Monday, September 10, 2012

The View from the Back Seat

Many years ago I attempted to teach myself to cast a fly rod with my left hand. I think I was in the Army at the time and must have had a brush with my own mortality. It wasn't too severe, but it made me wonder how I could function if disabled. I guess I had enough respect for the irony of Murphy's Law to know that if I were ever to lose the use of one of my would be my right. My casting hand.  So, when I held on tightly to the eight razor-sharp blades of a gifted food processor and, for reasons unknown to me now or at the time, promptly turned it on...I was at least semi-prepared for the inevitable consequences.

I came out of the mishap without too much permanent damage despite the entire kitchen and parts of the living room being temporarily transformed into the Reservoir Dogs movie, of course, doing my best impression of Mr. Orange writhing around spurting the red sticky all over the warehouse loading ramp. Being of a certain ilk (tougher than I am smart and more stubborn than gifted) I elected to stay away from the ER and Camp Medicate instead. With Erin's help, we dosed my "stump" (as we are now calling it) with hydrogen peroxide and wrapped all my mangled digits up tightly with gauze and duct tape and hoped for the best. My self-prognosis, aided by large amounts of alcohol, was good. Within a day or two I fully intended to be back on a creek somewhere with fly rod in hand. My left hand, but none-the-less fishing.

As it turns out...thumbs don't completely reattach overnight. And no matter if you can out-cast the Dalai Lama with your good arm, (big hitter, the Lama) you immediately regain your newb-certificate once the rod is put in your other hand. And you can't drive stick. And you need to ask your girlfriend to tie your flies on. And...can you come take my fish off for me? Erin did drive me to one of our favorite small trout streams, but I took along no rod of my own. I exchanged fly boxes for wild mushroom identification books on loan from the library, wore work boots instead of wading boots and donned the comfortable flannel I like for around the cabin, instead of a quick-dry fishing shirt. And I settled for poking around stream-side, watching Erin fish and attempting to ID some toadstools. Occasionally she would beckon me over to a particularly promising pool and hand her bamboo four-weight over to me. Have a go! And I did manage to catch one small cutthroat and an equally small brookie. Erin did have to tie the fly on for me, as well as all the rest. A fine guide. Hey, about a little something, you know, for the effort? But I guess eventually we all have to see what the view is like from the back seat. And, if you have good people around you it ain't so bad...

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