I have found my niche in the world of fishing. I am the keeper of the first-aid kit. You may be laughing, but this is an honor I take very seriously. I do everything I can to make sure I provide all the necessary treatments when called upon. Therefore, I have earned a spot my son's world of fishing.
Let me give you a little history so that you can better understand what all the excitement is about. My son loves to fish. I love to play golf. I don't know where he got this passion from, but he really enjoys being an angler. What I know about fishing, you could hand write on the fin of a goldfish. I couldn't catch a fish in a bucket with a big net. I do not possess the skills or luck necessary to love this sport.
For many years I got to go on these fishing trips because I was the only one of his friends that could drive. (Seeing that he is only 13 now I sometimes still get relegated to this role.) I would plan a weekend day and off we would go. My planning usually involved a stop at the local sporting goods store to spend major bucks on whatever item the guy at the counter felt like selling that day. I was like a tourist in New York City and could be spotted a mile away. I now own about 10 rods and reels, many pounds of hooks and weights, bobbers, sinkers and every color of plastic worm ever made. I have so much junk that I need two tackle boxes to carry it all. The best part is that I don't have a clue what any of it is for.
I break into a cold sweat when it comes time to buy bait. The salesperson always asks me what kind I want, and my response is always the same, "I don't know - whatever works!" This always leads the salesperson to start asking me questions. "What are you going for?" - To catch fish. "What kind of fish?" - The kind that swim. I always end up with bloodworms. The guy realizes how helpless I am, sells me the worms, and sends me on my way.
The next day I am standing in a stream and my son is talking to me about trout, sunnies, wheaties and every other type of fish that allegedly swims in the water in which I am standing. I say allegedly because I have yet to catch one. My son always catches something, usually after he moves downstream, away from me. I have become a skillful detangler, an expert knot tier and a master baiter. These were my roles and I came to accept them because it meant that I got to bond with my son.
Then the day came and he spoke the words that I had been terrified to hear. "I want to go deep-sea fishing." I tried to explain that you could catch the same fish if you stood on the bridge and fished in the bay, but he wasn't biting. He had his mind set and the ocean was calling his name.
I relented and agreed to go, knowing that it would not be a pleasant sight. I get motion sickness in a rocking chair. It was going to be a long four hours at sea. Then I realized that there was a drug store on the way to the docks and Captain Dramamine was born. The pharmacist saw that same New York City tourist look in my eyes and sold me pills, wristbands, skin patches and every other item in the store guaranteed to prevent motion sickness. I wore them all and they almost worked. I looked so stupid that my son almost refused to get on the boat. I was inches away from avoiding this trip until he conceded.
The boat left the dock and we set out to sea. The ride out to the fishing spot wasn't too bad and I would have survived if they didn't have to stop so that people could put their hooks in the water. They stopped and everyone got set to drop their lines. I couldn't wait - I chummed 10 seconds before a single hook hit the water. The next four hours were the most miserable of my entire life. At one point, I decided to go inside the cabin to get away from the rolling seas. No one ever told me that was the worst thing I could have done. It only got worse. I found the bathroom, hoping to rinse out my mouth with cold water. No one told me that the bathroom used salt water. It only got worse. I found a bench and tried to lie down. My son kept coming in to show me the fish he was catching. I knew from the look in his eyes that this was not my last trip on this forsaken boat.
After what seemed like 10 days at sea, Captain Ahab gave in and we turned for shore. I began to feel better the minute he turned on the engines and we were on our way. By the time we made land, I was close to my normal skin color and could almost stand up without the need of assistance. It was truly a great day of bonding with my son, who kept one of my seasickness wristbands as a souvenir from the trip.
We haven't fished together in a while. We live within walking distance of a lake and he now goes with his friends. I was home with the baby on Sunday evening when my son strolled in and I could see the blood all over his clothes. He had cut his finger pretty badly trying to slice a bloodworm. He and his buddies used electrical tape as a bandage until he could ride his bike home. I cleaned the wound, wrapped it in gauze, called the doctor and drove to the emergency room. My son got his stitches and survived the expedition. On the way home he told me that it was pretty cool how I didn't freak out and was able to keep him calm.
Then he uttered the magic words, "Do you think you could teach me how to play golf?"