Asking someone what they would name their hypothetical boat is probably the second dumbest question in the world.
The only one more more mind-numbing and pointless is asking someone what they would do if they owned a time machine.
Like, seriously man? You’re really asking me that?
Hypothetical questions in general are annoying to begin with. You’re asking me, on the spot, to suddenly think of how I would react to a scenario that’s never happened, and in all likelihood, will never happen.
Why even waste the time? It’s more productive to think about practically anything else. Like what time it is. Or what I am going to eat for dinner later.
At least the answer to those questions actually have an impact on my life. A small impact, but an impact nonetheless.
It won’t give me any satisfaction to pretend for a minute that I am rich and own a boat. Because it’s not true. If anything, it reminds me how unlikely I am to ever be wealthy enough to own a boat, which will then make me sad.
So how can we go about making the question more fun? After all, it would be kinda cool to actually be able to name a real-life boat, right?
Well guess what! A research agency in the United Kingdom has given the public that very opportunity, and it’s gone exactly how you hoped it might.
What we’ve seen in recent years is that when you open something up for the Internet to decide, the result will likely be hilarious. Ask anyone who has ever hosted a Twitter Q&A. Or look at the most recent NHL ALL-Star game, when fans elected journeyman John Scott, who in his career has scored a measly five goals, as a captain.
In this instance, the National Environment Research Council asked the Internet to select the name of a polar research vessel that is targeted to set sail in 2019.
Imagine one day this boat is involved in a major news story. Say it sinks. A newscaster will have to deliver a straight-faced account of what happened to Boaty McBoatface.
But if the idea for NERC was to gain public acknowledgement and attention surrounding their polar voyage, then they hit the jackpot — and all in the name of fun.
Unfortunately, the agency said they will have the final say. But something tells me that if Boaty McBoatface wins — which it will — and doesn’t get chosen, there will be public outrage. Internet users are very powerful people. Yes, their attention spans rarely last more than a day or two, but I predict you will see a full revolt if you deny them of this name.
I haven’t been on many boats in my life. The occasional motorboat, rowboat and canoe. And I love a good kayak ride every now and then.
But never a big boat. And now I think it’s time to change that.
Because it would be an honor and privilege to voyage into the polar darkness on RRS Boaty McBoatface.
Who’s coming with me?!