My time canoe guiding I often crossed lines. River or lake, Canada here and U.S. there. Best have fishing licenses for each. Best know that if you paddle while another fishes you are “fishing” and need a license same as if you held a pole instead of a paddle.

Maybe I’m too severe in my view, but legalities can pop up unforeseen. It’s best to be prepared and not argue with a warden. That’s my view, one others can dismiss in favor of their own presumptions. Standing your ground might work, or result in a fine plus loss of all your gear. In such cases the choice is definitely not yours.  

My little example (yes, here we go) came to mind when (here’s the leap) I was listening to a film director reject “the binary.” Much applause (there was indeed) for the catchphrase. But, you see, I saw the successful director as no better prepared than the paddler arguing with a warden. Sure, the director’s this-that on non-binary is great cant, but of no consequence to anyone taking the time to recognize night – day or left – right or living – dead.

These are fairly clear despite gray areas. There’s no sense in a non-binary direction of left-right-right-left when you have to go one or the other or forward. The binary represents most of the time as night or day with dusk and dawn coming between. We have words and understanding of the twilights and don’t need to use them to define day as an increasingly prolonged period of dawn leading to noon.  

Trending language often implies more basis than it owns. Let yourself answer, is non-binary an actual condition or an assertion of uncertainty? Before I’d dabble in non-binaric argument I’d seek (as example) to sort out sex from gender, two terms so often tumbled and jumbled (I suspect on purpose) that debate begins off-footed with flawed assumptions. (We’re now a goodly way from fishing lines on the border, aren’t we?)

Ambiguous sex is uncommon, but that it does occur doesn’t mean clear cases of F or M come into question. Height is usually associated with M, but I had a seven foot F cousin who bore several offspring. Exceptions do not reclassify everyone else.

The psychology behind (which is sadly overlooked) the non-binary versus binary mindset is more interesting than the arguments of either side.   How easy is it to overlook lines (information ort fact) in favor of a good story (narrative)? Very, VERY.

Take another film director (I’m caught out following film, so now we’re further yet from the border lakes.) glowing about his authenticity using an original tree type when constructing a set in a forested setting. Sounds good, but gads what fluff it is. Did the wood siding have a role? No. In the colonial period in question was siding sawn or split? If sawn likely by laborious pit saw more likely found in a town than a stand-alone home. But wait, were frame structures made in that era? Not really. Siding sawn or split usually came later as an improvement. The classic salt-box often encapsulates earlier, smaller quarters.

So, YEA for use of correct wood species, but then BOO for getting most everything else not-so-right, right down to circular saw marks on boards that should bear vertical saw marks.   Is it important to seek precision when drawing lines or making arguments? I say yes. For that we now go back to the border line above us. Why the jog at the NW Angle? Worth time learning the how-why of map makers and politicians not having enough info. Well so what? The Angle isn’t a big deal. Then, how ‘bout Isle Royale? Map makers and politicians believed there were two large islands. The southerly (Royale) went to the U.S. The other to Canada (Britain at the time). But there was no other, so?

Believing Royale to be southerly the drawers and politicians attached it to Michigan. Royale belonging to Michigan makes sense seen that way, but not at all if you stand in Thunder Bay harbor and see Royale looming so large you grasp exactly why so many early ships left the harbor in fog and ran into the thing. Royale is much closer to Ontario or Minnesota than Michigan, but guess what might happen if either of us tried to claim it. Lines on paper or language don’t matter until someone shows with an eraser. Then we know their import.  

Two hundred years ago “our” nearby lines were negotiable. Maybe the Brits gave up any claim because the island was uninhabited. Different tale, I’ll bet, had gold or diamonds been in the mix. Not a reader reading isn’t savvy enough to grasp there is always purpose (say motive?) in erasure or redrawing of lines, limits or bounds. Not too difficult to see why Russia wants the Crimea. We’d use up all our lead and erasers marking and undoing the last 2,000 years of Central Europe borders.

A reminiscent issue exists on our southern border where claims of illegitimate conquest can be raised and likely would be raised today if the past vast-land way of raising cattle were still in use. There will always be motive behind re-doing. There will always be a prize. The prize (in language goals especially) not always obvious or suspected, but it’s there.  

Fishing rules. So OK, it’s not likely you’d need a fishing license to pack your partner’s lunch for a fishing trip. But, the importance and occasional slipperiness (a fish allusion) of understanding lines (‘nother allusion) and limits of rules and boundaries remains. Bee ware.  

Oh, but what the? It’s summer. Why worry? I take comfort in old friend Mark Twain’s sage “It’s not easy to be eccentric,” or rule bender, either. Was it meant to be, easy? If (I can maybe call on personal observation) an uncomfortable shoe is the one that fits best there’s no easy way to break it in. Avoidance, pain, blister and so on are necessary. Woe to them what thinks eccentricity have to be earned and is, instead, a mere social accessory. Woe and pity.