Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Time Travel Tuesday

               Rockin' the short shorts and mullet, and almost certainly delinquent, somewhere in 1986

Because Throwback Thursday is just too routine...

An excerpt from a tongue-in-cheek, semi-autobiographical project I sometimes work on when the fancy strikes me. A little first-person memoir, a little travelogue, a little non-fiction socio-cultural observational reportage about a piscatorial subject near to my heart. Who knows, maybe someday I'll hammer it into a book proposal.

On the morning of April 21, 1986, a phone call was placed to the junior high school attendance office in Cretinous*, Oklahoma, a sleepy, forgettable little hamlet in which junked cars slowly rusting on cinder blocks were a much-admired measure of wealth; the kind of place where drinking beer from your front porch sofa while picking ticks off the dog and commenting on the olfactory and aural qualities of each others farts was the preferred means of entertainment on those evenings when professional wrestling wasn’t on the television.

But in addition to doing its part to produce America’s future Honey Boo Boo demographic, Cretinous, Oklahoma was also surrounded by innumerable ponds and small lakes teeming with a gluttonous, ill-tempered brute of a fish that, much like the anglers who pursued it, would eat absolutely anything it could fit into its maw. Said fish was the reason for the phone call to Cretinous Junior High that long-ago morning.

“Yes, hello, this is Chad Love’s father. I was just calling to let you know that Chad won’t be in school today. We’re attending his aunt’s funeral. Poor woman, she died in a tragic sheep-dipping accident. Chad’s quite distraught over it, she was his favorite aunt.”

A pause. Something being said on the other end of the line. “No, no, his grandmother was last week, God rest her soul, she never should have been allowed on the tractor. This week is his aunt. Yes, it has been a rough couple of weeks for all of us.  Yes, yes, thank you for the kind words, and Chad should be back to school tomorrow. Goodbye.”

My "father", who was two years my senior, and who had a preternaturally deep voice for a seventeen-year-old, hung up, turned to me and said, “OK, they bought it. Grab the rods and let’s get the hell outta here.”

Thus was the American educational system denied yet another day – in a long, long list of days - in the life of a lost and obsessed soul. I didn’t know it at the time, but that same basic pattern of subterfuge and avoidance of responsibility would be repeated endlessly throughout an adolescence and young adulthood spent almost entirely in the pursuit of scrounging gas money for whatever smoking wreck one of us happened to be driving at the time. We needed just enough to get us to the nearest body of water, and possibly back.

And while my lack of ambition, foresight, or concern for my future would, later in life, doom me to an existence of poverty and unrealized potential, I, of course, had no way of knowing that at the time, because I was young, stupid, and having too much fun. There were certainly worse ways to grow up.

*not its real name, but probably should be...


  1. "my lack of ambition, foresight, or concern for my future would, later in life, doom me to an existence of poverty and unrealized potential..." plenty of people can say that without having the excuse of fishing, or hunting. Plus, all the idiots (me) who through ambition and foresight postpone having fun will discover that, when they are finally set to go, their hip replacement surgery will not let them out of the house.

  2. Most of it I spent on fast woman and slow horses, the rest I wasted. Days afield are never wasted

  3. ...nice bass...still got the UNLV truckers hat? Tom Condon Eastern Montana

  4. "There were certainly worse ways to grow up." has morphed into, "Hunny, there are worse ways I could be spending time or money."

    I would also say that while older, and slightly less stupid (being generous), I'm still having too much fun.

  5. Keep working on that "memoir". God help us, I am too...

  6. Yeah, but... look at those bass!