I read a lot of your stuff recently and you seem to go on and on a lot about 'Fly-Fishing'. What is so great about Fly Fishing anyway? Is it so much different than just plain fishing, you know just sitting in a boat drowning worms? I tried it a couple of times with some buddies, but it was about as exiting as watching latex paint dry. What gives? Are there some hidden lessons in it about life or something? I seem to be missing the point. You're usually on the money, so I'd really appreciate some clarification.
Befuddled in Bedford
Well, firstly, the main distinction between fly-fishing and 'normal' fishing, my neophyte friend, is that usually 'regular' fisherman are likely to actually catch a fish. Well if that's all you care about, you worm dragging, 'meat-fisherman', you might as well pick another hobby like watching the WWE, because you probably won't get it. I might as well explain why to play golf, why to go watch a baseball game, or why to smoke a $10 cigar. It just doesn't make sense, unless it makes sense. Savey? But if you are willing to open yourself up to the subtle nuances of the finer art form of fly fishing, and aren't too hung up on that 'fish catching' thing, there are indeed some lessons you could learn and apply to your every day life.
The first thing I learned from fly-fishing, that has served me well in my real estate endeavors is this: Location is everyting. If you are standing in the right stream, at the right time, with the sun setting just right, a warm can of Milwaukee's Best can taste like a fine Belgian Ale and a Swisher Sweet can taste like that $10 Cuban cigar. Talk about you 'curb appeal'; try Grand Lake Stream the middle of May, when the hatch is good. Another thing I have learned from fly-fishing that has served me well is that I don't really know much of anything. I've been doing this thing a number of years now, both 'living' and fly-fishing, and the main thing I know is that, most of the time, I'm flying by the seat of my pants. Even in the waters I've fished now for 10 to 15 years, on any given day I don't have a clue as to what fly they're biting on. Same in life. Most of the time, for me, it's guess work at best. But mostly, it works out alright. So there you go. Related to that, as little as I know, I find that everyone else knows about the same, maybe less. The more I talk to fisherman I meet along the stream, the more I realise they're full of shit too. And the more they profess to know, the less they actually know. This a very valuable metaphor for everyday life, I find. As a matter of fact, the two main things I learned from fly-fishing is 'know what you know', and 'keep your mouth shut'. For example, even though I said I know I don't know much, at least I know what I do know, you know? Psychologists call that 'meta-cognition', that is, knowing your knowledge and how to use it. But psychologists are also full of shit, I would say, prone to talking to much. Which leads to the main lesson: keep your mouth shut. Ergo, suppose you are slaying Brook Trout, in an unlikely spot, using an unlikely fly, enjoying the hell out the experience. If a fella asks you how's the fishing, keep your mouth shut and say as little as possible, unless you want all the anglers in the local wooded area to be completely up your ass, taking all your fish. Lesson: don't over-share. Less is more. Another lesson in life gained from fly-fishing is to be able to focus. As a guy with a life-long ADHD affliction, I fully realise how hard it is to stay focused. But in dry fly casting, if'n you aren't focused completely on your floating fly, you are sure to miss that magic sound of 'Schluupp' a Salmon makes just before it breaks the surface of the water and sucks down your Caddis. Thus you will never hear the even more magic 'Schluuup, Whhhzzzz, reel, reel, reel, reel, reel sound of bringing in said Salmon. Focus is important for me, at least when I'm motivated by a big enough Salmon. The most important lesson from fly-fishing, though is how to figure out what's important, remember that, and stick with it. For example, I might not be catching anything but a cool buzz form the warm beers in my creel, but that's not the important thing. The important thing is that I'm not at work, I have three more beers in my creel, four more cigars in my front pocket, and did I mention, I'm not at work. As in life, Fly-Fishing is analagous to my favorite myth, the myth of Syssaphys, who was cursed to roll a rock up a hill for eternity, only to have it roll back down when he reached the top. What Syssaphys didn't realise is that it's not whether he ever gets the rock to the top of the hill, it's in the act of rolling the rock. Enjoy the fuck out of rolling the rock, even though you know full well it's a waste of time. Likewise, whether you fill your bag full of fat Rainbows is irrelevent, if you are enjoying the act of not catching fish. Just make sure you have enough beer. It seems to help.
Anyway, there you have it, Befuddled, even though I'm pretty sure you're not going to believe it. But hey, I could be wrong, you metal bait slinging neanderthal fish-killer. In eithe case, be careful out there and keep your Muddler moist.
You don't have to read through Revelations sometimes to realise that the world is going straight to Hell in a $120 Longenberger Basket. The older I get, the more crusty, cynical and resigned I get to that fact. Of course, it doesn't help that, indeed, the world IS going to Hell in a hand-basket. If'n you don't believe me, check out these true headlines from last week. In no particular order, I offer you:
The Dude Abides- The web-site Entertainment Earth is now selling a line of Action Figures based on the cult-movie classic, 'The Big Lebowsky'. Yes you too can now own the 8" likenesses of Jeff Bridges, 'Dude' and John Goodman;'s, 'Walter'. They'll probably go along nicely with your totally mint Kirk and Spock Action-figures you got at that San Diego Trekkie Convention last year. Then you might want to consider moving out of your Mom's basement, Travis.
DubaiLand- There's a new Theme Park opening in India called DubaiLand. Chock full of exiting and cultural attractions like feces throwing monkies, syphalytic beggars, rick-shaws, and more feces throwing monkies, this disaster in the making theme park is completely enclosed in glass. An indoor theme park, you ask. Yes, Dubai sounds like it's average daily temperature is 112 degrees. Sounds like a winner, Mahatma!
Dickens World- Speaking of the most stupid idea I have ever heard, this just took the cake from DubaiLand. Dickens World will be a theme park in London, supposedly recreating the effervescent era of ol' Chas Dickens' writings. Disease, Rats, Rat Catchers, and even more beggars than Dubailand will add a festive flair to your experience of literary history. Just don't drink the water. 'It was the best of theme-parks, it was the worst of theme-parks.
Make up your fucking mind Roger- After much wooing from the Red Sox, Yankees, and home team Astros, Rocket Roger Clemmons finally decides to drink the Kool Aid and sign with the Evil Empire for a part time job as their fifth starter. To paraphrase an old song from the 70's, 'Ramblin' boy, why don't you settle down, Boston ain't your kind of town,...' Seriously, if the deal with Roger included a middle relief pitcher, I think it might have been worth it, cuz' the old fat bastard will be dragging his big fat ass by about the fifth inning on every start. Of course Rocket says it's not about the money. Right. I am the Walrus. Coo Coo Ca Choo.
That's a hell of a hat, yo- England's Queen Mum this week made a whirl wind trip through the states, her first in a long time, and here, here it's about time too! To quote another old song from the 70's, 'God save the Queen, we mean it maaaaan'. First the old bag stopped to visit and console the students at Virginia Tech, some of whom thought she was Martha Stewart. Then she stopped at Churchill Downs, coincidentally named after Winston Churchill's drunken Uncle 'Skates', who used to like to bet the Nags. There she got totally bagged on killer Mint Julips and ended up doin a Keg Stand on the infield with Paris Hilton. Awesome. Well, at least she had the hat for the occasion.
Well there you go. If that doesn't prove things are heading south, take a look at Fox TV. Any way, I'm crawling back into my bottle of Bacardi. I know ther's a Mohito left in there somewhere.