I’ve been around barnacles all my life. They’ve been on every boat I have every owned since we always did our boating in salt water. Barnacles, you see, hate fresh water, or so I’m told. Well, not really “told,” but having read thousands of boat ads in my life they always tout the benefits of boats being in fresh water, one of them being no barnacles. Being as how they are always tightly lodged on the bottom of a boat, I haven’t had much opportunity to become intimate with them either, which, I guess is a good thing.
Barnacles are also found in huge clusters on pilings at marinas and they are found on the bottom of anything left in sea water a long time, like say a buoy. This little suckers look like miniature volcanoes and the top edge where the peak forms are very, very, very sharp. You don’t want to scrape your arm, leg, or any other body part over a cluster, clump, of even one of these sharp barnacles.
Every year millions of boaters spend hours scraping barnacles off the bottom of their boats. Why bother? Because, barnacles gathered in huge numbers cover the entire bottom of a boat, or a buoy, and slow the boat down to a crawl. And,although sailboats always go slower than power boats, both types of boat owners want their boats to go as fast as possible. Barnacles therefore, are inherently bad. Just out of curiosity I Googled “benefit of barnacles” and the only thing I could find was that barnacles attached to whales keep the whale free of crud and may help in healing wounds.
Once the barnacles are scraped off the boat bottoms, these same owners then spend an obscene amount of money on “bottom paint,” which promises to keep each and every barnacle sucker off their boat bottom forever. NOT. Some paints are better than others and only need be applied every two years, but NO paint keeps ALL barnacles away, ever. These little sea creatures are the bain of every boater and quite frankly, over the eons of boating hours the barnacles win not only the battles, but the war as well. Paint manufacturers love them.
When we sold our boat several years ago I figured that I would never see another barnacle again except on the pilings at our marina. And, I didn’t. Until recently.
Located on the lower left portion of my now very old, soft belly, I noticed what I thought was a wart one day. Then this wartish thing started to grow. Being concerned about things such as cancer, I went to a dermatologist. He said, “Oh, those are just barnacles, you get them as you age.” Like, I think he was telling me I was getting old. “I’ll take this one off if you like, but others will appear and they are really very harmless. They’ll get a bit crusty over time, but you know, barnacles are like that.” So, um, I guess I’m like the whale and my body is being invaded by barnacles. Nice.
I stopped counting my “barnacles” when I reached six of them. They are not, however, covering my bottom-yet, but slowly appearing on other places on my body. My belly, of course, under my arms, and I think I’m getting one near my southbound breasts. I know, I know,TMI. So far these nasty critters have been kind enough not to appear in places on my body where they can be easily seen, like my face or neck. But, should they ever do that, I hope to be sitting in my wheelchair, drooling, parked in front of some nursing station, not really giving a damn. Or, dead.
I’m way too old to even think about slathering on two coats of some marine bottom paint to stem the invasion. Sigh. And so it goes.