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.
I want to become the world’s greatest fisherman. I want people to talk about the great number of fish I caught, and the size of the monsters I pulled from lakes and rivers all over the world. I want to be interviewed in fishing magazines, be a guest on fishing shows, and get invited to speak at fishing conferences. I dream of the day that fishing methods get named after me and people interview me for their books about fishing.
The only problem with achieving this dream is that so far, I haven’t done any fishing.
So recently, I decided to get started.
But one cannot go out and just start fishing. One must prepare. Proper preparation is the key to fishing. A well-prepared fisherman is a successful fisherman. You can quote me on that.
So, I went to the local fishing store, and bought everything I thought I needed. I bought lures, flies, two poles, some fishing line, a creel, and a pair of needle-nosed pliers to remove the hooks from all the fish I was going to catch. I even splurged and bought myself a boat. After all, if you’re going to fish, you should do it in style.
Never having fished before, I also knew that I needed to learn about fishing. If a well-prepared fisherman is successful, a teachable fisherman is even more successful. So I bought a few fishing magazines which looked like they could teach me something. However, being as humble and intelligent as I am, I knew that it would be foolish to actually read these magazines until I discovered what I needed to know about fishing. There was no sense learning about how to fish until I had learned the right questions to ask. And besides, I was pretty sure I could figure out this whole fishing thing on my own. I mean, how hard could it be? Besides, I had heard rumors of people who spent all their time reading about fishing, and never actually got around to fishing. That wasn’t going to be me. So I put the fishing magazines in the boat with all of my other fishing gear. This way, if I ran into any problems while I was fishing, I could pull out a magazine and look for a solution.
The next day, once everything was set, I packed myself a lunch, and climbed into the boat.
What a beautiful day for fishing! The sun was out, a soft breeze whispered through the trees. The birds welcomed me with their song. I was well on my way to becoming the world’s greatest fisherman.
“Nice boat,” my neighbor said.
I hate it when people interrupt me when I’m trying to relax. And besides, I was just getting into this whole fishing thing. But I decided to be kind. “Thanks,” I said. “I bought it yesterday. I got a great deal. I bought the full package complete with a state-of-the-art fish finder and a leather captain’s chair. And look, I bought top-of-the-line fishing poles, lures, and line. All together, I only paid about $20,000, and I even got the salesman to throw in this hat for free.”
He blinked when I said how much my gear had cost. Clearly he doesn’t understand the high cost of fishing these days. Well, he’s the foolish one. Sure, I paid a lot of money to get started, but I get to eat free fish for the rest of my life. He still has to buy his at the store. Maybe I’ll give him one every now and then.
“So where you going to go fishing?” he asked.
See, now that question doesn’t even make sense. I let out a sigh. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m fishing here.”
He looked at me strangely, and then looked around. He was obviously confused. “You mean…you’re fishing here?”
“Yes. Isn’t that what I just said?” He clearly was not a thinker. I pulled out a fishing magazine and pretended I was reading it.
He stared at me for another second or two, and then burst out laughing. “You’re not going to catch anything here,” he said.
Oh, the audacity! What doubt! Besides, what does he know about fishing? He doesn’t own a boat. I do. I bet he doesn’t even have a rod. I waved my fishing magazine at him, “I think I know what I’m doing.”
He stared at me for a few seconds more. He was obviously trying to figure out how to refute my logic. “Look,” he finally said. “If you want to catch fish, you gotta put your boat in the water. You are never going to catch fish if you just keep it parked here in your driveway. Fish don’t live in pavement.”
My retort froze in my throat as I glanced down at the fishing magazine in my hand. He might have a point. On the cover of the magazine was a boat, decked out just like mine. But in the picture, the boat was sitting in the water. Mine was still in the boat trailer, parked in front of my garage.
I had to think fast. “Yeah. I know,” I said. “I’m just getting ready to put it in the water. So I can go fishing. Like in the magazine.” I held up the magazine one more time and pointed at the picture on the cover.
He shook his head, turned around, and walked into his house.
Sheesh. You have to explain everything to everyone these days.