Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fishing for Glory

Every once in a while, I am called on by the Intelligent Designer to assist him in keeping the grand design on track. For instance, in the summer of 1977, along with my wife and assorted in-laws, I packed up and headed for a lake near North Bay, Ontario, for a week of fishing and semi-roughing it in a cabin owned by Brian, my brother-in-law, and his family. I had been fishing just once before. One summer morning when I was seven or eight, my dad and two other neighborhood dads took six of us to an out-of-the-way spot, where we spent several hours watching bobbers float on a languid stream and never saw a fish.

Brian attempted to teach our father-in-law Bill, whose lack of experience with a rod rivaled mine, and me to fish. As students, Bill and I had trouble focusing. This was Canada, after all, and there was always a bottle of Molson's or LaBatt's within easy reach. And we did want to drink in the Canadian experience, eh. As a result, each time Brian pulled his line from the water that week there was a fish attached, while Bill and I pulled up little more than an occasional sample of aquatic plant life.

When the week was done, however, I was the one who had reeled in the biggest fish. To be honest, it wasn't much bigger than many of the fish Brian landed, and it was the only one I caught that week. But it was the biggest, and I am sure there was something bigger than myself at work that day.

I was sitting with three others in a small motorboat. My line was in the water, and my mind was somewhere else, perhaps in the gutter. "Tom, I think you've got a fish," Brian yelled, rousing me from my reverie.

I hadn't been paying attention and was momentarily unable to properly assess the situation. But some force got my hand cranking the reel. A minute later, a northern pike was beside the boat. With one nifty flick of my wrists, or maybe after several maladroit attempts at niftiness, the fish was onboard and madly flopping around. Exhausted from the epic battle, I let Brian remove the hook and put the beast out of its misery.

But why me? Why did it fall to me to land the leviathan of the week? Was it just one of those things? No. The Intelligent Designer had detected some dangerous irregularity in that fish, and in order to preserve the northern pike gene pool and to prevent any unauthorized evolution, he called upon me. And I, a novice angler, answered his call. The world is a better place because I was there when the Intelligent Designer decided that fish had to go.

To be put in that situation and to acquit myself as nobly as I did makes me humble. And I am so very, very proud - justly proud, I think, of my humility.

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