Wednesday, November 18, 2009

But You Only Work Nine Months a Year ...

The really hard thing about being a dedicated bug chucker, father of triplets, and high school teacher is the timing. From November through January, the stars align to keep me off the water.

First and foremost, there are the paternal obligations of being a father during the holidays. Turkies need to be carved, trees cut, lights strung, gifts purchased. Of course, those gifts will only find their way under the tree if Daddy puts in some overtime.

For a teacher, overtime usually means coaching, chaperoning, or mentoring. Dances, basketball games, wrestling matches. During the winter, I'm there for all of it. Don't misunderstand me. It isn't that I don't enjoy the time I spend with my students. I generally do, and I haven't forgotten how haggard my father looked after doing a double shift at the factory. I know when to count my blessings. I do, but ...

A few days ago, my friend Shawn Brillon sent me the photos attached to this post. Shawn is the fly and fly-tying product developer for the Orvis company, and in one of the pictures he is hard at work "field-testing" Orvis' new line of Helios switch rods. He reports having had his best day ever in twenty years of fishing Lake Ontario tributaries. Thirty hook-ups with twelve fish landed.

Are you kidding me? You have got to be freakin' kidding me! He's off hooking steelies on the company's dime, and I'm watching prepubescent boys miss lay-ups.

I know what you're going to say ... "But you only work nine months a year." I suppose that's true, and I suppose we all have our respective crosses to bear.

My cross is made out of chrome.