My grandma always used to tell me the story about when I was two years old…
It seems I would go get the badminton racquet and the birdie and bring it to her. Then she would throw the birdie at the racquet that I was holding and I would hold really still and let it hit. Sometimes I would try to swing the racquet, and would miss the birdie. I would look at her very sincerely and say “You’re doing it wrong Grandma”. She told me that story every time I saw her like I had never heard it before…
Fast forward ten years and now I’m driving my dad crazy. I love my bike and it’s pretty clear to me if I wait around for him to fix it, well it’s probably not going to happen. So I have gotten pretty good at fixing my bike, building new bikes out of bike parts scrounged from around the neighborhood, and general tool induced mayhem.
My theory at that time was crescent wrenches are awesome because you can do just about anything with them. In fact, often my only two tools would be two crescent wrenches!
The part that drove my dad crazy (beside the fact he could never find his tools) was the fact that I would use a crescent wrench as a hammer all the time! Why get up and go find a hammer when I had a perfectly good pounding device in my hand already? He was not a handy man, but he had that “the right tool for the right job” mentality. To me, if pounding on it with a wrench got the job done – well that was good enough for me. The job was done, and I saved a few steps.
I talked to Mike on a dock in Tacoma – I wish I could tell you where I was. I stopped and parked the car after driving past the Glass Museum so I could walk back. I started talking to Mike and never made it.
He was sitting in just the right spot for me to take this photo, so I asked him if he minded. He was cool and gave his consent.
While I was setting up the shot I casually asked him “What kind of fish to you catch here?”.
“I don’t know” he said, “I’ve never caught one.”
And with that he started reeling in his line, and up and out of the water came a chartreuse spinner that had been sitting on the bottom of the inlet. He looked at me to make sure I had seen what he was fishing with, reached back and cast it back out and let it sink to the bottom. Then he turned and smiled at me and went back to just sitting there holding his pole. His spinner just sitting there on the bottom.
While I took a few photos I had to ask him why he fishes with no bait. After all, he was clearly “doing it wrong” (didn’t share that sentiment with him out loud). He replied “my doctor told me to fish, but I don’t like to catch them”.
He suffers from anxiety attacks… stress related he told me. He went to the doctor and was told that he needed to find ways to relax. At the time I still couldn’t get over the fact that he’s using these tools in all the wrong ways – so I asked him if it’s working. He answered that he had been “fishing” for about an hour at that point, and he had sat there the whole time. Before he went to the doctor he couldn’t sit still for longer than 10 minutes.
“So it’s working… I guess” he said offhandedly.
He put his pole down and stood up to get a 7up out of his cooler. We stood there and talked for a while. He works in IT for an IT security firm – he had to be to work at 4:00. You can see his name tag sticking out from under his jacket in the photo. He lives just down the dock in a condo there, and he loves Tacoma and living on the water like that. In fact, his whole life was going great until the anxiety attacks started. Now he comes down to fish several times a week – “it’s a nice way to sit and think about things” he said, and it seems to be working.
Using the tools of fishing to relax, without any of the worry of actually catching a fish – it’s almost like MIke’s pounding out the stress with a crescent wrench.