Thursday, September 20, 2012

Going Fishing...

Modern life can be a complicated mess. Mysteries and contradictions are everywhere. Devoted free market men like myself are frustrated to the point of cynicism when we find crony-capitalists in positions of influence in our political party of convenience. Devoted followers of Christ spend half our time appalled at the narrow-mindedness and irrelevance of the churches we attend. Small business owners are stunned at the level of contempt with which we are held by the current president. Lifelong sports fans carry around with them the unspoken intuition that our favorite sports are being destroyed right before our eyes by the influence of money and the overexposure that it brings. Nobody fixes their own cars anymore because they’re all just big computers on wheels. Every time we go to the grocery store, that tube of toothpaste or that box of maccaroni & cheese is just an ounce or two smaller than it was last month, but the price is the same. Our newspaper just got an inch skinnier, on the same day that it’s price went up 33%. A complicated mess.

But you know what’s not complicated? Fishing. I say “not complicated” when what I mean is “less” complicated. I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods the other day to buy a license, and to replenish my tackle box, and discovered that capitalism has turned fishing into a bizarre avocation involving many brightly colored accessories of dubious purpose. I resisted the urge to become a high tech, cutting age modern angler, preferring to remain a guy who just wants to take an afternoon once in a while to get away from everything and everyone and fish. The State charges $23.00 for the privilege. I was told by the enthusiastic cashier that the money from these licensing fees went towards, “ fishery and hatchery management, habitat development and protection, fishing and conservation programs, and many other valuable programs.” And here I thought that this was just another government money grab. Maybe I’ll write for a list of those “other valuable programs”. But if I do it will just hurdle me further down the dead end road of cynicism when I discover that my fishing license fee was helping to fund Planned Parenthood or something. No, I’ll pass on digging deeper into the reasons why I just paid 23 bucks for the right to fish for one year in the state of my birth.

Sometime soon, maybe tomorrow, I’m going to drive out into the countryside somewhere and find a place to fish. I will not use my cell phone. I will not use any artificial lures. My rig will be the same one I’ve always used, night crawlers and a red and white bobber. I will stare at that bobber and contemplate the meaning of my existence. I will pack a sandwich and maybe a beer or two. If I catch anything, I will enjoy the slimy feel of it’s scales as I hold it in my hand and stare into the depths of it’s glassy eye. Then I will place it gently back into the water and watch it disappear. So simple. So clear. So unambiguous.

At the end of the day I will be refreshed. I will feel whole. On the drive back into town I will try not to think about my complicity in funding those “other valuable programs”.