Thursday, September 16, 2004


“Why ask for help and listen to these old geezers? Clean time means nothing,” declared Willy, a ninety-day wonder, at a meeting. “It’s all one day at a time, right? And my day began at the same time as everybody else’s, so that means my clean time is as good as anyone else’s.”

After the meeting, two old-timers glanced at each other. The one called Pete asked his friend, “Harry, should we invite him to go fishing?”

Harry nodded in agreement. “Out at Old Bluff Pond.”

The two old-timers asked Willy if he wanted to go fishing with them. “I don’t know,” answered Willy suspiciously.

“Is it because you aren’t very good at fishing?” asked Harry.

“I can fish just as good as either of you two,” Willy declared.

“Then come along,” said Pete.”

Willy agreed to come. Early the next morning Willy showed up at Old Bluff Pond with his fishing gear, and the three of them got in the boat and paddled out to the middle.

After a few minutes Pete said, “Harry, I feel like a fool. I forgot my tackle box.” As Willy watched wide-eyed, the old-timer stepped out of the boat, walked across the water to the shore, picked up his tackle box, and walked on the water back to the boat. He got in the boat and began fishing. Willy stared at the man, but refused to ask what he wanted to ask. He gripped his fishing pole tightly and remained silent.

About an hour later, Pete broke out his lunch and began eating. Harry looked around in the boat and said, “Now who's the fool, Pete? Would you believe I forgot my lunch? I must've left it in the car.” With Willy looking on in amazement, Harry got up, climbed out of the boat, walked across the water to the shore, got his lunch box from the car, and walked back to the boat across the water. He got in the boat, sat down, and began eating his lunch.

Willy stared at the two old-timers. He had his lunch with him in his tackle box, but he was determined to show the old-timers that he could do anything they could do. With his eyes narrowed and his jaw set, Willy said, “I must've left my lunch in the car, too.” With that, he stepped out of the boat and went into the water right over his head. He came up, gasped for air, struggled forward another step, then went under again, just a few bubbles coming up until the next time he broke the surface gasping for air, his arms flailing at the water. Refusing to look back, Willy struggled toward the shore, every now and then going in over his head, choking and coughing for air.

As Willy fought toward the shore, Pete said to Harry, “Think we ought to tell him where the rocks are?”

“When he asks," replied Harry.

My spiritual awakening had a snooze button. —Overheard

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