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The Fisher of Stories


Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion. – Calvin CoolidgeI’m pretty much a normal guy.

I like my coffee black, I have a penchant for Mexican food, I’m obese, I love Nic Cage, and I love Jesus.

I never asked to be a hero. Some men have heroism thrust upon them in the heat of the moment, like Nic Cage in Con Air, and some choose heroism at great risk to their lives, also like Nic Cage in Con Air.


I was swimming by myself in our pool the other day, when I noticed something struggling to free itself from the waters. I grabbed my net, ready to absolutely murder a wasp or bumblebee, and swam (floated) over to check it out.

Lo and behold, a lightning bug was on the surface, paddling rapidly with its tiny stick legs and making no progress whatsoever. The struggle was real. My heart twisted with sympathy for the little guy, and I knew I had to act. My time for heroism had come.

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I lifted him gently out of the torpid waters and placed him gingerly on the rail of the pool. I’m going to be completely honest with you, it didn’t look good. He appeared to be quite waterlogged, and had difficulty standing.

Obviously CPR was out of the question…but was it?

Determined to save my little lightning bug friend, and realizing that even the lightest of chest compressions would produce a messy end, I did the only part of CPR I could manage. I blew on it.

Between you and me, I didn’t really regulate that first breath, and I dang near blew the little bugger smooth off the edge of the pool. But he held strong, and his little wings spread out as though to dry them off, and I thought, “This is it, this is my moment,” and “One Shining Moment” started playing in my head, and I blew on that little lightning bug (gently) until…

The lightning bug took off! Into the breeze he flew, and I could swear he did a little dip as he did, thanking me for my service. I was intensely moved by the experience, and may have even shed a tear at the thought of being so intimately involved with nature.

The story should end there, but it doesn’t.

Two days after resuscitating the lightning bug, I was once again swimming (floating) in the pool when I saw something else struggling in the currents.

Looking closely, I saw it was a butterfly, and it was in real bad shape. Its wings were soggier than the unfinished Raisin Bran that sits in my kids’ bowls when they realize they don’t like Raisin Bran. Its feeble attempts to free itself from the water induced panic in my nature-loving heart and I immediately lifted it out of the water and sat it on the edge of the pool.

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I looked towards the heavens.

“WHY GOD?” I screamed.

And I did the only thing I knew how to do.

I blew on it.

Again, I didn’t really regulate the force of that first blow, and this time it was almost a deadly mistake. The butterfly caught the full gale, and flipped off the edge of the pool, but somehow managed to grip the side of the rail and hang on. Mentally chastising myself, I pulled the butterfly back up on the railing and very gently continued my life-giving efforts.

Eventually, the butterfly was dry. He flapped his wings, testing them, and then soared into the heavens (about five feet above the pool) and looked as though he would take off.

But he paused, right above my head, hovering there. What happened next took me completely by surprise.

The butterfly landed on my nose, tickling it, but I didn’t sneeze. I knew this was a moment, and I didn’t want to sneeze the thing right back into the pool. That just seemed counterintuitive.

I looked into its tiny little butterfly eyes, and I swear it winked at me. Then, gently, it reached out a tiny butterfly leg and brushed my cheek in a gesture I can only assume was a thank you for services rendered.

A single tear rolled down my face. At that moment, I felt more complete than I ever had before. And then the butterfly took flight, free at last, swooping into the wind and into the Great Beyond.

Alright that last part is a lie, but I saved a lightning bug and a butterfly from drowning last week and not a single one of them thanked me, so I’m allowed a little creative license.

So I ran a 5K for the first time in my life while at Falls Creek this year. I keep saying “ran” because that’s what I hear other people saying and I figure I should probably just say the same thing and not mention that I walked 4.85K of it.
My time? A confident 55.24. I got a pin and shirt, which was a XXL, and didn’t even come close to fitting. I walked into the gift shop with my pin and the kid behind the counter just stared at me. I said, “Y’all got any triple beefies behind that counter?” And she replied, “Seriously?” I think she honestly thought I had stolen the pin.

It’s a shade snug, and one lady told me I looked like an overripe orange, but I’m shakin’ haters off.

I want to make one thing very clear though. I DID NOT FINISH LAST. I would also like to make another thing clear. People skinnier than me finished behind me. Clearly this means I’m the most in-shape fat guy in the entire world.
I’ve taken the liberty of breaking down the “run” into segments that most popped out to me.
The Walk to the Race – I seriously probably walked 3K to get to the 5K and then another 3K back. They have all these little golf carts running around and not a single one would pick me up and give me a ride. When I got to the “race”, I asked the ladies at the starting line if 5Ks worked on a deduction system whereby I could subtract the walk to and from my cabin from my actual Ks ran, and they said no. I’m probably going to write a strongly worded letter.
Self-Image – I think the biggest mistake I made outside of waking up that morning was actually looking at the other runners before the “race” started. Pretty sure all fat people can attest to this, when we go anywhere we immediately check to see if we’re the fattest person there. It’s like the old Lewis Black bit about IHOP. Anyway, I got down to the start line and I was the fattest person there by at least 150 pounds. People stared at me and asked if I was some sort of official. It was real awkward. All these people stretching and getting ready and I was just bent over trying to get my wind back from the walk down, which could explain the poor start I got.
Golf Cart Chasers – At one point during the “race” I saw a golf cart hurtling towards us at a ridiculous rate of speed. In my mind, I thought, “Well that’s just unsafe, we have folks running (walking) here.” Clearly there had been a breakdown in communication and the situation would be resolved shortly. However, as it passed, I noticed two gentlemen behind the cart, keeping pace with it. It was almost as if the cart was slowing them down. I think at this point we were fifteen minutes into the race, and these dudes were on the home stretch. They’d literally lapped us twice. Just making everyone look bad for their own personal glory. Keep it classy, boys.

Hills – SO MANY HILLS I’M GOING TO DIE LORD JESUS TAKE ME HOME. Essentially, and I’ve worked the math on this, if I had just laid down and rolled down the hills, I would have taken 10 minutes off my time. Solid math fact. Just a follow-up question, is there a committee or activist group I can join that propositions all-flat racing courses? Does Westboro have an opinion on this? If so can I get an application? I’ll pay dues.

Maybe should have taken that Romans reference out of there.

Shin Splints – I’m not gonna lie. I’m just shy of what scientists call “peak performance ready.” I got the shin splints about 38 seconds into the “race.” For those of you who don’t know, a shin splint is where your entire shin muscle separates from your entire shin bone,* and drops down onto the ground, where you drag them behind you through mud and rocks and get them filthy. The burning sensation this causes is, in purely clinical terms, the equivalent to child birth, and is directly connected to your motivation to finish the “race.”

The shinabolic muscle connects to the lower dorsimus tissues…

Red Rovers – These are the people who line up side by side, jammed tighter than me in a SMART car, and take up the entire width of the road, just walking leisurely and discussing things such as New Balance tennis shoes, wind resistance, and what they’d like to have for dinner at the 4:30 Early Bird. I’m not trying to imply they’re all old, but I’m also not denying it either. My favorite way to get through them is to scream “RIGHT!” and blast through two of them like I’m Emmitt Smith breaking through a defensive line, only with more hip dysplasia.**
Camera Crews/People I Know – Here’s the thing. I like to look good on camera, and in front of people I know. I could care less about people who don’t know me, they can think what they want. In the words of Tupac, only God can judge me, you know? But when we passed anyone with a video camera, I had to start jogging. I also started jogging any time I saw someone I knew or when we passed our cabin, just dragging my shin muscles pitifully behind me. It got real sad a few times towards the end.
The Finish Line – You can walk the whole “race” but if you don’t run across the finish line you’re a stone cold loser. I’m almost positive John Wooden said that. A direct quote. My legs were numb at that point, so running was more guesswork than painful, but I did it anyway. I went through the finish line like there was a crowd cheering and a ribbon for me to bust through when in reality it was six bored camp staff waiting to hand me a pin so they could go eat breakfast. I also may have left my partner behind at this point but it’s every man for himself here am I right?

I made this on the Internet so you know it’s true.

“Oh I Ran It Last Year” People – I think we’re all familiar with these guys. “Oh, you ran the 5K this year? I ran it last year/I ran one just last week.” Guess what though? You didn’t run this one, so your time of 10.34, which I’m pretty sure is impossible anyway, has no bearing here. It’s like when Martin Luther King Jr. said “The only race people care about is the one you just ran…and white people.”*** I don’t want to hear about your last 5K when I’m clearly trying to get my shinabolic reconnected to my dorsimus tissues.

*Got this fact directly from WebMD. **Can humans get this? I know German Shepherds can, so I figured we could too. ***100% legit MLK quote. Just can’t find a source for it.
I got the text message early Friday evening.

“Hey man, you still want to play?”

My reply: “Absolutely.”

The game in question? Dodgeball. The last time I’d played? Oh, about the 8th grade. 15 years ago, give or take a few. But in the 8th grade, I was a hero. Kids fought over me, because I could catch anything. It’s always been a gift of mine. I don’t know if it’s the large hands, the fast reflexes, or the double sided tape you ladies use for minimal boob exposure that I apply to my hands before each athletic performance. Maybe it’s a combination of all three. But I was good, y’all. Very good.

So I jumped at the chance to play as a grown up. It was an all day tournament thing, we were guaranteed at least 3 games, one warm up, two for realsies. We got more if we won, so naturally we wanted to get our money’s worth. We had some pretty athletic looking dudes on our team…and then me. I’m not what you’d call “in shape” unless the shape you’re talking about is round.

We lined up for the first game, the ref said go, and I walked up to the boundary line, not in any rush to get a ball first. I don’t throw all that well, and I am sure as sugar not going to win any foot races to get a ball. I’m just sort of standing there, looking around, and someone hurls a ball at me. I dodge it. I have successfully completed the rules of the namesake! However, someone else hurled a ball at me. It came straight for my chest.

I caught it.

Then I caught another one. Then one more, and we won the game.

Those of you that follow me on Twitter and Facebook kind of know how it went from there, so I’ll hit the highlights.

  • We lost our second game, but battled back from the loser’s bracket to fourth place.
  • There were 3 games when it was me against 6 people. We won 2 of those games.
  • I actually threw a couple of people out.
  • I had a black guy come up to me in the parking lot after and tell me he was jealous of my skills.
  • It was for real a black guy.
  • I had a guy come up to me after a game and say, “You can catch, mother f*cker.”
  • I had a pregnant mother come sit by me because I was catching balls on the sidelines.
  • I got a couple of offers from other teams for next year.
  • Ripley’s wound up calling. They couldn’t believe it.
  • I only heard the phrase “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!” 457 times.
  • Seriously. It was a black guy.

So, not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’m a pretty dang fine dodgeball player.
And the weekend didn’t stop there. Saturday afternoon I got to go fishing with The Groom, who hasn’t been in about 2 years. He caught four fish. I caught none. I’ve been fishing 3 times this year, I’ve reeled in zero fish.
Then on Sunday night, our church had a “Barn Dance.” I know you’re thinking, “Southern Baptists, dancing?” And that’s mostly what I thought too. But I have to tell you, I had a blast. Plus, I looked like this.

Fellas, hide your gals. And your chickens.

It was a great weekend, but I’ll be real honest. I feel like I’ve been hit with a truck. I could barely get out of bed this morning. Maybe I need to start exercising again instead of eating massive quantities of Mexican food and playing Words with Friends on my iPad 2. When the weather warms up, there will definitely be more tennis, that’s for sure.
So listen, if you need a dodgeball teammate, you give me a yell. Also, if you need a sexy cowboy, you give me a yell. But only iffen you’re a fine lil lady. No dudes allowed.*

Hey, y’all also need to tell me if you like the Facebook Comment thing. I think it makes it easier to comment, plus you can do Anon if you don’t want the world knowing your real name. Let me know what you think!

*Maybe if the money is right. Some restrictions apply.*
*No gay sex. That’s the restriction.