Below is an excerpt from a book I’m writing called Adventures in Fishing (for Men). The book is a satirical allegory about Christian attempts at world evangelism.
We men know how to fish. It’s in our blood. It’s instinctive. I’m like a king fisher, out here…fishing. I could give lessons on fishing. I could start a fishing club. Maybe someday I will. Once I become famous for my fishing prowess, fisherman from all over the world will come to me wanting to learn how to fish.
I wasn’t a pro when I started. I made some mistakes. But I learned from them. Experience is the best teacher, after all. And now I am a professional. I am going to start catching lots of fish now.
“Hey there neighbor!”
Great. My pesky, know-it-all neighbor thinks he’s so smart. Yesterday, he told me that in order to catch fish, I had to put my boat in the water. Like I didn’t know that. But today I had nothing to fear: I had my boat in the water. I proudly pointed out this fact to him. “Look! I’ve got my boat in the water!”
“Yes. Yes, you do.” The words came slowly out of his mouth. What a dimwit. “And, uh, you bought a pool too, I see.”
Why is this guy always criticizing me about how much money I spend? I’m the one trying to catch fish, and fishing is expensive. Besides, it was his idea to put the boat in the water.
“Well, duh!” I tried to say it nicely, but it’s hard to be nice to someone who always puts you down. “I had to put the boat in the water, and this was the best way to do it.”
“Hmmm…” He was clearly trying to decide what to say next.
Maybe I should ask him to help pay for my pool, since it was his idea. If he did, I suppose I could give him a fish or two when I caught them. No. They were my fish. Then it hit me. “Hey, you want to get in? You can fish with me!”
“No. I don’t think we’ll catch any fish out of your pool.” He spoke cautiously, as though he was wary of my crushing intellect.
I laughed. “Yesterday you say I need to put my boat in the water, and today you say I don’t. You need to be more consistent. This is why you lost your wife.” I probably shouldn’t have said that last part. But it was true. If he treated his wife the way he treated me, it is no wonder they split up. Sometimes, people just need to be told the truth. And besides, I said it with love. You can say things like that if you say it with love.
But he didn’t seem appreciate my advice. Oh well, people need the truth, whether they like it or not. I was about to say this to him, when he spoke. His voice was calm and measured, but I sensed some seething rage beneath the surface.
“Don’t ever talk to me about my wife again. You don’t know anything about it.” I was about to correct him on that, but he continued speaking, and I didn’t want to interrupt. Interrupting is rude. “And when I told you to put your boat in the water, I didn’t mean a pool. Look down in the water. Do you see any fish? If you look through your stack of magazines there, you won’t see anyone fishing in a swimming pool. Fish live in lakes and rivers. If you want to catch fish, you have to go where the fish are. You gotta put your boat in a lake or a river.” He turned away and walked off.
“Well, you should be more specific!” I yelled after him. “And besides, I knew that I wasn’t going to catch fish in a pool. I’m just testing the boat for leaks!”