The Outsider: Snapped rods and bruised pride
|By Will Jones - The Outsider | August 23, 2018|
I’m a slow learner, I guess, partly because this fact only dawned upon me this week, after I snapped the end off of a very beautiful, antique split cane fly fishing rod. I was unlucky, though, but that doesn’t really cut it when the fishing rod belongs to someone else. The thing is, this accident should never have happened, it should never even have been on the cards because I should have known what was going to transpire. And, in my defense, albeit a defense that makes me look even more stupid, I did mutter under my breath, “don’t do this, you know you’ll break it.”
But let’s forget the rod for a moment and go back some 30 years to a time when I was more innocent, more stupid and even less likely to know better. There I stood, a teenager, at the road edge leaning against my 50cc motorbike, a little dirt bike. I watched as my mate sped by on his 125cc Yamaha. Oh how I wanted to ride that bike. And so, when he asked if I would like to take it for a spin I jumped at the chance. Helmet on, visor down, off I went, racing up to the intersection, half a glance, nothing comin’, “KERRUNCH!” I somersaulted across the hood of the car, skidded down the tarmac and ended up sitting on my backside at the curb edge, nothing damaged except the knees of my new jeans and my pride. The car was relatively unscathed too and the driver more concerned about me, but the bike ... Let’s just say that my pal was not my pal for quite a while after that day.
Fast forward to some eight or nine years ago and me living here in Canada. A new friend and I were trading stories over a few beers. He laughed at my bike crash story and said, “Yup, never borrow stuff that you don’t want to break or can’t afford to fix.” Wise words indeed and I clinked a bottle with him and heartily agreed. And then there’s the fishing rod. Its owner, a man I’d met just days before, learned that I like to fly fish, and so brought the rod, and a wicker creel down to the dock to show me. Disappearing to attend to some chore, he left me with the rod half out of its travel tube and yet to examine the creel. Rod assembled and ‘swished a bit’, I opened the creel to find a reel and box of flies. My stomach tightened, I had never cast a split cane rod before and here were all the tools I needed to do it but no mention had been made of me doing so.
“Oh, this is bad,” I mumbled as I attached the reel and pulled line through the eyes of the rod. “Don’t do it, you know you’ll break it,” but now I was tying on the fly. My first cast was tentative, too delicate, too knowing of what must follow, but me being a slow learner I shrugged the foreboding off and got on with being a dufus. Snap. Minutes later I was walking to the house to find the owner of the rod, hoping he wouldn’t mind that it now had one more section than when I put it together not 10 minutes previous. My friend’s words rang deafening in my ears, my heart had sunk as low as it could go. But do you think I’ll wise up? Is 30 years long enough for a slow learner? I hope so but don’t count on it, and don’t lend me anything.
WILL JONES - is The Outsider