Laura Dekker at 16 vs. Jill Kushner at 16

At 16 years old, Laura Dekker has become the youngest sailor to complete a solo circumnavigation of the world. This is causing me concern on two levels.  Did I not do my 16 year-old self right and what’s circumnavigation?  Certainly, it’s around the world.  But is circumnavigation something more than that?  Did she remove the foreskin of a Carp while she was out there?  Talk to me, Google.  Talk to me, Google. (That previous line should be uttered just as Maverick uttered: “Talk to me, Goose.  Talk to me, Goose.”)  “Circumnavigation: To go completely around (as the earth) especially by water.”  Thanks, Lady Merriam-Webster!  I don’t know that Merriam is like Miriam, but I want it to be. I’ve always pictured that Webster is just one lady, Merriam Webster, who knows so so much.  And she hyphenates her name for previous marriage reasons. (Writer’s note: Of course, I Googled this and sadly it is not the case. I will say, if a Genie presented herself to me right now and gave me 3 wishes, all 3 of those wishes would be that Merriam-Webster was one really cool smart lady. Some might encourage me to rethink using all 3 of my wishes on this one thing. In retrospect, I would not blame them.)

When I was 16 …

The day-into-night before my SATs, I drank 11 ½ cans of Busch Beer.  I got a 680 on my SATs.  Combined.  Obviously I retook them, but let’s stay with this for a sec.  I was so sick, went to the doctor and it turns out I had salmonella poisoning.  I told my doctor I was absolutely convinced that it was from the Busch beer.  He told me that while he couldn’t promise me that it was not from beer, he doubted that it was from beer.  I’ve always been an honorary doctor (read: hypochondriac and Jewish), so til this day, I know he was wrong.

When my parents were away (and before I turned 16), I would occasionally sneak my parents’ car out for a ride around the neighborhood.  You know … circumnavigation.  I nicknamed their Buick “The Tank” because of the handful of parked cars that I hit while I was circumnavigating the neighborhood.

The day I got my driver’s license, I drove home and my mom was in the passenger seat. When I pulled into our driveway, the rest of my family was watching from the kitchen window. I proceeded to accidentally hit all of our trash cans that were lined up at the top of the driveway.  I was furious – slammed the car door, the house door and my bedroom door.  If I may, Laura Dekker didn’t have to worry about hitting trash cans (or parked cars) out there at sea, so in my opinion, she had it pretty easy.

I went to summer school for Algebra 2.  That might’ve been when I was 14 or 15.  I don’t know as I’ve blocked out all math-related memories like some people block out memories of crime scenes.

I had a Queen size water bed.  I didn’t lose my virginity in high school, but having a Queen size water bed in your junior year likely sends a message.  Or perhaps I just wanted to get a feel for the ocean incase I were to ever circumnavigate the globe.  How cool would it be to go around the globe, but instead of on a sailboat, on a waterbed? Very meta.

I was really good at Beer Bongs.

My Sweet 16 invitation was mocked up to look like a Trivial Pursuit card.  Laura Dekker might know about tides, but who’s to say she could come up with the idea to have a Sweet 16 party invitation that looks like a Trivial Pursuit card!?

I just had to ask my sister who I went to Junior Prom with.  So I’m sure that was a very significant evening.

I guess there’s all kinds of different ways of spending your junior year of high school.  And you have to do you, you know?  Look, to be perfectly honest, I doubt the thought of going around the world on a boat ever crossed my mind. Whether I was with anyone or by myself.  Maybe it’s because I get sea sick.  Maybe it’s because I don’t like fish touching me.  And there’s a good chance this would happen if I sailed around the world.  I’d probably have to catch a fish to eat it, likely having to touch said fish in the process. Or perhaps I’d go for a swim and a minnow would swim by and touch my knee!  No f’n way, dude.  There’s actually something called a Nettle Free Pool.  I know this because my parents have always had boats (power not sail, baby!) and my dad got me one of these so I could swim without being “inappropriately” touched, even though its real use is to keep jellyfish out.  They are real jerks.

In conclusion, surprisingly, my Laura Dekker vs Jill Kushner analysis has proven to show more similarities than differences between the two of us!  (Another writer’s note:  Shhhh … let me have this one.  Just nod your head and agree with me.)

Image of Laura Dekker via

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