We had just begun to decorate the Christmas tree, when it struck me – “it” being a rather heavy Santa Claus fishing ornament.
Some collections are achieved; others are thrust upon you. The latter usually arrives on special occasions in the form of gifts from friends and relatives who have deduced that all your wishes can be fulfilled merely by remaining within the parameters of a certain, constant theme – in my case, “fishy.”
I have chosen to embrace the paraphernalia, partially because disposal of these items can be tricky. It is difficult to remember who gave you what… so be conscious of who might visit your garage sale.
Gift-giving can be a stressful situation during the holidays. Perhaps it is almost a kind of community service project to let everyone know you like novelty fishing-themed t-shirts. It reduces anxiety for a friend who just wants to show affection or gratitude.
I interviewed some professional anglers, wondering if they suffer through the same gifting issues.
BassMaster Elite Angler Ish Monroe no longer receives fishing t-shirts and such since he went pro. But John Crews now has the full set of Yamazaki “Gone Fishing” place settings, and still gets the occasional service piece from his mom. And Mike Iaconelli receives mountains of lamps, mugs, and talking fish.
“I used to get semi annoyed,” Mike e-mailed, “But now I love it! The standout of all the gifts I ever received is an oil painting that someone made me. It has an image of my Ike logo and a fish jumping over a castle. And in the background it says ‘All This From Fish’.”
He also wrote that he and his wife plan on displaying every “goofy fishing related gift I ever received” in an upstairs loft in a barn they are going to build.
I was considering this when I came in from fishing tonight in my “Grababrewski and fish” t-shirt, and wiped my feet on the “To fish or not to fish” doormat below the “Gone fishin’” door sign. At the trout-shaped hat rack, I traded my “Women want me, fish fear me” hat for the one that looks like I’ve been shot through the head with a catfish like an early Steve Martin bit but shed down to my “nice bass” boxers. With the rainbow trout salad tongs, I dished fish-shaped pasta on a red plastic tilapia picnic plate, nestled a cold one in my bass koozie, and headed upstairs to my office, where I used my squeezable largemouth bass flashlight to locate my mahi-mahi engraved lighter in the back of a drawer. The leaping carp candle illuminated the various ichthyologic posters, plaques, woodcarvings, and photographs around the office and complimented the crappie-shaped air freshener. I adjusted my plush bluegill pillow for more lumbar support, grabbed the northern pike pen from my creel-shaped pencil holder, and began to write on walleye stationary wondering…
Just how good do I have to be for Santa to bring one of those bass-shaped mailboxes?
Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Oklahoma. Visit him at www.justkeepreeling.com.