The Soupster embraces negativity to achieve the Middle Way.
“You don’t want to not buy a boat right now,” Lars told the Soupster, as the two men met up in a light rain on dock finger G to look over some possibilities. “Don’t you think that I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t think it was a good idea?”
Despite the serious handicap of always using “the negative tense,” Lars was a crack salesman and mechanic for boats and boat motors. He knew his stuff and he always told the truth.
If Lars wanted to sharpen his merchant chops further, he probably should have smiled once in a while. But smiles may fade over time. Lars didn’t. And even more importantly to customers whose very lives could hang on a misfiring spark plug or misfitting drain plug, Lars Boats & Motors brought those customers safely home without fail.
“Not a totally terrible track record,” Lars said. “At least not yet.”
Like malaria, the Boat Fever virus lies dormant in many in Our Town, only to flare up when conditions are favorable to it.
So it was with the Soupster, who had responded to his first taste of gloriously grilled Sitka Sound summer king salmon by thinking, “I gotta get a boat.” That taste came at the Soupster’s favorite restaurant. When he saw the price of his meal, the Soupster thought, “I really gotta get a boat!”
Another of Lars’ inborn sales skills was an excellent radar – if anybody was having Boat Fever thoughts, Lars knew just by looking at them. It was a little creepy actually.
“You want to be sure not to get the wrong boat for yourself,” Lars said.
“True,” said the Soupster. “If I was practical I would get a skiff and a trailer, or a good rubber boat.”
“But you don’t want anything too small,” Lars said. “But I don’t have to explain that you’re not the King of the World on some boat that’s way too big.”
“Well, I’m not thinking of grandiose,” said the Soupster, trying out “Lars Speak.”
“Just not something that’s all wrong for me,” he added.
Lars stroked his chin. “You may not like this idea, but let me not hold it back from you.
“Don’t,” said the Soupster.
“It’s never a good idea not to consider the middle,” said Lars. “You don’t want to be the boat pilot so worried about his investment he can’t enjoy himself. But you also don’t want to be someone so worried about not staying dry that you can’t go anywhere.”
“This one here would not be a bad choice,” Lars continued, pointing out a nice compact and solid-looking cruiser tied up nearby.
“The Middle Way,” said the Soupster. “Lars, you’re such a Buddhist.”
“I’m not,” Lars protested.
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