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Outdoor Life: Friends don't let friends...
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    "A friend is someone who will bail you out of jail — A best friend is one who sits beside you in the cell and says, “Man that was fun.”
    — Anonymous

Friendship is a precious commodity but it has certain rules that must be strictly adhered to in order for the relationship to flourish.  As most of you are aware the guidelines are different for men and women in this matter.  Thus my contribution today is a feeble attempt to clarify some of the standards for guys.
    Here are a few examples:
    1)    Men don’t let men drink Starbucks coffee on hunting or fishing trips
    2)    Men don’t let their friends become Gator fans
    3)    Men don’t let their fishing and hunting buddies drive naked even while on out of town excursions
    4)    Men don’t let men wear speedos no matter where they are (especially if they are my age)
    5)    Last, but not least men don’t let men get away with blunders, bloopers or goof-ups while on fishing or hunting trips — The rule of thumb is to make sure that everyone in the county knows when one of your buddies does something dumb
    It is this last tenet that I wish to concentrate on in today’s saga.  I do this out of total commitment to the rules of friendship and because the episode must have been pretty funny.  I say “must have been” because I didn’t actually witness the incident.  It was relayed to me by another “friend” who was doing his duty to adhere to rule number five from the above list.  Because this is second hand information there may be errors and omissions but it’s not against the rules to embellish these episodes.
    I have a close comrade with whom I fish and hunt quite often and he is really proficient and very committed to these outdoor activities.  Recently he went fishing in a nearby ocean and made a bad boo-boo – he fell in.  That in itself was enough for rule number five to be invoked but he compounded his mistake by losing his fishing equipment in the process.
    The details went something like this.  
    My boy likes to fish off of the back of the boat when we go on salt water excursions.  When I say the back, I mean that he will actually straddle the motor sometimes in order to fish.  I’m not sure why he does this.  It has always seemed a little strange to me that he wants to position himself in such a way while the sea is rolling around and he is swaying back and forth trying to keep his balance but that’s the way he does it.  Maybe he just likes the challenge.
    On this particular day he was fishing with one of those short, stout poles that are a necessity when going after big, strong ocean-living monsters.  As the story goes he got a hold of something that was stronger and stouter than both he and his pole and was holding on for dear life while rocking back and forth precariously over the motor.  The beast to which his line was attached was heading for the Mexican coast at about fifty miles an hour and unfortunately my good friend’s drag was set so tight that he could not control the brute.  His two options were simple:  He could 1) let go of the pole or 2) hold on to it and get pulled overboard.  He bravely opted for number two and into the briny deep he went still hanging on for dear life.
    At that point the proceedings should have been drawing to a close.  Most people would have let go and clambered back aboard in disgrace but with his pugnacious spirit he held gamely onto his pole.  It was only when he discovered that he was heading toward the Mexican coast at fifty miles an hour at a depth of twenty feet that he finally gave up the fight and let the rod and reel continue on without him.
    In the aftermath of this epic battle my friend lamented the loss of his prize as well as the loss of a $500 piece of equipment but I’m betting he will still fish off the back of the boat.  He’s hard-headed like that.
    I should add that another one of the rules is that friends don’t give friends advice but in the light of this most recent incident I would like to say to him “I admire your spunk but don’t think much of your judgment.”
    Hey, what are friends for?

    Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at