If I ever write a book I’ll call it "Truths, Half Truths and Downright Lies," mainly because I can’t remember which category all my little adventures fall under.
But today I offer you the painful details concerning an incident that is carved into my memory (so to speak). It is a true and accurate account of an episode, the details of which I have never before revealed to anyone (except a certain doctor friend).
It was embarrassing, discomforting, distressing and historically without precedent. I hope you don’t think less of me when I divulge to you how I managed to put myself in this predicament.
As an avid fisherman I will often take off on a jaunt by myself. Actually it’s invigorating to go by oneself occasionally. Enjoy the day and catch some fish. So when everyone else offers lame excuses like having to go to work or needing to finish a yard project, I just take off.
Such was the case on this particular day. I headed to a local pond and happily put my john boat in the water with the usual excitement and high hopes. As it turned out, the fish were actively cooperating and were even doing some feeding on the surface. My bait choice that day was a Rapala stick bait. This is a classic lure that is engineered in the shape of a four-inch minnow with two or three sets of treble hooks attached. This particular Rapala floats until you begin to reel it in and then goes into a shallow dive and resurfaces if you stop. As I said, the fish were in a top water mode while in search of their prey and several had made the mistake of slamming my lure while it was twitching along on the surface. As a result of this action I was on edge and ready to set the hooks on a moments notice.
We now come to the crucial point in the story. A nice bass busted the water after my fake minnow and I quickly yanked back to drive the hooks home. Unfortunately the bass missed my lure entirely and the Rapala leapt out of the water in the wake of my violent setting motion. It began hurtling directly at my face, at approximately 100 miles per hour, and there was no time to think about consequences. Protecting my eyes was the number one instinct and so I dropped my face and the plug hit me squarely on top of the head.
This would have been a victory, had it not been for the fact that the hooks went right through the mesh on my baseball hat and into my scalp.
Now to begin with I was just pleased to have retained my eyesight, until I noticed that blood was dripping down my face. At that point I tried to remove my hat to assess the damage. Unfortunately the hat would not come off because it was nailed to my head.
It was an unprecedented situation for me. What steps should I now take? There was no known procedure for this predicament. I knew that a doctor’s visit was imminent to get the hooks out, but I didn’t want to show up looking like a complete idiot. After putting some deep thought into the matter it seemed that idiocy was my only option. I did have the presence of mind to cut the line so I wouldn’t have to tote the pole into Dr. Lewis’s office with me.
When I reported to the nurse’s desk she asked me what was wrong. I replied that I preferred to discuss it with the doctor, so she probably assumed I had a venereal disease. She glanced curiously at the plug hanging off my hat and I quickly told her that I like to keep my fishing lures where I could get to them easily.
After a humiliating stay in the waiting room with many amused glances thrown my way, I finally got in to see the doctor. Word must have traveled fast, because the doc already had some penicillin ready.
When I told him the story, he laughed so loudly that I’m sure the nurses thought I was telling him a dirty tale. He finally cut my good hat off, dislodged the hooks and continued to hoot at my misfortune. I swore him to secrecy, and until this day have never told another human being.
I don’t know if there’s a moral to this story, but it’s true, and if you tell anyone I’ll swear it’s a downright lie.
Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.