I have a son and a son-in-law who are both avid fisherman. My son has fished all of his life and would rather fish than eat. His definition of a fisherman is someone who spends ten hours with a fly rod, follows a trout up a stream in hip waders, hides in the shadows and drifts a fly under its nose a dozen times until it strikes. He then teases it into his net on too-small of line, and after taking a photo, releases it back into the stream. To him, that is a true fisherman.
My Son-in-law lives in Alaska and has fished all of his life also. His definition of a fisherman is someone who walks up to a river, pulls out 200 pounds of salmon in an hour, fillets it on the bank, takes it home and cans or freezes it, and then eats it every day for the remainder of the year. His definition of a fisherman is someone who charters a boat, goes twenty miles in choppy seas, barfs a few times, catches a 300 pound halibut, brings it home and puts it in the freezer and eats it.
Last year, my son told us many stores about his fishing. My son-in-law’s wife, our daughter, sends us pictures of them on the banks with rows of fish, the smallest of which is about two-feet long. For Christmas last year they gave us 50 pounds of halibut and salmon.
The last time they were both in our home together they argued about who was actually a real fisherman, the guy who teases one fish from the stream and releases it, or the one who pulls wagon loads of fish from teeming streams with very little finesse and eats them. After a while I changed the subject to politics, which at the moment seemed a safer topic than fishing.
Yesterday I read an article by some political professor of something or the other who hates a certain Mormon candidate, and was making the case that Mormons are not Christians. He acknowledged that we call ourselves Christians, and we do Christian things, and worship someone we call Christ, but who just is not actually Jesus Christ. His reasoning was something about some doctrine we don’t actually espouse, but that someone said a century ago, which now disqualifies us all from being Christians. And since we’re not Christians, all Mormons are going to hell, the candidate is the devil’s agent, and should be the subject of great contempt and distrust to all Americans.
I couldn’t help but think of my son, the great fisherman who catches one fish and has loud disdain for his brother-in-law’s “fishermanship” who practically lives on fish, but who is not a fisherman by his definition.
Just sayin . . .
© April 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted