Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work. So reads the bumper sticker on the late ’90s F-150. Someone is headed out for some fun on the lake. I wish I were that guy.
But I don’t.
In my mind’s eye, a young boy has dropped a line into a quiet pool on Dinkey Creek. He sees the flash of color as the rainbow trout in the clear depths darts under a rock. He waits, attaches a salmon egg to a hook, and slowly drops it into the water near the rock. Waits while the trout waits. Waits while the other boys and girls from the summer school field trip walk by, ask, laugh, mock, and move on. Waits until he outwaits the fish, and returns to camp in triumph.
A younger boy, with his dad this time, fishes for bluegill (panfish) in a pond somewhere he now can’t remember. What he later remembers from this outing is a decent size fish swallowing the hook all the way into its intestines, so that when it is reeled in, the body of the panfish slips from its guts into the water, leaving the boy to stare in disappointment at the slimy, sun-silvered spaghetti on his hook. Fishing is funny.
Next, the grown man is in a boat, fishing with a men’s group on desolate Fort Peck Lake. Walleye and Northern Pike, the one feisty and the very heaven for flavor; the other dangerous and good enough prepared fresh, fill the boat’s ice chest. The sun is hot. The beer and the breeze make him forget that he’ll pay for the day with sunburn tomorrow. But what the hell. This is nice.
You’d think, for the memories, that guy would like to fish, that he would seek it out. But the truth is he’d rather not. He hasn’t the patience or the time (he tells himself). He’d rather read The Compleat Angler or The Contemplative Man’s Recreation than contemplate with a fly pole. He’s even had the opportunity to paddlefish with treble hooks and beach poles on the Yellowstone. He’d rather see them swim with their vacuum-cleaner mouths wide open at the exhibit in Shedd Aquarium.
A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work. The problem is that it’s not a binary choice. There are many other things to do, fun to be had in other ways, delights and delectations all along the way. Weird Al’s “I’ll be Mellow when I’m Dead” pops into his head.
He wishes he would like to fish again.
And he hates A River Runs through It.Published in