What’s the Meaning of Cobwebs in a Fishing Boat?

First it was a winter that wouldn’t move on. It hung around and got surly with all of our spring and then beat up on the first few weeks of summer before heading north around the Fourth. It threw millions of gallons of rain at us and blew down trees just about every week, and no one will ever know how many gardens or fields of crops it ransacked. It has not been a splendid year for the people who should maybe consider moving, but don’t.

Now, just to make things even more unfriendly, there are cobwebs in my fishing boat. ” Cobwebs” and “boat” should never ever be in the same sentence. Ever. But there they are, wispy little threads of indignity, spanning gunwale to gunwale and forming a kind of smile, compliments of you-know-who.

I’m not one of those people who thinks fishing is a religion, even if I’ve experienced some pretty nifty epiphanies doing it. And I don’t claim any relationship with certain apostles, who also had some fairly heady epiphanies in their boat. But if cobwebs in a fishing boat aren’t sacrilege, then I’ll never know what is.

There have been more books written about fishing than spiders, and that’s the way it ought to be. Do you remember a book entitled “The Old Man and the Spiderweb?” Not hardly. There’s just something so unnerving about it, these damn cobwebs in my little 14 foot boat.

What I’m starting to get afraid of is that they are nuisance indicators of someone losing his priorities, which is a polite word for marbles. A truly sane man would just go fishing once in a while, wind and rain and cold notwithstanding. But the thing is, and this is sadly the truth, I wimped out when the wind hit 30 mph and the temperature maybe nudged 50. Fishermen don’t care. Fishermen dress in layers and take a thermos. If it’s cold and wet, who cares, let’s go fishing. Fishermen say things like that. Fishermen go fishing. I went to Home Depot.

The last time I went fishing was early July and this is now early September. What does this mean? If any of my friends find out, there’s going to be difficulty. They’ll ignore me or, worst thing possible, ask me if I want them to bait my hook for me. Ask me how I like my new Justin Bieber CD. Offer to buy me some Gerber’s when they go for hotdogs and beer. Offer to hold my hand during a thunderstorm.

I don’t know how this could have happened. I’m appalled. Cobwebs in a fishing boat. Another thing that I hadn’t even considered is this: Most of my fishing pals believe in justifiable mayhem, which means I have to be very vigilant now. They’ll do something that sounds funny to them, and months down the road might be to me, too, maybe. But now I just keep hearing Marlon Brando, way up river on the Mekong , saying: The horror. The horror.

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