You know the saying:
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
I hate fishing. Hate it with a passion.
When I was a kid, my dad took me and my older twin brothers to Alexandria, Minnesota. My great aunt Jo lived on Lake Latoka there. She owned a large pontoon boat and had a lot of old dude friends who liked to fish. She made fruit punch slushies, filled up ice cream pails with it, and sent me, my brothers, the old dudes, and my dad off to the lake.
We caught 109 fish that afternoon. I remember running from one full hook to the next, taking off fish and throwing them in the water basket. It was an exhilarating time.
The next year, my dad took the three of us to a lake in St. James, Minnesota. That is the exact opposite direction of the northern city of Alexandria, from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Down there, the lakes are shallow, green, smell like toilets from hell, and give you the runs just for walking past. We had no boat and stood on the dock. There was no wind and it was 98 degrees, with high humidity.
We caught a frog and a bicycle.
On the way home, I asked my dad a very important question that would change the course of my life:
Was our success last year in Alexandria what most fishing trips are like, or is it closer to the misery of St. James?
Dad, not knowing that he was about to give a young gentleman an enormous distaste for an absolutely pointless and boring activity, answered as honestly as every fisherperson should answer:
St. James is the norm.
That was it for me. I never fished again – on purpose.