Shelter Islander: Boating Adventures in the Age of the iPad

Teen plays on the tablet computer

I saw an ad for one of these new tablet things that showed two kids sitting nicely on a boat, completely engaged in their tablets while the two perfectly fit parents were in the background, sipping wine in the sun with the wind blowing through their hair. It looked like it was taken on the eastern seaboard, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t taken on Shelter Island, where boating is a religion, and them that owns a boat has many friends indeed.

“I said no, Joey. You’re not takin’ that friggin’ peepad…”

“It’s an iPad, Dad, and why can’t I take it? You get to take your fishing gear and do what you like to do on the boat, so how come I can’t take my iPad?”

“It’s an electronic, a $400 electronic. Salt air and electronics never mix.”

“Lame argument, Dad. It’s completely sealed, nothing is going to happen to it.”

“You’ll drop it in the water.”

“Mom already tried that argument. I’ve had this since Christmas and never dropped it once.”

“And that was the last time your mother and I saw your face! You’re always looking down, we’d like to see you once in awhile. You used to like going fishin’.”

“Ah, yeah, when I was like five…”

“Thirteen isn’t that far from five, is it? I’ll bait your hook if it makes you happy.”

“First, I’m 14. Second, I don’t need you to bait my hook. Third, I’d rather be home in an air -conditioned house.”

“Yeah, well, you’re going. Me, you, your mother and little sister. We’re going so I don’t have to hear anything more about family time from your mother, and everybody’s going to have fun, dammit!”


Later, on the boat…


“The sun is too bright. I can’t see the screen.”

“Put it down. Help your sister bait her hook.”

“I hate her. I hate fishing, I hate this stupid boat.”

“Joseph, please, let’s all try to have a nice time as a family.”

“It’s your fault I’m going through this, Mom. You’ve got Dad so whipped, he does everything you tell him to.”

“You father is a wise man. Someday, you’ll be married and you’ll understand.”

“Not gonna happen, Mom. My wife is gonna do what I say.”

“Tom, you okay, hunny? Joseph, don’t say things like that when Daddy’s drinking a beer. You made him laugh so hard, he choked. Now, what’s so great about this iPad that you couldn’t leave it at home for a few hours?”

“It does everything, Mom. It’s my life. I can get any information I need, anytime I need it. I’m constantly in contact with all my friends. You wanna know what time the tide is coming in? I can tell you.”

“And it lets you easily update your Facebook page, like this morning’s entry about wanting to trade places with any kid in foster care rather than have us as parents.”

“So what…you read my Facebook page. It’s a free country. I have first amendment rights, Mom.”

“Here, let me use this paper towel to get the smudges off the surface.”

“Okay, but just be careful.”

“So this tablet do anything?”


“Well, let’s see if it can fly,,,”

“AAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! Dad! She friggin’ launched my iPad!”

“Don’t tell me, son. I’m whipped, remember?”


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