Friday, March 21, 2008


Just home from Florida, a little art selling, a little paddling, a little fishing, and a bit of beer drinking. So time for a fishing story. Sort of.

Last spring, the Cape Crusaders, a group of aging smart asses who follow the Professor around Cape Cod harassing Stripers with fly rods, were heading out for a striper jaunt. As we sailed down I-90, we crossed into Massachusetts, and the Professor yanked the rig into the first rest-stop. He sprinted, (he would call it a sprint, Magic and I would probably say fast hobble or scuttle), disappeared into the store, and came back quicker than I would have expected given his exit. He had a bag of ice in his hand. Emergency ice stop?

He reentered the van, yanked the top off the small cooler, and poured the ice over our arrival beers, saying, The jangling was driving me nuts!!!!

Jangling? I hadn’t noticed anything. I don’t think Magic had either as he burst out laughing the same time I did. Dr. Bombay and Ready Kilowatt looked puzzled.

Of course we had all regressed to approximately 8th grade, and the level of harassment and noise were - well, sustained would be a reasonable description. I hadn’t noticed any jangling.

The Professor writes code for a living. I think he even has a decoder ring. He is a problem solver. He’s really good at it. When faced with a problem, he solves it. I don’t think he can help himself. Borderline OCD. Or maybe just cloaked OCD. At any rate, he’s great company and a good friend, excellent fly tier, all ‘round mother hen and puts up with the jangling Magic and I produce. And we’ve had some great adventures. A few with problems he couldn’t solve. Swim, Professor, swim.

I grew up in a big, active, loud family. It might even have been described as jangly. I think it conditioned me early to operate in the middle of a level of chaos. I prefer fishing fast pocket water rather than spring creeks, pushy steelhead rivers rather than placid lakes, rough weather at the Cape rather than sunshine. When kayaking I will pass by a glassy surf wave to surf a big, trashy, pulsing, beast. I love Black Tongue and the Waikiki waves on the Ottawa. I did a good share of my studio projects in college on the family kitchen table, with siblings watching television, playing, harassing, hustling to finish before the table was needed for dinner. It wasn’t without a level of stress, but I got some things done. I, like anyone, can be bothered by too much distraction. But I like some jangle, probably more than just a little. NPR in the background. Music. It keeps the parts of my mind engaged and connected that might otherwise run off on their own, actually helping me focus on my work. Idle hands are the tools of..... who was it? My idle gray matter is much the same.

One persons jangling is another persons texture. All the things I love to do are the things that make me feel connected to the texture of my life. Painting, drawing, making stuff, paddling, fly casting, skiing, riding, reading. Being with family, friends, the dogs. It is the feeling of connection and grounding that texture provides that make me feel part of something. It is when I am faced with just one thing, one problem I have to focus on, to the exclusion of all else, that I can get a little nuts. Like bookkeeping. As April 15th rears it’s ugly head.

Or maybe I’m just ADD. I’m really envious of the Professor’s ability to focus.

People have been given nicknames - well, not to protect the innocent, but ‘cause I can’t help myself. If you hang around with me enough, and do something revealing/notable, I’m probably gonna tag you. The only rule I have for nicknames is you don’t get to name yourself- how many Slicks do we need? And you shouldn’t hate it. The namee should get a kick out of it, too. Mr. Price? Are you listening? Fisher? Remember,The Skipper actually tagged you.

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