Hubris - Neptune's Always Listening

hubris_neptune carving kettering


Hubris, from the Greek, is defined as extreme pride or arrogance; an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities. We learned early on that whenever we exhibited signs of hubris aboard Nine of Cups, Neptune was always listening and made sure to nip our arrogance early in the bud.  You can't have sailors becoming too cocky out there.

It seems whenever we feel we're getting good at something and say it out loud, we live to eat our words. It's happened so often and with such regularity that we chide ourselves now whenever we say something out loud as simple as “We never have problems dragging anchor.” We might not have dragged in years, but you can be sure once we brag about it, we'll drag almost immediately.

We sometimes worry that Neptune even reads our minds. It's one thing to curb your tongue and not brag out loud, but even thinking it can get us into trouble. What actually happens is I think something like... “Geez, we haven't had an issue with the nav lights in ages” and then unwittingly I mention it. “David, you must have finally found the fix for that nav light problem, huh?” We look at each other and sigh. “Sorry, I can't believe I said that out loud.” Invariably, the nav lights will flicker and die the next time we need to use them.




We do our best to assuage Neptune and keep him happy. We never leave on a passage without giving him his tot of rum. We never end a passage without paying homage and thanking him for our safe journey and arrival. But oh my, start beating our chests about something we think we do well ... he just won't tolerate it. We're good at eating humble pie.

Have you found the same thing happens to you? On land or sea, when you brag too much about something, does it come back to bite you?

Our favorite hubris story involves picking up a mooring ball in New York City. It wasn't funny at the time, but it certainly seems pretty funny now. If you're interested in reading this little anecdote, sign up for the JALF newsletter and Gentry will send it along to you.  If you've already signed up for the newsletter, look for the link in this Friday's newsletter.

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