Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Legend of the Co-Angler Part II: Managing Expectations

Recently, Buster drew a Co-Angler that I have personally hosted in the past. He asked me in advance "is this guy a retard?" which loosely translated meant "What do I need to be aware of with this Co-Angler?"

I said, "No, he's ok. His English is so-so, but he stays out of the way for the most part. He can't back a trailer so you'll have to handle the launch yourself unless you want to watch something really special happen at the boat ramp at daylight. Trust me, I've seen it."

Buster cut his eyes at me across the tops of his sunglasses, said "O K" like that (with quotations) and drove off.

At the end of the tournament Buster pulled up in a hazy cloud of diesel emissions and said (by way of greeting) "Hey that guy is A Idiot just so you know" (sic).

I have learned to ask very vague questions instead of making statements, so I responded with "Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. Well, he is A Idiot. We got done fishing and you know how your Co-Angler is supposed to give you gas money for driving his butt around all day? $40 is the basic minimum. Most anybody will give you $40. Now, I don't care - don't get me wrong, but it's just the principal of the thing. You want somebody to at least offer up some cash - especially if you catch fish."

"Ok." I said, cautiously (without quotations) mentally adding up the number of times I'd fished with Buster and paid him approximately zero dollars.

"Well, we got done fishing and he rooted around in his elastic fishing pants and came out with 4 sweaty dollar bills and some change. Four dollars! I gave it right back to him, sprinkled the change all across his shoes and said "Enricardo" (which is definitely not his name) "that ain't enough".

I can only imagine 8 hours of being called "Enricardo" may have slowly eaten away at Buster's $40 Co-Angler donation, but I can only speculate.

Buster went on: "Enricardo (again, not his name) said 'Well, I have three children out of wedlock and my girlfriend and I are separated and I am having to pay $1,200 a month in child support and so..... and SO...Ah...I Am......Poor.'

I said, "HAH! Everybody is P O O R! Tough petunias! Sounds like a personal problem to me! If you think you can't afford your children you should try some of mine! You need to be at a worky-job right now, Enricardo - not out fishing in rural Alabama like an irresponsible butthole".

He produced a roast beef sammich from somewhere on his person and took an angry pull, giving me time to gather my thoughts. In my opinion, anytime you get to look someone directly in the eye, call him a "butthole" and offer him "life advice" in the same breath - you, sir, Have Become A Man. That's about as "Alpha" a move as I know of.

Out of the blue this had really gotten interesting so, I said "go ahead" which means "please continue" over a walkie-talkie.

Buster obliged:....."So I asked him "Enricardo: are you a Christian" and he said. . .  . . 'No'! How about THAT, huh? In all my life of asking people that question I have literally never, not ever, I mean NEVER had somebody just say 'No.' like that. I've had people say 'Well, I am a CATHOLIC' or 'I am a Baptist' or 'My Momma luved me and she was a Presbyterian' or whatever - which suggests they don't know what in the hell they are, but never have I had somebody say 'No'. I didn't even know what to say back! There ain't a good starting place there, you know?

So I said, 'look here, Enricardo, take your $4 and your grubby change and go home and get one more job in addition to the one you got now. If you insist on fishing 'on the cheap' - just hitch-hike and don't eat anything for two days if you have to, but make sure you pay your boater for gas or word will get out that you're a damn cheapskate. If that happens nobody will help you when you're fishing and you'll find yourself in the back of a boat pointed directly away from anything worth fishing and completely unable to do anything about it. And also - learn to operate a damn dip net properly. Watching you net fish today was like watching a guy with no hands try to fix a television set.'"

And with that, he left.

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