There’s a lot to be said for staying dry. I don’t know about you but unless I’m taking a shower or swimming in the ocean, I prefer dry to wet. I don’t even like to sweat: those hot, humid summer days may seem a preferable alternative to what we’re going through right now, but believe me, if the air conditioner had not been invented, I’d have taken off for Iceland long ago.
When God let Noah in on His dirty little secret, the umbrella hadn’t been invented, there were no such things as windshield wipers, and raincoats were made from animal hide—hardly effective protection from a forty second shower let alone forty days and nights of steady downpour. Talk about sea rise! Now, in this post-diluvian world, we complain—at least I do—if rain keeps us indoors for a day or two, or our hair gets a little frizzy, or—God Forbid!—it’s “cart path only” on the golf course. There’s just nothing worse than a cart path that runs along the right side of the fairway and your ball is in the left rough! Insult added to injury. Sad!
Gene Kelly might have enjoyed singing in the rain and swinging on wet lampposts, but not me. For me, staying dry is not about coming in out of the rain or bladder control or avoiding alcohol; it’s just plain old common sense. I’m telling you: wet socks are the devil’s playground! Take them to the dry cleaners right now! As for wit, I’ll take the dry variety any day; that extra second it takes for a joke to sink in is worth its weight in dry measure! And then there’s the dry martini, that most counterintuitive of cocktails that makes the end of a long wet day well worth the wait.
Over here on Maryland’s right-hand shore, most of us take water for granted. I certainly have nothing against water: the play of morning light on the river or a raft of geese settling down at evening make all the water surrounding us look and sound like a living, breathing work of art. Water’s utilitarian, too: I like to paddle on it, bathe in it, swim through it. I’ve even been known to drink it from time to time if nothing stronger is available. I just don’t like it falling on me for days on end; it makes me feel like I’m Wile E Coyote and Roadrunner is on the cliff above me with a garden hose making my life miserable. Make it stop!!
There are, of course, ways to stay dry even in the worst of squalls. Slickers, rain pants, and waterproof boots can help, but they weigh you down and waterlogged is just like it sounds. Umbrellas can provide a temporary measure of protection, but inevitably you need that second hand to carry something or to open a car door, and if you have you ever tried opening a car door while holding an open umbrella and a bag of groceries, you know that eventually something’s gotta give. When it does, that’s the moment it hits me: I could move to Phoenix!
I realize that dry is not always a good thing. Dry toast? No, thanks. A dry lecture? Boring! A dry well? Big problem! Dry February? Maybe good for the liver, but not the soul. Dry does have its limits.
All in all, as in war, so in investing: I’ll do whatever it takes to keep both my socks and my powder dry.
I’ll be right back.
Jamie Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer with a home in Chestertown. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Washington College Alumni Magazine, and American Cowboy Magazine.
Two collections of his essays (“Musing Right Along” and “I’ll Be Right Back”) are available on Amazon. Jamie’s website is.