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Memoir Monday: Did He Have My Fishing Pole? (Classic Edition)



I used to be a youth minister for my local church. I did it for about 3 years, and I loved every second of it. I quit because I’m an idiot. That’s all you need to know for now. The Missus will confirm this though.
One day, we had a guy come to the church that was a couple years younger than me, and he needed some help. You see, the person who was giving him a place to live had said that he couldn’t live there anymore, and he didn’t have a job of his own.

What he did have, surprisingly enough, was a lot of power tools in his car. Tools that he could use, he said, for any kind of work anyone needed for some cash.

You seeing it yet? Cause I didn’t.
I am a very trusting person. I also pride myself on being somewhat of a dirt poor philanthropist. I took him to my house, and got him fixed up with some clothes and such, and the church put him up in a hotel in a nearby town for a week.

While we were at the house, he looked at me and said, “Is that yours?”

The item in reference was a 13 foot long surf rod, for catching really big fish.

“Yes.” I replied, because it was indeed mine.

“Do you just leave it out like that?” he asked.

“Yeah, its a small town and we really don’t have to worry about theft. Besides I just paid 35 bucks for it. It’s not a very nice rig.”

His response? “So you just leave it out?”

You seeing it yet? Cause I didn’t.
One day later that week, I was down the street at a friend’s house. We were outside doing something, and our wives were inside the house. As we stood there talking, a little black Pontiac Sunfire comes down the street. The car looked vaguely familiar to me.

This Sunfire has a fishing pole sticking out of it. A big fishing pole. About 13 feet, if I had to guess it. The fishing pole was not vaguely familiar. In fact, I recognized immediately as my own.

So what went through my mind? “Oh! Ol boy probably wants to borrow my pole, and I wasn’t there to ask! I’ll just head for the road and give him permission.”

I am nothing if not naive.

So I head down to the road to give this guy permission to use something he’s already borrowed. The second I put my hand up to flag him down, he stomps on the gas and flies around the corner.

Yes, that bus was there. Also, the streets of Okay used to be much better.

You seeing it yet? Cause I finally did.
Acting quickly was of the utmost importance, I knew that. What I didn’t know was that making smart “car chase” decisions was also of the utmost importance.

You see, at that point in our lives, The Missus and I owned a Ford Mustang. It wasn’t a GT, but still, by all means, a fairly quick car, with one important feature that I neglected to recognize. The other vehicle we owned was my trusty 1995 Chevy half ton with a 4.3 liter VorTec engine. It really was a great truck, but it had one major fault.

Of course I neglected to realize the nature of the fault until I was accelerating down the highway, playing catch up to a little black four cylinder Pontiac Sunfire, made drastically less aerodynamic by the presence of my fishing pole jutting out of the passenger side window.

My trusty truck hit 90, and I was gaining a little bit of ground. 95 came and went, and I was cruising. I didn’t know what I was going to do when I caught up to him, but my first thought was to try one of those fancy police moves where you hit their back tire and spin them out. Thank God for what happened next, because the good Lord probably knew I’d kill us both.

My governor kicked in.

Soon, the “high-speed chase” sounded something like this.

“Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa click raaaaaaRAAAAAAAAA click raaaaaaaaaRAAAAAA click.”

Every time I got to 99, it kicked me back down to 90.

I don’t want to short General Motors here. To its credit, that Sunfire weaved in and out of traffic like a nimble ballerina in a graceful production of the “Nutcracker.” My truck was huffing and puffing like an old football coach whose just been challenged to run a sprint by the entire team.

He got away, but I knew where his hotel room was. He wasn’t there. I talked to the manager of the hotel, and he was nice enough to let me into the room, to see if I could find any clues. “Clues” turned up in abundance.

What did we find? Around 764 beer cans, a half naked young lady who claimed to be his girlfriend, and one wicked pissed off pit bull.

It looked just like this…only less classy, if you can imagine that.

We also found a bang ton of power tools. I guess he dumped those so his car would run lighter if he encountered any trouble on his getaway. The hotel manager kicked the girl and the dog out, and I didn’t hear from the guy until later that evening, when he called me crying like a baby.
Pole Stealer: “Travis?”Me: “Yeah, man.”PS: “I’m so sorry I stole your pole. I’m gonna give it back. I just want you to forgive me first”

Ahem. What? I’m as Christian as the next fella, but I’m almost positive that the Lord himself would have needed a minute after what had just happened. So I gave him my most “Christian” response.

Me: “Really? Cause that was pretty stupid, and you could have gotten both of us killed.”PS: “I know, I know. I’m so sorry. Do you forgive me?”

Whatever, if I can get my pole back.

Me: “Yeah man, I forgive you.”PS: “Meet me at Albertson’s tonight, and I’ll have your pole.”Me: “Alright, I’ll see you there.”
You see it? Cause I didn’t.
He never showed. Where is my pole now? It’s on sale at a pawn shop in Muskogee for $15. I refuse to go buy it back. It’s a matter of principle. I thought about filing a police report, but geez. It’s $15.

I did learn something worth a lot more than 15 bucks though. People are not always what they seem to be. And no matter how nice you are to someone, they still might bite you smooth in the teat.

Where do I keep my fishing poles now? Right out in the open, in plain view of everyone.

Let a man borrow your fishing pole, he catches fish for a day. Let a man steal your fishing pole, and he can get a couple of Big Macs, and maybe more “quality time” with the hooker staying in his hotel room.

*This post has been edited from its original version. The links have been removed, and the images have been added by Lauren. I also touched it up for brevity’s sake. TS