Friday, February 22, 2008

Short on Talent

This year my compatriot, George M. Ewing, and I decided to make our initial foray into the wilds of competitive bass fishing. George bought the boat, I bought several thousand dollars worth of rods, reels, and stuff we don’t need (mostly plastic tool-like devices that DO NOT FLOAT); and off we went.

We joined the a prominent local Bass Club (40 two-man teams fishing one tournament per month) and I attended the first Bass Club meeting; held in a small employee meeting room in the back of Bass Pro Shops. I initially didn’t go in because the sign on the door clearly said “employees only.” I stopped with my hand on the knob and thought to myself:

“Wait. Am I an employee? No. I am not an employee. Then this sign is for me. If this sign is for me, then how did those other people get in? Are they employees? They must be. I do not see a Bass Club sign anywhere. I suddenly find that I do not know what to do or where to go. I also am not sure I can go through this door with all this un-purchased merchandise in my hands.”

Doubtless my evening would have ended differently had a voice belonging to the man behind me not said, “son, are you going to go in or not?” as he gently nudged me into the room.

The first thing I noticed as I entered the rear of the room is that the meeting room smelled strongly of smoke and dude, but nobody was actually smoking. This lead me to believe that various members of our esteemed club have not read the recent literature on tobacco use. I also noted a proliferation of blue jeans, boots, spit cups, carhartt logos, and beards. As I took note of these things it came to my attention that the registration table was at the front of the room, whereas I was standing at the back… my business suit, tie, and little tassel loafers.

There was nothing for it but to go so, resigned to my fate, I trudged (tassels flopping) down the center isle to the front of the room. Clippity, clop.

After the twitter in the audience diminished to indoor levels, the man at the tournament registration table said “Can I help you?”

Yes. I want to register for a bass tournament. My team name is ‘Swamp Bass’.

Had I pranced through there naked in a coon skin cap I doubt anyone would have been more surprised.

“Well alright” he said, “but we don’t really do team names here. Just your first names go right here on the board.”

Then we’re Team Jimmy and George, but can’t we just be ‘Swamp Bass’? We came up with it today.


Well, I guess ‘Team Jimmy and George" is fine.

“It’s just going to read ‘Jimmy and George Ewing.’”

Not “Team Jimmy and George?”


Ok then.

Our first tournament was this past weekend. We took stock of our gear and found that we had dual sonar, swimbaits, trolling motors, crankbaits, worms, jigs, jigheads, line, bags, culling bags, culling markers, motor oil, and various motor fluids, fuses, lights, vests, raingear, and crawfish scent spray. Anything a reasonable person might need to catch a fish, we have, and its brand new.

What we’re short on is: talent.

After 9 straight hours of fishing we weighed in exactly: zero fish. We’d have been every bit as successful fishing in the bathtub.

But have no fear! The Swamp Bass will ride again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I’m taking this opportunity to thank all the attendees of the Tripp Maddux and James G. Ewing, Jr Memorial Deer Camp Squirrel Hunting Championship of the World Invitational Tournament* for their patronage and to congratulate the Winner (Dad), First Loser (Seth), and Losingest Loser (Thomas Benton) on their new titles for 2008.

Subcommittee Estimator, Reid Maddux, through his exhaustive review of tournament results has estimated for us the following:

1. Rounds fired: 2,000
2. Squirrels killed: 42
3. Collateral damage (chipmunks and birds): 6
4. Alcohol consumption per person: lots, mostly by Tripp
5. Tenderloin consumed: 25lbs
6. Rounds required to sight in Mark Stephen’s 1942-vintage rifle: 300
7. Profanity: average
8. Food: excellent

In all, I deem it a “huge success”.

I’d also like to congratulate the winners of the Telling of the Lie Ceremony (which we forgot to hold). Had we not been so consumed with tallying the scores we’d have recognized Buster Slocumb and Bryan Nix for their fine, upstanding, RSVP card responses. Here they are:

My rifle’s name is: JEANNE (incidentally also his wife's name)
The worst thing I have ever done is: FELL ON a 2’ LONG PIECE OF BAMBOO, ANAL TRACT FIRST.
The money buried on my property is located: IN THE BARN.

Please address me as: WORLD CHAMPION, SIR.
My Rifle’s Name is: SUZANNE
The money buried on my property is located: 3’ SOUTHWEST FROM THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF MY SEPTIC TANK.

Among my favorite non-winning responses were Seth’s response to both questions which was “BEND OVER AND I'LL SHOW YOU” and Uncle Robert’s rifle’s name: “SPARKY” as well as the worst thing Uncle Robert ever did which he succinctly stated as: "A FELONY" (which he was completely unable to explain in mixed company).

I named my rifle Betty (a.k.a. Thor the Destroyer) – in honor of my friend at work who does not appreciate hunting…at all. She also does not appreciate that I now tell people “Betty killed lots of squirrels this weekend”, so I sort of win twice like that; and you know I like to win.

Despite suffering from an intense amount of depression due to the full month of zero hunting activity between now and turkey season - I’m happy to report that I’ve begun mentally planning the next BIG EVENT for this summer, as well as mulling over details of the next annual Squirrel World Championship in 2009.

So, please raise your glasses and join me in a toast: TO THE WICKED SQUIRREL!



*Celebrating the Dance of the Wicked Squirrel since 2008.