Mike Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, is not having a good week. That’s because Homeland Security, that most reviled of federal bureaus, has taken his boat. We know this because he has taken to his blog with an outraged testament titled, “THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY STOLE MY BOAT TODAY.”
Mr. Arrington purchased the boat–”Nothing too fancy or large,” he assures his readers–from a Canadian company called Coastal Craft, as a little present for himself. Seattle, he explains, has “a big boating culture,” and besides, this was the kind of high-tech toy he could blog about: “It has state of the art electronics and a fairly new highly efficient propulsion system that the TechCrunch audience would be interested in.”
We assume he was also persuaded by fantasies of cutting o’er the waves, dressed in his finest, crispest khakis, wind in his hair. He named her “Buddy,” no doubt anticipating many long, happy years together.
But the ambrosia has turned to ashes on Mr. Arrington’s tongue:
“Buying this boat was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made, and the nightmare is only just starting.”
It seems this isn’t the first patch of rough water that Mr. Arrington has encountered on his quest to bring Buddy home: “There’s a whole story about the disaster of buying a new boat from this company that I’ll write about another day.” No, Mr. Arrington wants to make it known that the Department of Homeland Security took his boat because he refused to perjure himself and sign a customs form that contained an error:
“The primary form, prepared by the government, had an error. The price was copied from the invoice, but DHS changed the currency from Canadian to U.S. dollars.”
When Mr. Arrington wouldn’t sign the form without corrections, Department of Homeland Security seized Buddy, ordering Mr. Arrington off the bridge of his own boat, daydreams cruelly crushed. Buddy, no!
But don’t think this is all one, long humblebraggy complaint about the fact that Mr. Arrington has to hire a lawyer before he can finally, finally commune with the sea. Don’t feel sorry for him now that he’s a child staring at a dropped scoop of ice cream. Oh, no: This is an act of political speech, his Marin Luther moment:
“My point in writing this isn’t to whine. Like I said, this will get worked out one way or another.
No, it’s to highlight how screwed up our government bureaucracy has become.
A person with a gun and a government badge asked me to swear in writing that a lie was true today. And when I didn’t do what she wanted she simply took my boat and asked me to leave.”
Join us next time, when Mr. Arrington will venture forth to the DMV to register a Porsche named “BFF” and learn that lo, it is staffed by very unhappy people!
(Update, 2:46 p.m.) Over at TechCrunch, Mr. Arrington has now posted another long meditation–actually, maybe more of a screed–on the meaning of Buddy’s captivity. His missing boat is directly tied to our nation’s inevitable disintegration, it turns out:
As someone immersed in startup culture, I am a big fan of just walking away from stuff that can’t be fixed. In my post “Always Swim Downstream” I talk about focusing on what you’re good at and just walking away from unsolvable problems.
America is an unsolvable problem, a nation divided and deeply in hate with itself. If it was a startup we’d understand how unfixable the situation is, most of us would leave for a fresh start and the company would fall apart.
He concludes, “America is MySpace.”
This is just like the part of Braveheart where they kill Mel Gibson’s wife.