The story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Every year I go salmon fishing in Wisconsin. In the fall the salmon swim up the rivers to try to spawn. Salmon are not native to the Great Lakes so they cannot spawn–the conditions are wrong. They go up the rivers every year and die. We try to intercept them on their journey. I have taken many different people with me on my salmon trips. I once took a friend I’ll call Lucky.
When I fish for salmon I cast spoons. I will cast until my back aches. Lucky, on the other hand, likes to take things easy. He throws a line out with a baited hook and waits. The comedian, Steven Wright, once said: “There is a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.” This particular day Lucky had one foot on each side of that line. He sat on the pier in a reclining lawn chair. Beside him were a cooler with a couple six-packs of Diet Pepsi, a couple bags of chips, a couple bags of candy, a couple tins of Copenhagen and a spit cup—maybe a couple spit cups. Lucky had his fishing rod sitting in a rod holder on the edge of the pier. I warned him that salmon were powerful fish and when they bite, they hit hard—I’ve compared it to tying your line to a Buick. I warned him to keep a close eye on his rod. He had that figured out. He clipped a small bell to the end of his rod so if a salmon grabbed his bait, the bell would ring and he could reel it in.
It worked perfectly. A salmon grabbed the bait, and Lucky clearly heard the bell ring as his rod came out of the holder, went over the side of the pier and disappeared into the water. Lucky sat in his lawn chair, his lip bulging with chew and a bottle of Pepsi halfway to his mouth–now standing completely on the like-an-idiot side of the line.
Before Lucky could even stand up and stare blankly at the water, the guy next to him jumps up and yells, “I got one.” The guy grabs his rod and after a short battle reels in…Lucky’s rod with the bell still attached. Lucky picks up the rod and the salmon is still on the hook. He reels it in with the bell ringing cheerily all the while. Lucky has his rod back plus the salmon. Now you know why I called him Lucky.
Things like that never happen to me. If my rod goes over the side, it is never seen again—or probably some fisherman finds it five minutes after I leave. If I drop a coin, it is guaranteed to roll down a drain, and it doesn’t matter if I’m standing in the middle of a cornfield. A drain will magically appear and swallow up the coin. If you’re wondering what the moral is to this story, it is: Not all stories have morals. Some are just written to fill up a blog post.