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The Fisher of Stories



You might have noticed that I’m starting to live life a little differently. The Missus claims I’m having a mid-life crisis. This could very well be the case, seeing as men in my family rarely live past the age of 40. However, I just think it has to do with me realizing that I was NOT happy living the way I was living.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a pretty sweet life. Married to the woman of my dreams, good job, decent vehicles, food on the table, and even a Netflix account.
But I started feeling a little TOO comfortable.
So I started Tae Kwon Do. I fought for the first time in my life. I got on stage at a comedy club and gave open mic night a shot. I’ve started trying to push myself into doing things I wouldn’t normally do.
Sometime in the very near future, I’M GOING TO RIDE A BULL.
However, there is one thing that The Missus and I have talked about doing for a long time, and now the time has finally come. You see, most of you know about our fertility issues and what not. If you don’t, ask someone else, don’t ask me, because I’m tired of answering questions. We went to a fertility doctor recently, and just for the bare minimum amount of treatment, (a $10 prescription) it would cost around $1000 a month. We just don’t really have that kind of cheddar laying around, and if we did, I’d probably be eating it, because hey. It’s CHEESE.
So…drumroll please…
We’re going to adopt a child. That’s right, this big guy’s going to be a dad. We got the paperwork from DHS all filled out and turned in, and right now we’re just waiting to go from there. We have references lined up that will hopefully tell everyone how wonderful we are and how big my heart is, and hopefully not that the doctors call that big heart “enlarged.” If The Missus gets knocked up afterwards, all you people who said, “Just adopt, you’ll get pregnant,” will get to say that you’re right, and then you get to move in with us and be our housekeeper/babysitter.
We’re making life decisions at the Sloat house, and we’re stepping outside of our comfort zone to do it. So I have a question for you. What are YOU doing to step outside of your comfort zone? I’m not suggesting that everyone go out and ride a bull or adopt a child. But what have you wanted to do for a long time but never had the guts to try? Why aren’t you doing it? Just about everyone of us can fulfill a dream without being careless, so why won’t you try? The payoff is amazing, and you might just find yourself looking at that boring life of yours with a new vim and vigor.
And you better believe I’ll blog about riding that bull.
Oh. And the kid.

(Hey y’all. This little thing is called Memoir Monday, and I’d be thrilled if you gave it a shot. Just jot down a story about yourself, grab my code down there, and I’ll link you up to be read by all my wonderful blog buddies. The only rule? It has to be true. I am personally doing what I can to help cure your case of the Mondays. Thanks for playing along!)image
So you’ve read the title, and you’re thinking, “Did this guy EAT squirrel?” The answer is yes, yes I did. And it was good. Aside from the slight damage to a molar caused by biting down on a pellet of bird shot. And the lead poisoning that followed.
Anyway, this story is about the time I saw my dad pull off the greatest shot in the history of the world.
We were out hunting squirrels and weren’t having a very good time of it. We didn’t see any close enough to shoot, and we were starting to get antsy. I was about 13 or 14 at the time, and I was in the process of starting to think that my parents were pretty lame. Aside from that, there were the usual hormones of wanting to kill stuff, and I had just about recovered from that time I had to shoot a bird 42 times to kill it.
We’re walking along and we come across a tree that has fallen over in the woods. We weren’t there when it happened, so I don’t know if it made any noise or not.
Cue slow motion dream sequence.
My dad jumped up on the tree. In doing so, he caused an understandably startled squirrel to jump up from its hiding place on the ground and make a run for the safety of a tree that was less vertically challenged.
It never made it.
My dad made one of the most incredibly on-a-tree pirouettes I’ve ever seen, lined the sights up, and fired, causing him to be pushed backwards by the kick of the gun. He landed on his butt on the ground, whereupon he and I both thought to look and see if he’d hit the squirrel.
All we saw was a big pile of leaves, and we were both pretty disappointed, mostly because he’d pulled off an incredible falling off a log shot (gun safety be damned) and we wanted a payoff. I walked over and kicked at the pile of leaves and felt something a little more solid make contact with my foot. I rooted around a bit and pulled out a very surprised looking and very dead squirrel with a rear end full of bird shot.
He’d pulled it off. He was a ninja squirrel shooting hero.That was the only squirrel we killed that day, but it was worth every step of hunt to see that shot.
After that my dad was cool for another 2 weeks or so, then I’m sure I went back to thinking he was pretty lame for a while. But to this day I can see him plain as day, spinning, having the presence of mind to line the shot up, and firing, all while falling backwards. These are the crystal clear memories I’m thankful for, and I hope I never forget them.

Other Memoir Monday Posts (GO READ THEM!!)

Ed’s Memoir Monday: My Pawpaw.

Madmother’s Memoir Monday: The Boy Sure Can Dance.

Hello there, my name is Rain. I don’t usually tell people my last name, just because this crazy world can do a lot with a person’s full name, but I’ll tell you, because you’ll never believe me. It’s Storm. My full legal name is Rain Anabell Storm. I told you that you wouldn’t believe it. My parents insisted that they called me that because I was born into this world on June 22nd, 1991, during the worst storm in the history of the small town where I live. I think they did it because they were hippies. It doesn’t matter now, they’re dead and I’m currently on a mission, unable to contact a courthouse about possible name change
I should probably start at the beginning. You see, my parents died while taking me home from the hospital. I was 2 days old at the time. It was a car theft gone bad, and my parents were both understandably belligerent with the thief because of their newborn child in the back, so he shot them both in the head. The newspapers from that day say that he then went on with me in the back, and he drove almost 50 miles before the car we were in was struck by a piece of metal thrown from the road by a tire. It came through the windshield, killing him instantly.
Two days later, the doctor who had delivered me died suddenly of a massive heart attack. Then the EMS worker who pulled me from the wrecked car was diagnosed with cancer. He lasted 2 weeks. The pieces of the puzzle were put together surprisingly quickly, and I was quickly sequestered for “the safety of the general public.” I grew up alone. I had no friends. I had no enemies. I was watched from afar, never talked to unless it was on an intercom, and I was studied incessantly by doctors who never stood near me unless there was a wall between us.
My name, I’m afraid, has been my curse. I’m not wanted anywhere.                The way I’ve been treated would have cracked a lot of children. It would have sent them spiraling out of control down a long stairway of madness and into the basement of senility, where deep rooted issues take up permanent refuge in the now clouded home of the mind. However, I’ve come through it okay. I believe I can be useful. There are things I can do that you normal people cannot.                It is those things that I am doing now, even as I write this. You see, I’ve escaped. I’m not as dumb as one might think I am after being cooped up all those years. It gave me time to think, to plot, to notice weaknesses and flaws in the system. Three nights ago I made my nighttime run towards freedom, and I headed south.                You see, while I was incarcerated, I was given access to newspapers, television, the internet, and several other types of news media. There was a man being hunted in Mississippi. He goes by the name Thomas Fields, and he is wanted for 32 counts of murder in the state. He claims the longest list of victims in Mississippi’s history. His face has littered the pages of papers, the screens of televisions, and the monitors of computers every day for 2 years now. And still no one can find him.                I’m in bed with Thomas now. His hand is resting on my naked thigh, and he is snoring softly. Finding him was simple. Apparently I’m an attractive woman. There are many advantages given to the attractive, such as being able to ask questions and get very accurate information, especially out of men.                He’s stopped snoring now, but he’s still breathing. I wonder how long it will take?                You see, I can be useful. I will be useful. I will forever be known as Rain Storm, and with that name comes a curse. I will never know love, and I will never meet anyone I actually want to meet. I won’t have friends. Walking will be my method of travel. It will be a lonely life with absolutely no recognition for my actions, but that’s okay, I don’t want any. I just want the world to be a better place.                Justice, like the weather for which I was named, is seldom wanted. However, it was delivered here tonight, because Thomas is no longer of this world. I have to close this journal now, pack up and head towards Los Angeles.                Am I coming to see you?
imagephoto creditThere are lots of walks that people make in their lifetime. Some are important, some are not. Some of those walks are tougher than others, and some seem like they take forever, because you know you can’t wait to have what’s at the end. Some are painful, some are joyous. Some are profitable, some will end with you losing everything.

Whether we do it purposefully or accidentally, most of us walk into our destiny.

As I get older, most of my walks are getting easier.

There is one walk however, that I just can’t seem to master.

It’s about 75 feet. I usually make it later in the day, and I don’t make it near as often as I should, because it’s tough. I make it 25 feet, and I break down. I pass the memories of others on the way, but those are overshadowed by my own. The sadness is a tangible thing, I can feel it, it thickens the air, it is heavy and oppressing.

There are two stones in the ground just before I arrive at my destination. They are marked with letters I can’t recall, no names. I step over them every time, and yet I give no thought to who they might of been. Looking past my destination, I see another name, I won’t mention it here, but my heart aches for the family every time I see it.

At last I’m standing in front of it, and the reality sinks in. On one side is my mother’s name. It has her date of birth, and then nothing. A fear grips me. The fear of when I’ll see a date there. I calm myself, then I see the name. Brian Ronald. Then I look to the top of the headstone and see my surname. Sloat. It sinks in.

I cry.

When the tears fall, they start a battle inside my soul. One half wants to curse God for taking him. The other half knows the “Sunday School” answer, and knows that he is in a better place. The war rages within me, it is a struggle between life and death, fairness and spirituality. Anyone who has ever seen me talk about my dad has seen this battle raging in my eyes.

The bitter side of me that wants to curse God hasn’t won in a long time. I wonder when it will die?

Saturday night I went there. I had a mission.

You see, I had a lucky fishing lure. It caught more fish than any other lure I’ve ever had. It was a white and black rooster tail with one of the treble hooks broken off. I used it a couple weeks ago and caught several fish with it, and then the lure became too damaged to use anymore. I still didn’t want to get rid of it though.

Then a thought hit me.

I’d give it to dad.

I pulled up late Saturday night, made it 50 feet, and the battle started. I cleared the pine needles off of his resting place, and the bitterness bit deep, sank its claws into my heart and made it ache in a way that cleared my mind, focused me. Every time I see his name I’m reminded that life isn’t fair. In fact, life is incredibly unfair. But that’s okay, we were never promised fairness.

It was harder to let go of that lure than I thought it would be. The finality of it. Something I had no use for. Something I knew that my dad, somewhere, was getting a kick out of. Maybe he was there? The Bible says that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses at all times. Maybe he was watching me. I bet he hurt, but I bet he was laughing. I lost a lot of his rooster tails as a kid. They weren’t cheap, so it was a big deal anytime I lost one. He’d get a kick out of me finally returning one, and it not being fit to use.

In 16 days he’ll have been gone 10 years. To those of you reading this that are wondering if your loss will ever get easier, I have bad news. It doesn’t. The pain does become less frequent though.

There is a river in Heaven. The Bible tells me that. There are fish in that river. Huge ones. The Bible doesn’t tell me that, but how would God NOT stock a river that big and clear?

Good luck with that rooster tail, Dad. I love you.

I figured I owe y’all an update.

You know, on the whole sparring in Tae Kwon Do thing.

Tuesday night I fought a 14 year old. Before you judge me, this kid is a recommended black belt, 6 feet tall, 220 pounds, has a deeper voice than me and a better mustache. I’m telling ya, it’s the hormones in the chicken.

We got in the ring, and he started “taking it easy” on me. So I popped him one in the ear hole. That’s all he needed. He came at me. Hit me pretty hard, and I smiled at him and said, “There it is!” We fought pretty evenly. It’s hard to declare a winner in sparring. I will say this though, at the end of 2 minutes, I’m exhausted.

So last night they put me against this 45 year old spry little ginger kid. When we came to the middle to bump gloves, I remember thinking, “Geez, those things are huge. I hope he can’t hit hard.”

He can, and he did. I went in big and easy, and he hit me three times before I even knew what was happening. From there, it degraded into a series of blows that wound up getting me punched in the lip on accident. I started bleeding. Strangely enough, I didn’t get mad. I got focused. I went back in after him and got him in a clench, then I caught him square on the jaw with a full force blow.

It didn’t focus him. He had to take a knee.

Then the 30 second bell rang, and we both thought the match was over. They had to talk us into fighting for 30 more seconds. We danced around a bit, but both of us had seemed to reach a silent agreement to not put anything into the punches. We went mostly body shots. At the end of the fight, I shook his hand, thanked him for making me bleed, and talked about how I wanted to make sure I eventually got gloves like him.

I will say this though.

I like fighting.

I’m going to keep doing it.

Thank you guys for all of your support and the comments I got. It’s nice to see that even though I haven’t remained extremely loyal to this blog, I still have a faithful few who take time out of their day to let me know how they feel. Tip of the cap to y’all, and I hope you have a GREAT weekend.

I know I will. I’m going to see if The Missus will spar with me.

I’m totally going to kick her ass.

Hi! My name is Travis, I am a 27 year old, red blooded, hormone fueled, egotistical, smart ass American male.

You throw all of these things together, and one thing would be assumed about me so quickly, quietly, and easily that it would never be brought up unless I did it. And when I brought it up, you’d act very surprised, and look at me kind of differently.

I’ve never been in a fight. I’ve never taken a swing at anyone, I’ve never beat anyone up, I’ve never had my ass kicked.

I’ve never seen the point in it. I don’t like watching UFC fights on TV, and I don’t care for watching boxing or any kind of fighting unless it’s in the movies. With my size, there aren’t a lot of people who would start something with me, and if someone does get antsy, I beat them verbally before it ever comes to words.

I’m a lover, not a fighter. Make love, not war. All that hippie BS. I don’t buy into that, I’d just rather not fight. I’m not one of those guys that says, “Oh, I don’t fight because I’m scared of what I’ll do, also I have a 15 inch penis.” I hate those guys. I don’t fight because I don’t like confrontation. You want to fight? Let’s play Scrabble.

As some of you know, I’m taking the Tae Kwon Do. As some of you might figure out, taking a martial arts class eventually involves…sparring.

That happened last night.

I was given some headgear and some hand pads, and I was tossed into the ring for 2 minutes.

My opponent?

Rocky. A 50+ male who has trouble standing up straight and who can’t walk real well.

Yeah, he was the only one in my “weight class.”

The bell rang, and I went out and waited on him, bound and determined that I wasn’t going to hit him first unless he hit me. Them’s the rules of the street, people. Thug life and what not. We just sort of danced around each other, then he came in with it. Only, I thought he came in with it. Turns out, he was just kind of stumbling forward a little bit, and is fist kind of moved towards me.

So I punched his fist and then popped him one on the earhole.

I don’t think Rocky ever really recovered from that, but he finally came after me. The whole time, the instructor is yelling, “TURN LOOSE THAT RIGHT ARM, ROCKY!” If he ever turned it loose, I don’t remember. All I know is that at the end of 2 minutes, I was exhausted, and I’m pretty sure I had won.

If I had any doubts about winning, the CPR they had to do on Rocky cleared them up somewhat, then the EMS workers that tried to revive him removed them completely.

I’m kidding. I didn’t kill the guy.

We got out of the ring, I sat down, and I realized that maybe I didn’t want to do Tae Kwon Do anymore. I just don’t like the fighting. When I got dressed to leave, one of the assistant instructors said, “You have amazing control with your hands.”

“It comes from many years of chronic masturbation.”

I didn’t say that…

But seriously, what should I do? Will the dislike of fighting eventually fall by the wayside? Or will I feel bad about hitting someone every single time I get in the ring? I don’t want to throw money away every month if I’m not going to eventually learn how to hit someone without feeling bad. And how bad am I going to feel when I get my ass kicked? I’m pretty sure there’s no crying in Tae Kwon Do.

And so I’m at an impasse, the proverbial “fight or flight.” I have to make a decision, and I have no idea what I’m going to do.

Geez, Christopher Nolan. If I ever get to stop running, I’ll settle down and watch it.