A FISH STORY 
FOR LOSERS
(Posted  May 24, 2016)

    The alarm clock went off at the ungodly hour of 5:45 last Saturday morning. But I was already wide awake, eager to provide for my family.
    "I am off to catch our dinner," I said to my wife, who was oblivious to the world. "No need to buy groceries today. Your manly man will spear a salmon and we will all eat heartily for days. " 
    Yes, I was going fishing. I had heard the salmon fishing was the best it has been in decades and I wanted a piece of it. There's nothing like the taste of fresh-caught wild salmon. Or so I'm told. 
    "Have you forgotten about The Family Curse," my wife said as she rolled over. "I'll buy some steak and see you after you throw up."
    She was referring to the curse where no one with our last name ever catches a fish. Ever. And we usually get seasick. But this time was going to be different. I could feel it.
    "Just rest up," I said to the little woman as I dressed in my fishing gear (sweat pants and a t-shirt). "There's a very unlucky fish out there somewhere." 
    I'm fortunate enough to own my own boat, and it was gassed up and ready for some fishing. My two compatriots, Clarence and Horace (not their real names, but they should be), met me at the dock. 
    Horace, who knew something about fishing, brought all the rods and bait. Clarence brought an ice chest filled with food and drink. I also noticed Clarence was wearing an anti-seasickness patch. Pathetic.
    "YOU WEENIE," I cried. "Real men don't need patches. Let's hit the water, boys!!"
     We shoved off and headed towards the Golden Gate. The water was nice and calm, and I laughed again at Clarence's patch. Then we went under the bridge. 
    I guess that's why they call it an ocean. It's not quite as calm as a bay. Being an experienced boater, I knew that. But when you venture outside the bay every four years or so, you tend to forget. If you're stupid, that is, like me. 
    Within minutes I was trying to rip the patch off of Clarence's neck and apply it to mine. He would have none of it. But whatever miracle drug that was keeping him from feeling sick was also making him sleepy. Once he dozed off, I would pounce again. 
    Meanwhile, Horace was preparing the poles to capture our prey. It was the best salmon fishing season in decades. We'd have our limit (two per angler)within minutes and we could get the hell off of this slow moving roller coaster. 
    Three hours later, we hadn't had a nibble, Clarence was still awake, and I was lying down, moaning with every roll of the boat. 
    As the Captain, I could have ordered the boat to head for home. But Horace had spent $100 on equipment, Clarence had spent $65 for food and drink, and I had spent $100 for gas. And most importantly, my wife was waiting to ridicule me as an inept fisherman. And that couldn't happen. We were going to catch a frigging fish. 
    That's when it happened. A tug on the line, and Horace leaped into action. I rolled over to watch, hoping I wouldn't puke. He reeled and reeled, bending and pulling. Clarence got the net ready. I hoped I wouldn't puke.
    I could taste the salmon, and while it made me want to puke at the moment, I knew it would get better. As Horace bravely fought to get his catch in striking distance of the net, all of us caught our first glimpse of our conquest. 
    A jellyfish. 
    We had caught a stinkin' jellyfish. The Family Curse was not only intact, it was mocking me. I could picture millions of salmon swimming happily nearby, laughing. Horace and Clarence had obviously chosen the wrong Captain. 
    "Reel in the lines, boys," I announced, immediately feeling better. "We're going home." 
    As I wobbled in the front door of my lovely house that does not rock or sway, I announced to my wife that she should be proud of her man. 
    "You caught a fish?" she exclaimed.
     "No, the best salmon fishing in decades was no match for The Family Curse," I answered. 
    "Then what should I be proud about?" 
     I squared my shoulders and held my head high. "I never puked."
 

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