You may not know this about me, but I like fishing. Actually, let me clarify that: I like being outside in nice weather. And fishing is a great way to be doing nothing but still claim that you are doing something. Outside. Fishing is also a great way for guys to hang out in a manly fashion and talk about manly things. Now, the act of fishing is generally a pretty laid back experience. And I think it’s a real testament to how terrible I am that the following story is anything but laid back.
This story starts out exactly like most of my failures; a buddy and I are sitting on the couch, get a bright idea, and then the next thing we know we’ve managed to foul everything up. In this case, the protagonists are 17 year old me and my 15 year old buddy Kyle. One beautiful summer day we decided that sitting in the basement just wasn’t enough, so we packed up our fishing rods and a case of soda and went to a nearby lake. We piled all of our gear out onto the shore and settle in for an afternoon of not catching any fish (this wasn’t my first time, I know my limitations). This is where our successes abruptly come to an end; arriving at the lake.
After some time of sitting on the bank and complaining about how girls didn’t talk to us (some things never change!), Kyle asked if he could borrow one of my fishing lures and then picked up the only lure I’d actually ever caught a fish with. Being nostalgic (and kinda stupid), I told him to be careful because that was my “lucky lure.” He agreed, tied it to his line and swung back to cast. To my immediate horror half of his fishing pole flew into the lake his first cast, taking my “lucky lure” with it. And because the line had snapped, both the lure and his fishing pole could me seen uselessly floating around in the middle of the lake.
I quickly sprung into action; digging into my tackle box and stringing together several hooks and lures to fashion the most pathetic grappling hook ever. I tied this utility-belt reject to the end of my line, took careful aim and (improbably) landed it squarely on the floating fishing pole. Against all odds, I hooked and reeled in the top half Kyle’s fishing pole. Neptune would not win this day (does Neptune also control the lakes or is he just the sea?).
Unfortunately, it quickly became clear to me that I had only hooked the pole and not the lure, as my now unlucky lure still floated around helplessly. Kyle and myself, being perfectly reasonable teenagers, decided that a rescue mission was in order (did I mention that the lure in question cost like $3 at Wal-Mart?). We quickly took survey of our supplies, which also happened to include countless jon boats scattered across the shoreline (none of them ours). Many of these jon boats were chained to trees or other immovable objects, but a select few were left untied because their owners didn’t expect 2 stupid teenagers to commandeer a boat trying to rescue a $3 fishing lure. But Kyle and I were firm in our principles and refused to give up. We found an unchained boat that looked like it hadn’t been used in a while (because we were more concerned with getting caught than how seaworthy it was). There weren’t any paddles, but we managed to find a 2x4 and tree limb (good enough!). I climbed into the front of the boat, Kyle pushed off, and we set sail.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to paddle a boat full of idiots across a lake using a plank and a branch, but it’s slow going. On top of that, my friend Kyle was a heavy guy and I was pretty small, so the front of the boat was not making much contact with the surface of the water. These were problems that we were slowly dealing with, however, and it wasn’t until Kyle commented that his feet were getting wet that we realized there might be a much bigger issue.
Did you know that jon boats are made with a hole in the bottom to help drain water out after they’ve been used? And that you need a special plug for that hole? This is a bit of information that I learned inconveniently late in my life. As soon as we realized we were sinking we began flailing and panicking as we tried desperately to maneuver our half-submerged vessel to show, but things weren’t looking good. The boat managed to get close enough to the shore that I figured I could make it, and like a true hero, I leapt off the bow of the doomed boat to the safety of the shore. As I (gracefully) flew through the air I could hear my friend behind me calling me an asshole. I may very well have been an asshole, but I was a dry asshole.
I watched as the boat slowly took on more water, Kyle frantically still trying paddle with a tree limb. Finally, he gave up, stood up in the boat and charged towards the bow before hurling his entire body weight forward. For his size, he got an impressive amount of distance on the jump. It was almost as impressive as the size of the splash when he hit the water just short of the shoreline (you didn’t think this would end well, did you?). I helped pull him from the water and we both watched as someone else’s boat sank.