My friend Lucky called me the other day and wanted to know if I wanted to do a little walleye fishing. Personally, I’d rather fish for big walleyes, but it doesn’t make much difference, because with fisherman little fish eventually turn in to big fish. That is why catch-and-release fishing was invented. Everyone says it’s for conservation, but actually if you let a fish go, nobody but you knows how big it was, and the ruler in most fishermen’s heads tend to expand with time.
My wife doesn’t fish much so she doesn’t understand the concept of how a five-pound walleye I caught can weigh ten pounds when I tell the story five years later. It is actually rather simple. Since I let the fish go, it didn’t die and continued to grow, so that little fish I released will weigh ten pounds in five more years—or at least it will after I shoved half a box of lead sinkers down its throat before I weighed it.
There is a lot my wife doesn’t understand about fishing, take when my fishing buddy, Lucky, and I decide to go fishing. When the alarm rings at four in the morning I quickly jump out of bed and shut it off.
“It’d sure be nice if you could start my coffee and make me some bacon and eggs with pancakes while I load the truck,” I say to my wife.
You would think her laughing as long and hard as she does would wake her up completely. Instead, when she’s done laughing, she coughs a couple times, rolls over and goes back to sleep. At that point I decide to use some psychology.
“You know Lucky’s wife is probably making him a big breakfast right now,” I say to try and get her competitive instincts going.
“If you hurry up maybe you can have the leftovers,” she says and rolls over and goes back to sleep.
At this point I have her right where I want her, on the edge of the bed. All I have to do is think of one more thing to say, and when she rolls over to go back to sleep, she’ll fall out of bed and then she’ll be up. As long as she’s up she might as well make me breakfast, but it’s early and I can’t think of anything to say so I leave the room.
When I pick up Lucky the first thing I do is apologize. “Hey, sorry I’m late but my wife insisted on making me a ham and cheese omelet with a side order of hash browns for breakfast. I had to eat it after she went through all that work.”
“Not a problem,” Lucky says waving it off with his hand. “My wife insisted I have scrambled eggs and biscuits and sausage gravy with fresh-squeezed orange juice. And as far as you being late, I appreciate it. It gave us time to get frisky for a second time this morning.”
Now I know that Lucky, like me, was fortunate if he could scrounge up a stale doughnut for breakfast, and the only intimacy he might have gotten would have been when he bent down to feed his dog, and it licked his face and maybe humped his leg. But we’re fisherman and we expect the story to be enhanced.
It’s the same with gardeners. I have a fairly substantial fifty-foot by sixty-foot garden. I once told a woman I worked with that I dug about two hundred pounds of potatoes from three rows in my garden. The woman swore she had gotten at least three and maybe four hundred pounds of potatoes from the two rows in her garden. One day when I was in her neighborhood, I decided to stop by and see her garden. She wasn’t home so I went around to her backyard. Her garden was ten feet by ten feet at most. Forget the two rows. If she planted the whole garden in potatoes and got four hundred pounds, she should have called the Guinness Book of World Records!
When we were first married, my wife had an elderly aunt who gardened. No matter how well my garden did hers would always top it. If I grew a cabbage you couldn’t get into a bushel basket, she grew one that wouldn’t fit into a bath tub. If I grew a watermelon as long as an axe handle, she grew one as big as a couch.
As soon as I realized what was going on, I started egging her on. It eventually got to the point where she needed a tractor with a front loader to haul the harvest up to the house, and that was just the radishes. I swear it would have taken a log chain and an industrial crane just to pull an onion out of the ground.
Being a fisherman, gardener and writer (definitely another type of liar) you would think I would be ready for the big leagues of lying, but I’ve never really been interested in politics.