A Sea Story- Guest Blogger- Apass Enger

Some years ago there was a young man who had a great interest in the sea. After graduation from a Naval Training Academy he was taken under the guidance of a seasoned captain who had him work with young recruits. He soon began to see that the captain under whom he was serving had some weaknesses and did not run the boat like he thought it should be run. So the young officer obtained some investors to help him get a boat of his own. It was only a borrowed small passenger ship but the young man had talent and dreams. He had a God given gift for remembering names and before long more passengers wanted to ride in his ship than there was room.


More passengers meant the need for a bigger ship. The new captain had a brilliant insight. He could buy an old freighter and convert it into a passenger liner. The ship did not look like a typical passenger liner but that became a matter of pride for the new captain and the passengers enjoyed telling tails of the old freighter, now a passenger ship. God had gifted Ubercaptain with an ability to make people like him and “Awe Shucks” he really enjoyed the complements that other captains paid to him. A few times he wanted to buy a new ship and tried to get investors to go along, but each time some other old boat came along that he could buy for a good price and refurbish. Raising money and putting programs in place was natural for him. Boy was he good at persuading people.


Ubercaptain built a strong staff to help him run the ship. At each step he was very careful to pick men that admired him and would not take exception to his way of running the ship. He even decided to offer to teach other young men from different passenger line companies how to be a leader like him. He loved the attention. Speaking at seafaring conferences was a kick for him and provided a means to sell his books.


Though every now and then he would make a mistake, it was quickly remedied as discreetly as possible. The one thing UberCaptain feared the most was adverse publicity. Once when he returned from a long vacation he found there had been a mutiny of sorts. Some of the most seasoned board members had discovered the make believe man he had become. They saw through the pretense he wanted passengers to think was reality. He cried, he pleaded he would change, and then quickly got back in command and had the mutinous individual thrown overboard.


On another occasion he hired a fellow named Entertainer for the liner that passengers started to really like. Passengers started chanting, “UberCaptain has talked to 1000’s but Entertainer has sung to 10,000’s”. UberCaptain could not stand the competition and decided to fire Entertainer. But Entertainer saw the Ubercaptain for who he had become. Entertainer said, “UberCaptain when are you going to stop high-fiving the passengers and start loving them.” A bunch of the passengers still talk about it but would never mention it to UberCaptain. They have seen what it looks like when people get thrown overboard. One who knows Ubercaptain very well said “Ubercaptain knows how to work a crowd of 300. He can remember everyone’s name but he is very shallow.” But shallow or not he has almost always gotten his way.


Some years ago Ubercaptain made one of his proudest hires. Unlike Entertainer, who stole the limelight, First Mate was someone he could work with. He was like a fourth son. The two of them bonded and Ubercaptain encouraged First Mate to write books and gave him charge of all the junior passengers. First Mate was bright and more importantly knew how to give praise to Ubercaptain. The two of them formed a pact. Ubercaptain got credit for First Mate’s success and Ubercaptain provided a shield for First Mate’s failures. Together they presented a flawless image to the world even though some of their own passengers hurried to get off the ship as quickly as possible.


One day First Mate found a new helper that really lightened his load so he could spend more time writing books. First Mate introduced New Helper around the ship and gave him the keys to every compartment. Unfortunately New Helper was not as skilled as Ubercaptain or First Mate in getting rid of bodies and one night enough blood leaked in the water that the Coast Guard took notice. Fortunately for Ubercaptain he was on another cruise ship offering up his wisdom and expertise to unknowing souls at the time of the inquiry. First Mate professed innocence. How could he or anyone be to blame for the actions of New Helper? Certainly Ubercaptain could not take responsibility. Everyone but New Helper was perfect. Steps were taken to manage the media and anyone that would point a finger at either of them was silenced. Together they pronounced the business sound and unscathed.


Several years went past and Ubercaptain and First Mate invited sea captains from around the country to come aboard and see their latest work. People came and were wowed. Marketing for First Mates new books swung into full production and Ubercaptain loved the limelight. He traveled the world at business expense basking in his own glow. He was proud as a new father that First Mate was being interviewed by “Focus on the Ship.”


Then out of the blue a group of passengers dared to ask questions why Ubercaptain and First Mate were immune to the normal rules of the sea. Every effort was made to toss these unruly passengers over board, discredit their reputation and make sure they were never able to ride on another passenger ship. A hand picked committee was put in place to provide complete exoneration.


The committee found the perfection they were asked to find. Unfortunately Ubercaptain and First Mate forgot that God is omniscient. They forgot that they had both been called to lead their passengers to heaven and that those passenger that they thought they had put safely in Davy Jones Locker were somehow alive and well. And then out came the truth. What Ubercaptain and First Mate thought would be their glory years turned into years of rotting decay.


Other ship captains remarked that if only either Ubercaptain or First Mate had ever asked for forgiveness it would have been granted by men and God. Instead, a dead freighter that had once been transformed into a passenger liner sits abandoned on jagged rocks because Ubercaptain took his eye off the buoy markers and instead followed the reflection of his own bright candle. Others could not handle the rot.

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