Friday, November 19, 2010
Bam-Bam, the Fish, and the Universe
(Relax. This isn't going to be a maudlin post.)
My older brothers and I did our best to help Mom with, oh, let's call him "Bam-Bam." Because that's what we did call him. See, he had this little wooden hammer, and was not bashful about using it...but that's not really germane to this story.
One of my dad's favorite pastimes was fishing. We'd go to the lake in the summer, and stay for a few days or a week, depending on how much time off Dad could get. He would spend every spare second down on the dock, fishing. My older brothers spent their fair share of time there with him, proudly holding their rods. (Heh-heh.)
I'd join them sometimes, mainly to watch. And *cough* possibly to make a lot of noise, trying to scare the fish away before they were hooked. (Yeah, imagine how popular I was with the menfolk.) What can I say? I was a soft-hearted twerp. Besides, the worms were icky. I couldn't bear to squish them onto the hooks myself, and even when my dad did it for me, it still freaked me out. I mean, eew. Worm guts.
So I spent most of my time in the camp's rec room, playing ping-pong and drinking Delaware Punch (the only non-carbonated beverage in the soda machine. Oh, and reading, of course. Good times.
Bam-Bam wasn't old enough for any quality dock time before Dad died, but he'd heard stories. When he was about six, he got it into his head that he wanted to go fishing, just like his daddy. My other brothers were busy doing teenage boy things, and Mom didn't fish, so I figured it was up to me.
Trouble was, I still couldn't stand to, you know...
Which was really fine, because I sure as heck didn't want to deal with...
...an actual fish.
See, what I had in mind was a nice afternoon bonding with my baby brother while he dangled a worm-less hook in the water. Pretending to fish. After all, just holding the pole was the important part. (Honest to God, I tried to come up with a way to not make that sound like a double entendre, but I don't think there is one.) Anyway, no worm, no possibility I'd have to deal with a fish, right?
Ha. Hahahahahahaha. HA! <--Hysterical Hindsight Laughter
So, what do you suppose happened the very first time Bam-Bam dropped that hook in the water, and jerked it back out in his sheer enthusiasm for the activity?
That's right. He hooked a fish. Through its back.
There, dangling from Bam-Bam's fishing line, was a four-inch, silver-gray fish who was suddenly having a very bad day.
Picture it: you are the Einstein of fishes, much too smart to snap at a worm on a hook. No, you'd rather starve than place your mouth on any strangely still, hook-shaped worms. Because you know better. And then out of nowhere comes a freakin' worm-free hook, speeding through the water above you, and before you can wiggle your tail and swim away you are suspended in front of a six-year-old human boy shrieking, "Can we eat it? Huh? Can we eat it?"
Like I said. Bad day for the fish. (And me--I had to *shudder* take the hook out.) But Best Day Ever for my baby brother, even though I had to explain to him that we had to throw the fish back because it was too small to keep. Didn't matter to him. He'd caught his fish.
There's a lesson in there somewhere. Something about never taking anything for granted. Or about how life can surprise you in the damndest ways. Or how, even when the odds are against you, things sometimes work out. Or perhaps how point of view is everything (think of the fish). Take your pick. Me, I just look back on it and laugh.
How about you? Has life handed you any small surprises? How'd they work out for you?
P.S. Speaking of worms, there's still time to enter my SAVE THE WORMS contest. Have you saved a worm today?