Friday, August 14, 2009
FISH OR CUT BAIT
When I was just a kid, my Dad used to tug me out of bed at the un-christian, yet crisp hour of 3:00 a.m. to go fishin'. He always made me eat a peach in an effort to stave off sea-sickness. It never worked and without going into detail, it is the reason I cannot stand peaches. Even today, lo these many years later, the sheer sight of a peach or the scent of a peach flavored candle can send me to the rail. But by the time we got out of the bay and into the Gulf of Mexico, all was right again with the world. Great therapy; lapis blue water, endless sky, a nice fishin' pole and rod n' reel, a can of worms and some chum and hours to spend with my Dad perfecting my cast. I got pretty good at it, the casting and catching part, but deferred to my father to do the scaling and all that other surgical stuff. "I'll catch 'em if you clean 'em" we used to banter back and forth and it always made us chuckle. Sometimes, if luck was on our side, we'd catch enough to snack on Ceviche with some Saltine crackers. We'd get back to the bay house and my mother would complain about how sunburned I was and fussed my Dad to hurry and shower to get that fishy smell off of him. Best fish dinners I can ever recall.
But, nowadays, goin' fishin' has taken on a more decidedly sinister meaning. We are now apparently supposed to report any communication, by e-mail or an off-hand comment made at the grocery store or by any other means anything that might be "fishy" with regard to the policies of our Guvmint ; turn that hapless person into some Guvmint agency, providing them with email addresses, content and identity. WHERE ARE WE? That this notion could even be bandied about is pretty frightening. WHAT IS THIS? Some Maritime version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"?
I smell peaches, where's the rail?!
I am reminded of the one time my fishin' trip with my Dad turned ugly (not counting the peach ritual). We were way out in the Gulf, and since my Dad had caught a beautiful Blue Marlin and had it mounted, I wanted one, too. At last, I hooked a big one! I pursed my lips and gritted my teeth and fought that fish for what seemed like hours. My arms were tired and heavy but the dream of a Blue Marlin was motivation enough. Well, that and the fact my father wouldn't let me quit. That rascal fish darted under the boat more than once and my fear was my fishin' pole would snap. Exhausted, but exhilerated, I got the fish to the surface and Daddy lept to the side of the boat with the net. I had gotten lucky because the fish had swallowed the hook and had no escape but to break the line or the pole. Daddy reached down and netted the fish. Mopping sweat, I was sure my eyes were foolin' me. That fish was no Blue Marlin. In fact it was the ugliest creature I had ever seen; a Hammerhead Shark. Daddy cut the line and said " Maybe next time". I curled up and cried all the way back to the bay.
Anyway, I guess I tell you this because I am concerned with all this reporting of anything "fishy". Sometimes what you believe is a Blue Marlin is actually a Hammerhead Shark. Don't take the hook, I say, and by all means don't swallow it.
But if you find yourself 'wishy to report something fishy' , remember the old sayin', "A fish stinks from the head down". Start there.
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