I had a problem. We were going fishing. The fishing, in and of itself, wasn’t the issue. I didn’t mind fishing. I like fishing. The idea of drifting aimlessly across the sound while eating peanut butter crackers was a great idea. The company would be pleasurable. Daddy was going and so was cousin Lonnie. The problem was me. I have a small bladder and the boat possessed a single bucket. My fear was this: I would spend more time peeing and less time fishing; either in the bucket or over the side of the boat. Yes, I’m a frequent consumer of nonalcoholic beverages including water. What can I say?
For 12 hours, I went off the liquids as best I could. When I boarded the boat the next morning, I was going to be as dry as a Methodist fellowship hall during the waning days of prohibition. It’s easier said than done. The rhythmic nature of the water has a subliminal way of communicating with the human bladder. At least that’s my theory. Like Jesus turning water into wine, nothing has the ability to become something when you’re miles from the comfort of your own bathroom. Once I see water, I think water, and when I think water, a kind magic happens within my bladder. Magellan would have out put me off in Manila. I would have never made the whole round the world trip.
As we drifted and floated, bobbed and weaved, I was able to keep my need to find the bucket in check. The fish provided a distraction, an exciting focus beyond the pressure building inside me. For every Sea Bass which grabbed the bait on my hook, I momentarily forgot that I needed to pee. Gradually, the fish began to bite with greater frequency. Time was not, however, on my side. This was only a half day trip. My mind understood this but other parts of my body didn’t grasp what they were being asked to do. I would either get over my fear of buckets or make it to the dock. Those were my two options. The world appeared black and white. I could go bucket or go home. That was before Lonnie found the Skate.
Near the end of the morning, Lonnie scored the catch of the day. Whatever it was, it was big. The line kept pulling and he went on reeling. Lonnie’s not a big boy but he gave this thing a run for it’s money. I mean to tell you this was one more finned whopper. It turned, dove, went left, right, and then tried to do other tricks I’ve only seen in National Geographic specials. This was a much larger fish than any of the mullets or sea bass we’d caught earlier in the day. According to the wiser hands on deck, this thing had to be at least a hundred pounds or better. It was most likely a Skate. (By this time, I was nodding at all fishing and nautical terms as if I was one with the sea though clearly, I was full of pee and clueless.)
No one was quite sure if the small rod and reel Lonnie had was going to be adequate to bring this monster on board. To be honest, if this thing was such a beast, I wasn’t sure I wanted to look it in the face. Things were getting pretty hectic. Daddy was taking pictures. The crew was running back in forth. Lonnie was pulling and reeling. The fish was racing beside the boat like some kind of undersea racehorse just beneath the water and out of our vision. With all of my focus gone, I felt compelled to offer my explanation as to why we couldn’t bring it on board, “maybe it’s allergic to people pee?”