Reluctantly smearing sunblock over every exposed inch of my fifty-three pound body, I prepared mentally for the arduous task that lay ahead of me. After several miserable fishing ventures which had left my skin red and my hook bare, I felt certain that, at last, my day had arrived. I stood ready to clear the first hurdle of manhood, triumph over fish. At the age of seven, I was confident that my rugged, strapping body could conquer any obstacle. Pity the fish that would become the woeful object of the first demonstration of my male prowess.
Engaging me deeply was my naive eagerness to traverse the chasm dividing boy from man. In fact, so completely absorbed was I in my thoughts that the lengthy journey to our favorite fishing spot seemed fleeting. The sudden break in the droning of the engine snapped me to reality. Abruptly jarred back into the world, I fumbled for my fishing pole. Dangling the humble rods end over the edge of the boat, I released the bail on the reel and plunked the cheap plastic lure into the water. Once I had let out enough line and set the rod in a holder, I sat back to wait for an attack on the lure. The low hum of the motor at trolling speed only added to my anxiety, like the instrumental accompaniment to a horror film. And then it hit. A sharp tug on the line pulled me to my feet faster than an electric shock. I bounded to the pole, and when I reached it, I yanked it out of the holder with all of my might. My nervous energy was so potent that when I tugged on the rod, I nearly plunged headlong over the side of the boat and into the fish’s domain. Although adrenaline streamed through my veins, after five minutes both my unvanquishable strength and my superhuman will were waning steadily. Just when I was fully prepared to surrender to the fish and, with that gesture, succumb to a life of discontentment, pain, and sorrow, the fish performed a miraculous feat. Shocked and instantly revived, I watched as the mahi-mahi leapt from the oceans...
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