What I miss

It could have been ZZ Top day at the Pier. Every old 60s-ish guy who won’t give up on the long hair, or Ted Kosinski-type beard and sun-glasses was there. They came to fish and post signs on a telephone pole near their spot. Signs that say things like “Martha Stewart doesn’t live here.” The rods they fish with are gigantic, huge things with hooks as big as ice picks at the end of them. I guess the tectonic plates of aging shift a certain type of guy towards this type of passion. They mostly love dogs too. So the fishing guys are a big draw for dogs. Fishing guys pet them and the dogs slobber and eat the cookies they keep stashed in the trunks of their cars for just this occasion.

The animals then move on. The fisher guys get this; these are men with low tolerance for everthing except each other and a dog or two. I like to snag a few sentences with these men. So I guess, I’m a fisherman of a sort. I like to catch bits of their take on the world. They are lovers of humanity and haters of people. One steel-jawed fellow described himself as politically "right of Attila the Hun" so we generally stick to the weather (bad) and the fish (none). In the weather and fish there is everything. But sometimes other facts roll out; children estranged, wives now ex or dead. When they speak of these things it’s usually softly. Sometimes, because of the wind or my hearing, I can’t quite grasp what they are saying. I nod, look down and away, and that is enough for them. They have shared with me something inside that only comes out when they are out on the pier and they want the wind to take their words far away. I want these old guys back, every one of them—especially Atilla the Hun. I want to go back to the world where I worry about ticks and deer eating tulips. By the time you read this maybe we will be there.