Subject: “Oh, Puhleez...
Say it ain't so, Joe!
How disheartening to see a vendor of such nice craft from Port Townsend no less call a fender a "bumper." This is such a lubberly mistake that it pains me to even draw attention to it. It is akin to seeing a movie star pick her nose. I sure wish I had never seen that! But what is done is done and the best thing you can do now is correct that horrible gaffe and we all shall agree to forever pretend it never happened. P.J. Nolan"
Russell and I do have a sense of humor and that email cracked me up! It is rare to receive such a harsh-and-gnarly critique that compliments at the same time. I must say, that takes some skill.
Fender or Bumper? I just had to find out. Searching online I found that vendors use the terms interchangeably for an assortment of barriers used on boats and docks. Could it be that we are all just movie stars picking our noses?
Since there is no reason to believe the internet, I turned to a more trusted source.
I actually still own a hard bound dictionary. It is 4” thick, weighs about 10 pounds, (it flattened my 6# postal scale) with gold lettering that proudly reads; The Random House Dictionary of the English Language. I had to haul it out, lug it to the table, and dust it off. Flipping through the musty pages, my handy-dandy magnifying glass was of considerable assistance.
FENDER; definition #5; A piece of timber, bundle of rope, or the like, hung over the side of a vessel to lessen shock or prevent chafing..."
Hmmm, that sounds about like what I was thinking except I picture the inflatable kind found at a marine chandlery.
Bumper: definition #3; Any protective rim, guard, pad, or disk for absorbing shock and preventing damage from bumping."
Now that sounds about like what we have permanently attached to the outer edges of the gunwales on our dinghies.
For argument’s sake, one could say that they both serve a very similar purpose and regardless of their possible origins, for better or worse, language evolves.
In truth, the most accurate term for what we have is neither fender nor bumper, but, rubber rubbing strip or for an internet search; "rub-rail". At least, for now, I can relax and not feel embarrassed.
However; I do take issue with the term, “lubberly”. I had to look that up too, just to be sure that I was properly insulted, at least for Russell's sake if not my own.
lubberly - clumsy and unskilled; "unskilled labor"; "unskilled workmanship", inexperienced in seamanship...
Hardly the case, my dear fellow. That would be a “horrible gaffe” on your part. But, as I am a friendly sort and would not want to disrespect anyone’s preferences or “pain” someone with my own, I heartily agree, “to forever pretend it never happened.”
Thank you for the challenge. It was fun. 😉 AE Brown