It Is Called Fishing (tf)

Great horny toads! Fishing!

Is there no end to this near pathological passive-aggressive flogging at the hands of that cur Stevens? This man is invading my nightmares and punching me dead in the face while I thrash about begging for serious REM sleep. And they let him on TV.

He must be stomped like Napa Valley grapes.

But first, some back story.

When I was younger, and the fear was glossed over by repeated bottles of LaBatt Blue, a girlfriend suggested that I get on the good side of her father by going fishing with him. She knew that my stomach rebelled on even a Merry-Go-Round, so obviously a boat was out of the question. We would fish off a pier. Cast our lines into the bay and do some serious male bonding. It sounded dreadful to me but what could I say? I despised fish but the hole was dug.

So he put on one of those goofy fishing hats, grabbed a bait-box and 2 enormous poles, and off we went. It was early evening and the pier was jumping. Old men who all resembled Quint from Jaws mumbling to themselves and listening to assorted right-wing gibberish on transistor radios…..all the while nipping from flasks at furious rates. The place smelled like a rest home.

He handed me a pole. It didn’t look like any of those drawings from the Tom Sawyer books either. This thing was 10 feet long and resembled a nuclear fuel rod. Then he turned away and with a gentle flick of his wrist he coolly tossed his line about 150 miles out to sea. So this was how we were gonna play eh? I had ugly visions of him hooking a raving hammerhead shark and being yanked off the pier….visions I rather enjoyed. What was going on? This manly-man stuff was throwing off my equilibrium and turning me savage.

I spread my legs out, and with a flick of my wrist the line went about 30 yards completely sideways, crossing the lines of at least 10 fiendish looking brutes with maroon noses. Surely this would not do at all. I mumbled my apologies. “Slipped”, I said. I looked to my girlfriend’s father for help, but he had moved about 50 yards away and put headphones on. I de-tangled as smoothly as I could. The LaBatt’s was wearing off and the fear was creeping up on me. I wanted to drown myself in the bay but decided against it ’cause I can’t swim. Besides, I was gonna fight for love and if that meant slaughtering some helpless fish, well so be it.

So I got my line back….and promptly did it again. This time it went about 4o yards sideways. I now had the unmistakable impression that this type of ineptitude was frowned upon at the pier. I was about to be stomped by a gaggle of weathered old fossils.

“Leave me alone”, I cried as they converged. “I have a fish fetish that I’m working through….and it’s all for a girl.”

“Nonsense”, said the leader of the Quint’s. “We’ve seen your kind before. My wife sent you didn’t she? That woman will stop at nothing to ruin my fun. You will make excellent chum when we chop you up accidentally in a boat propeller and feed you to the hump-back whales. That should teach her a lesson. Your silent screams will be on her conscience.”

“No”,  cried. “You’ve got it all wrong. I’m here for love.”

Suddenly my girlfriend’s father’s hand was on my shoulder. “He’s right”, he said as he studied the men intently, and with a bit of a savage grin. “I brought him here and then left him at your mercy to see if he could survive. I don’t want my daughter mixed up with a pansy. And besides, he keeps drinking my LaBatt’s and leaving the empty’s under the bed in my baby’s room.”

“On my God”, said the man. “Is he Catholic?”

“Of course he is”, said her father. “Why do you think I’m so worried?”

“Well, take him home and hose him off. And for God’s sake toughen him up. He fishes like a sissy and gives us the creeps.”

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on June 17, 2011.

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