For some strange reason (insert
wide, innocent eyes here) I have been the fodder of anecdotes, gossip
and outright tall tales my entire life. I have been compared to everything
from a Byronic Hero (by my high school English teacher) to a human
cartoon character. No idea why. I just kind of do things, think about
things, speak about things and write about things in a way different
from most other, normal people. In fact, according to my Myers-Briggs
Type Indicator profile only about 2% of people in the world have my
particular personality leanings.
That being said, I’ve never been one
to let not knowing what I was doing slow me down in any sense whatsoever
or to keep me from running headlong into what my son likes to refer
to as my “adventures”. I suffer from the “If they can do it, surely
with me being me, I can do it too.” disease.
You see, at a frighteningly
young age I grasped the concept that so long as you *appear* confident
- as if you know exactly what you are talking about and/or doing -
and are charismatic, the stars generally align and all will kind of
work itself out in the end. Needless to say, I have had some rather
interesting and what other people might view as comical life experiences
- the kind of experiences that people take for granted will happen
to me even if there would be a snowball’s chance in h...the oven that
they would happen to anyone else.
Taking my son fishing for the first
time was no exception.
Note: Everything I’m about to relay to you
is absolutely true and it really happened just as I describe it. Also,
my son has a rather unusual name. So, in order to protect his identity
I will just refer to him throughout this anecdote as Peanut (which
is of course obviously short for Peanut Butter and Jelly Head)
summer before, while visiting a friend in another city, a male friend
of ours decided to take my son fishing. My son had a ball and ever
since had been constantly begging and begging and begging me to take
I was a little leery at first as I had never actually
fished a day in my life. Yes, I’ve kinda sorta been in the vicinity
of other people while they fished; however, I was too busy “accidentally”
kicking over their worm buckets so that the little suckers could burrow
for their lives whenever the fisher people’s backs were turned to
actually pay attention to what they were doing (past them cutting
the worms up into pieces and skewering them).
I imagined myself having
to massacre and torture the poor little creatures myself. I imagined
having to unhook this poor, wiggly, slimy and angry creature from
a hook while it sent secret, irate fish sonar messages to its little
friends to attack. In all of my imaginings, I simply did not imagine
that fishing was the thing for me. Leaving the “dirty work” to others
had worked well for me in my gastronomic life so far. I saw no reason
why it should change then.
Still, there was my little Puffy Cheeks
with his big, pleading eyes and confident, charismatic ways (no idea
where that came from) begging and begging me to take him fishing just
once. On top of that, I was stabbed in the back by fate.
We were wandering
through a store when we spotted fishing gear on clearance – rods and
everything. My son lit up like a sparkler on the fourth of July. Ever
so calmly, I explained to my son that I had no idea how to put that
stuff together or what all we would need. My adoring son, however,
points out to me that that package over there says it’s a complete
ready to use kit. (Darn his school and their accursed phonics!)
no real viable reason not to, I give in and I get us each a kit. Of
course, in my opinion, they were mostly for decorative purposes.
they were - for a time. Just owning the shiny, new fishing kits made
my son deliriously happy – for a time. However, as the days turned
into weeks and the weeks into months (and the kits begin to grow cobwebs),
Peanut finally begins to realize that he was no closer to going fishing
with me then than he had been before we had bought the darn things.
but surely the begging begins again. Ok, so he nagged the living...snails
out of me until I finally decided to give it a go.
My first step was
to look up how to fish on the interweb. Second, to seek advice. I
asked a male friend of mine and he was full of optimism and tales
of how easy fishing was. He was so confident in fact that I decided
I did not really need to re-review my handy, dandy packet o’ information
I gleaned from the net. I mean it certainly *looks* easy enough on
television and there he was telling me that it’s all easy breezy…beautiful,
So, loading up our complete fishing kits in the car, we
decided to head to the beach for a combo beach picnic, frolic and
pier fishing day.
After hours of frolicking in the surf and having
our picnic, I could put it off no longer. We decided to try our hand
at fishing. Okay, so my son nagged the living seashells out of me
to get me to agree to try our hands at fishing.
Our adventure began
with us taking my “complete ready to fish fishing kit” out of the
package and Peanut taking out his Simpson’s pole. While it certainly
appeared that all I had to do was to stick the smaller pole into the
larger pole, when I opened the package, the reely thingamabob fell
off! Apparently they were only going for the *illusion* of easy assembly.
But no worries, with no instructions that made any sense to me on
the package, assembly was a veritable breeze!
After a while of watching
me curse under my breath and engage in questionable assembly practices,
Peanut asks some guy walking by for help. This guy takes one look
at all of my hard work and he starts laughing. As it turns out, while
the reely thing was in fact attached with some tenacity, it was attached
incorrectly – backwards and upside down were the terms I believed
So, said gentleman kindly proceeds to destroy all of my hard
work in the name of assembling the thing “correctly”. Done, he and
his sons strung us up right proper like and hooked us and all (with
my artificial bait).
At last, off we go on our journey to find a dock
off of which to test our hereto obviously hidden fishing prowess.
learned many things that holiday weekend day. I learned:
1. A “complete
ready to fish kit” does *not* come with easy to understand directions,
something to cut the line with or assembled and therefore, is neither
complete nor ready. Who knew?!
2. Crappy casting does not fish yield.
I guess that’s because there were far too many steps! Flip back this
silver thing, then stick your finger up something and press this button.
(shrug) If I’d just had a gun, it would have worked out *way* better.
I am an expert line tangler. I mean I managed tangles in my line of
which world class fishermen can only dream. In the end, I had a big
tangly ball of line that completely covered my reely thingie. Some
might call this a problem. I call it ensuring continued stability
of the hold my reely-ma-bob had on the rod
4. Peanut is a Class A
seaweed catcher. I mean he caught balls of the stuff almost as impressive
as my line ball. We were both very excited as I think we both secretly
longed for a hot steaming dinner of Seaweed soup at the end of the
5. My rod made a *way* better rapier than a fishing pole. I easily
defeated Peanut in our subsequent sword fight. Okay, fights. (Don’t
look at me like that. It’s call repurposing. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
6. Peanut’s rod makes a better sand pencil than mine. Mine
was just too floppy to make curvy letters and provide any real structural
7. My rod however, because of it’s floppiness (which had
originally been a flaw in a sand pencil), made a really cool whooshing
sound when flopped back and forth quickly and a really trippy mind
scrambling device when one’s eyes tried to follow the tip while engaged
8. Peanut’s rod also made a really nifty walking sticky – of
perfect size and strength. Mine on the other hand, due to it’s half-accursed
and half-blessed floppiness, was a poor support - even in Gandelf-ish
9. While poking with the rod is good, actual slashing can lead
Yes, number 9 happened to me. After I poked Peanut a few
times with my rod, he gets all over excited and decided to pretend
to slash my legs with his. Unfortunately, during all of our adventures
(which apparently exceeded the proper, intended use for a fishing
rod), the little metal part that made up the round line guide had
come loose. As he slid it across my calf, it sliced my calf and my
finger while I was trying to move it away.
I bled out pretty good though
the actual incisions were pretty small. He got down good into the
meat after all. My finger I put in my mouth because of well the antiseptic
and coagulative properties of saliva but my calf was another matter
entirely. I did not think it appropriate for me to sit down in the
sand, lift my leg up and suck on my calf in the middle of a crowded
I instead decide to wade into the water and walk in it until
I reach the lifeguard shack and its bandages (as the salt water would
help to stem the flow of blood). As I’m walking, my son starts getting
all paranoid about sharks scenting the blood. But being the good mother
and stand up kind of gal that I happen to be, I assured him that while
I might be the shark’s initial attraction, there were many, many people
a lot farther from shore that the shark would surely get to before
me - thus giving me time to run out of the knee deep water to safety.
Peanut was satisfied with this reasoning.
After about an hour of driving
home the guilt Peanut should be feeling over my life threatening injuries,
we concluded our fishing odyssey. I vowed then that next time, I would
leave the fishing to more bored and technically proficient persons
and stick to my thawed, fully cooked and served fish.
I know. I’m awesome.