Bonny Dick – battling lessons for life

by | Aug 15, 2020

No, please don’t look up bonny dick in the urban dictionary or get too creative in your thinking for “BD”. Yes, he’s a Doonesbury character too.

Rather, I’ll ask you to think of John Paul Jones, in all his rogueness and dashing bravery, who captained our Continental Navy’s BonHomme Richard to legend. Bonny Dick is the affectionate nickname that sailors have called several other USS BonHomme Richards which have steamed with valor since the age of sail. You might know that Jones and his crew bid adieu to a sinking Bonny Dick after the Brits aboard HMS SERAPIS surrendered their Union Jack and swords. I’ll bet two nickels that most every bluejacket of America’s Navy – past, present and future – knows the battle cry, “I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN to FIGHT.” Well, Captain Jones probably didn’t say that exactly. Yet historians assert that he yelled something close. As a Scotsman by birth, it might have been quite colorful.

The Brits lampooned Jones as a bounty-focused pirate. I ask, “So what?” Even Apple’s Steve Jobs asked a rhetorical question for business and life, “Would you rather be a sailor or a pirate?” I argue that KABOOMERS should celebrate and exhibit traits of both pirates and sailors.

Arrrgh. Perhaps you heard it in this column first – – – KABOOMERs and PIRATES are simpatico! KABOOMERs skirt de facto “rules of life” to be healthy outliers – like Blue Zone centenarians. I’m not hinting that KABOOMER Kelley or Ken should swach-buckle, get many tattoos and rape,pillage, or plunder. I am hinting that KABOOMERS bend rules – like Social Security actuarial rules for longevity. My goal is to drive actuarial life-counters loco!

Our modern-day BonHomme Richard (LHD-6) almost sank in July, 2020 as its namesake did in 1779. Moored to a Naval Station San Diego Pier, her devastating pierside fire [TBD causes] burned for days. Soon after the fire began on a Sunday morning, a young dashing “FLYING SQUAD” sailor ran to the first blaze and led fire-fighting actions until smoke overcame him. Rushed to a local hospital, this young hero rushed back aboard as soon as he could get released. Recent news reports offered that the duty section crewmates had not finished the fight. That, dear readers, is TRUE GRIT in my perspective. Finish what you started. Fight the Good Fight. Stay the course. Arrrrgh.

As Angela Duckworth wrote in GRIT, perseverance, resilience and grit are awesome personality and behavior traits for: a. Flying Squad fire-fighters, b. for iconic pirates like JPJ, and c. for KABOOMERS doing their best to put life in their years as they add years to their years. Here’s to us KABOOMERS who can, as community members and Masters athletes, walk the talk as “Grit paragons” in Duckworth’s terms. It’s not too late to become one – with true passion, precision, and purpose! iI commend her provocative best seller to you. Devour it…

I also mention another Grit author, C&W singer Tim McGraw, who wrote “Grit and Grace” and is credited with one of the top 20 C&W songs of all time. Tim is just a bit young for our KABOOMER-hood. Yet, his journey to get lean is applauded for a busy guy in his mid-50s.

So , what can your passionate story of grit, resilience and perseverance memoirs read? Flas back to our STRESS-NOT chapter of KABOOMER:

“1. Resilience is your ability to bounce back after adversity
or disappointment; and it is being able to manage and
adapt to sources of stress or adversity. (I mentioned the
importance of bio-resilience in another segment.)

  1. Perseverance is your steady mastering of skills or completing
    a task, while having a commitment to learning.
  2. Grit is a more recently authored term for Face Everything
    and Rise,
    as researched by Angela Duckworth. Grit is
    defined as the tendency to sustain interest and effort
    toward long-term goals. It is associated with self-control
    and deferring short-term gratification
    Bounce back. [LA Columnist Chris] Erksine grittily did. You can too, though no
    one said this was a walk in the park. We are steadfast in our
    daily pursuits and lifelong learning. We keep on keepin’ on,
    rising toward our long-haul goal to live longer and live better.
    Cope and counter! Yes—you can, with grit, humor, fresh
    air, friends, exercise, and—the fourth F. Yes—you can—like
    a celebrity without a major care in your world. You can take
    proactive security steps to counter stressful vitality thieves.”

Bonny Dick sailor stories from 1799 and 2020 exemplify coping and countering, persevering and showing true grit. Pirates, sailors and KABOOMERS Fear NOT! They Face(d) Everything and Rose.

Yes, you can too! KABOOM!

Koach Dave


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