116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
My wife and son think I am obsessed with fishing, even though I fish barely more than half the days of the year and seldom more than half the hours in the day.
During a recent mini-intervention, Corinne and Fred contended my so-called obsession is so obvious as to be beyond argument. If I am not actually fishing, they said, I am thinking, talking or reading about it.
Yes, I acknowledged, I do enjoy fishing in my spare time, which in my retirement constitutes all but the hours allocated to eating, sleeping and watching fishing shows on television.
The omnipresent rods and tackle in my pickup testify to my sloth, my failure to put them away when not in use, rather than to an obsession, I said.
I reminded them I write the occasional outdoors column in these pages and that fishing for me, like space travel for Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” is “just my job five days a week.”
They adduced as evidence that most of the photos stored on my phone are of fish. Which of course, I said, is justified by the metadata — when and where the photos were taken — which could help me catch more fish in the future.
In addition to photos of fish, I point out, my photo archive also includes pictures of my grandchildren, friends and nature in all its glory.
Yes, they rejoined; pictures of your grandchildren and friends holding up fish and pictures of nature taken while you were fishing.
They rested their case.
Rather than testifying in my own behalf, I shifted the conversation to all the fat jumbo perch my friend Dave Patterson of Atkins and I caught the preceding week on Pool 9 of the Mississippi River.
Corinne, perhaps recalling a recent sumptuous meal of deep-fried perch filets, acknowledged I could have worse obsessions than fishing.
At that point I could have brought out the old proverb about the gods not deducting time spent fishing from one’s allotted span and how all that communion with nature is good for the body, mind and soul.
Instead I blew up their obsession case with the confession that, for me, fishing is an addiction — that my nerves, rather than being stimulated by drugs or alcohol, have been conditioned to crave the subtle tick of a biting fish.
I couldn’t stop if I wanted to, which I don’t.
With visions of fat perch in mind, I told them that, as much as I would like to continue this conversation, I needed to pack a few things for a little trip to the Mississippi.