, WOOD BREAKAGE, CREAKING, SCRAPING)--- Ready to dock, Captain.
GK: The Sea Breeze Cyber Sailboat.....there's nothing to it once you get the hang of it. (MUSIC BUTTON)
(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor