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SUNDAY, MARCH 24, 2019

UNSUCCESSFUL

Jackson

2011-01-07 14:45:51

Other

An old man goes to the river every day and casts his line out to the current. He is one of the few fishers here who remembers the days when you were allowed to use barbed hooks and roe all year round. When he was a young man there were so many fish that no-one cared too much if you used a few tricks on the fish...

Now, of course, there are far fewer fish. Despite his seniority, and memory of a day when hooks had barbs, the old man stands alone at this river as the only fisherman who obeys the new regulations. Some of the younger men say that they need the barbs, need the roe, need the tricks because there are so few Salmon left. The old man knows better; his generation thought the same thing and that’s why there are so few left.

A young fisher, not yet a fisher-man, looks on and watches as the old man plays after a few bites. There’s no run of the reel, though. No one’s ever seen the old man actually land a fish to play with. Just bites and nibbles and nothing to take home for dinner.

“Hey, Buddy?”

“Hey” he says, with a calm, collected sense of comedy “Hey, youngster”

“You’re the guy with the clean hooks, right?”

A nod...

“Well, uh, does it work?”

Another nod

And then a chuckle form the youngster. “I hear you never pull nothin’ outta the water?”

A third, final nod.

“Well?”

He looks over, skepticism running over his face as the water runs around his galoshes

“Well?” repeats the youngster “you don’t seem to be havin’ much success. Everyone says you never catch nothin’ “

“Oh, I don’t know” the old man’s face loses it’s jaded, guarded veneer and fills with compassion. “I suppose none of ‘em knows why I’m here, though. Don’t blame ‘em”

Now the youngster looks confused

“I’m the most successful man on the river, youngster” He chuckles “ ‘Cause I come here every day to feed the fish”


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