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July 25, 2020: Don’t shirk your work

Don’t shirk your work for the sake of a dream. A fish in the dish is worth two in the stream.
Quit Wishing, Go Fishing

I remember being in the fifth grade – we all had to memorize one of three poems in our reader, and then each recite one of these poems. The most ambitious students recited one of the longer poems and the most unambitious students recited this shorter poem. I remember watching the students stand and be accountable. It was great fun, waiting to see who had supposedly memorized each poem.

Shadow eyeballing the last two fish

Me, I took the above poem. It was quick and dirty, and there was no risk of embarrassment in reciting it. Back then, I thought it was just a stupid little poem. Later, when it came back to mind, I realized that it was more rhetorically dangerous than not. Essentially, we young readers were told, in so many words, that dreaming was an unproductive activity. It was instead, more in our best interests to be productive.

Welcome to the American way.

I didn’t take the poem to heart. Though I was a hard worker, I was also a dreamer. I was in fact always the one who got yelled by Sister Mary Albert for day dreaming. I guess I wasn’t too concerned as to the number of fish on my plate. I’m still not concerned.

Pete did take the above poem to heart. He spent the day at Fish Creek, and with his buddy Gene caught 31 fish, more than enough to fill several plates. We had fresh fish tonight, along with greens from Sarah’s garden. Tomorrow we will process all the fish that are on ice in the giant ice chest, and we’ll can most of them.

I have yet to go dipnetting with the guys. The prospect of going does appeal to me because I’d like to be out on a river, casting a net and catching my share of (this time) reds. It would also be fortuitous in that I would be afforded time to daydream. I’m female, and I guess its bad luck to have women in a dipnetting boat. Aside from that, I have an aversion to killing things with eyes, fish included. I know that if I caught a fish, say on the left hand side of the boat, that I’d release it on the right hand side of the boat. Yes, I know that these fish are in the twilight of their years and therefore it’s permissible to do them in. I just couldn’t do this.

I’m the person who purchased a lobster at Newik’s Seafood House in New Hampshire and then took it out to the bay and let it go. Maybe it spawned, and after, there was a lobster cult. If I’d had the money, I would purchased all the lobsters in the big aquarium and released them.

Around here, I continue to shirk my work. And I continue to eat well. So perhaps I am debunking this poem’s main idea. I’d like to think so. I wonder what I’d have written in this dispatch if I’d recited the longer poem.

Next: 206. 7/26/20: And So

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