Monday, August 29, 2016

Hubris on the Inland Sea

Behold the beauty of Lake Michigan.  This is the breakwater at Sheboygan Wisconsin on a perfect late summer day.  The sun shines, the water is sparkling blue, sailboats dance past gaily. 

Of course this is the day after we did a fishing charter out on the lake.

In the real world fishing is an unpredictable business.  Rain, winds, cantankerous behaviour on the part of the fish, you know.  So on the day we went out fishing it was on the heels of some hellacious storms.  The lake was choppy with three and four foot waves that came from all directions.  And the lake was a mysterious foggy place.

The Captain and first mate certainly did their best.  I figure they work much harder under adversity than they do on those idyllic charters in which you have several fish on at once and can hardly find time for a cold beer before you have to leap up and haul in another one.

There was not much beer consumed on our voyage.  For one thing it was cold.  For another we were jostled about in all conceivable directions.  All of us felt at least a bit sea sick.

It was a family trip.  I had my lads and their affiliates aboard for one of our increasingly rare family gatherings.  It just gets harder as time goes by to find a weekend when we can get together for something like this.  

Eventually we did land a few.

We gave it our best shot but I am describing it more as a nautical adventure than as a fishing expedition.  My ancestors have not been big on marine travel.  There were the immigrant members of the family in the 1850s who came over in steerage.  None of them had any inclination to go back.  Oh, then I guess there was my father who made a trip over and back in a troop ship.  But when you wear Uncle Sam's uniform its not like you get much choice in the matter.

Preparing for this trip I knew I was taking a risk.  The guide service says that you should bring a large cooler to pack home your catch.  I knew this was tempting Fate.  It is Hubris, the sin of Pride, that so often brings down those with high ambitions.

We didn't need the big cooler.  Our modest catch fit into our on board beer cooler once we took the beer, cheese curds and beef sticks out.  Gosh, what a great menu for slightly green land lubbers being tossed about on the waves!

We all know what success smells like.  It is a heady, intoxicating scent.  Hubris, the falling short of Ambition has a different smell.  You aimed high, you worked hard,  and while you did not fail entirely you fell short.

I am still glad I brought the big cooler.  Even if it came home empty we were well prepared, and it should be noted that Hubris still smells a lot better than spoiled fish!

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