As my small town was surrounded and being attacked by spring rain storms, I spent this past weekend indoors. On Sunday morning to make myself feel gloomier, I decided to watch the weekly bass fishing highlights on ESPN. During what seemed a very long hour of watching men enjoy themselves out on the water, being paid to fish, it occurred to me that my life sucks.
Watching what I like to call ‘Standard’ sports on television never gets me down. I know I could never have been a professional Football, Basketball or Baseball player. I am an average to smaller than average sized dude who can’t dunk, pitch or trade hits with three hundred pound men.
I can Bass fish my butt off though. I’m actually quite good at it. I catch ‘trophy’ size fish pretty regularly everywhere I try. So I watched this ‘Bass Master Elite’ program on ESPN and began to get angry. Not jealous, just angry!
A twenty-four year old ‘kid’ won this thing. His first ‘tour’ win. He smiled into the camera and told the story of how when he was just sixteen years old he got introduced to bass fishing and he decided that is what he wanted to do for a living. So he made it happen.
Yeah, ! @#$%^&*
Where in the SAM HELL was my high school counselor on this one? I am positive nobody ever told me when I was sixteen that I could just fish for a living. Oh sure I knew about commercial fishermen. It’s the competitive fishing that wasn‘t ever remotely presented to me as a slightest possibility.
Now Dad, I know that you are reading this and becoming a little defensive. Sure, you did tell me when I was young that I could be anything I wanted to be. Good job. Here is your pat on the back. (pat, pat, pat.) The problem is we were talking about Presidents and Firemen, GI Joes and Astronauts. You weren’t specific Dad. (‘Specifics Bob‘) I could have been a beer taster! I could have been the guy that makes sure the Super Models' cabooses are proportionately correct prior to their runway walk. I could have been a professional bowler, or even a sex therapist. Now that last one might not be quite what I think it is, but you get the point. Be specific!
I sat in that high school guidance counselor's office and opened the door for him to mold me into a happy adult. He asked if I liked math…. NO. English…..NO. Science….NO. Biology….I like animals. Gym….Only when it’s outdoors.
I read this paragraph now and it seems obvious he should have drawn the proper conclusion then and pointed me to the world of competitive bass fishing. I practically drew him a map. I seem to recollect him mumbling something about construction under his breath and ushering me out the door. What an Idiot. Someone should do something about this. I may just call the public school system about this incredible lack of specificity.
You don’t believe me? Go to your local bookstore or library and look up career/’what I want to be when I grow up’ books. Check the children’s section. They won’t be with the grown up books. The bookstore people know adults don’t want to be reminded of their crappy choices. (Like working in a retail bookstore chain!) OK, open your book. You will have pictures of farmers, police, basically photo’s of the ‘Village People.’ No pictures of the guy that does the airbrushing for ‘Playboy’ magazine. Why wouldn’t that be on a flier to take ‘Art 101?’ I took art. I was good at it. Nobody said I could grow up to airbrush moles off of nude models. That was important information to have at the time. We have children trying to decide what college to go to, and nobody is giving specific enough direction. You don’t have to be a lawyer, you can play one on prime time television and make the same amount of money or more. Apparently you don’t even have to be a good actor or actress, you just need the airbrush guy and maybe the bigger better breasts guy.
I hope that young man realizes the overwhelming odds he unknowingly overcame when at just sixteen years old, someone told him, ‘Yes, you can bass fish for a living.’
To insure that I am indeed the man, today I will tell my oldest son about the guy that gets paid to find and note the time and duration of nudity in movies. We owe it to our children to be specific.
Your gloomily employed, free to do anything, yet unpaid fishing son.