“…why unblooms the best hope ever sown?”
-Thomas Hardy, Hap
The Mad Fishicist has never considered himself a fortunate person. His few fishing successes have always been the result of hard work and time spent on the river. Not a first cast kind of fisherman or an opening day kind of hunter. Don’t ask him when he caught his last trout.
So it happened that a month ago he was in a sporting goods store and he glanced at the gun rack. This rubberized looking rifle appealed to him like no other rifle has before. In fact, he was so intrigued that he longed for a closer look. The lady behind the counter explained that to get that rifle off the rack, she’d have to unlock all the guns and she hasn’t seen the key all day or she’d have unlocked them already. You’d have to know him, but The Mad Fishicist is committed to making life easier for everyone around him. He’d never inconvenience somebody else just for something so trivial as his curiosity. So he even surprised himself when he listened to a still, small voice tell him to go ahead and ask the lady to find the key and go through the trouble of unlocking all the guns on the shelf.
The gun looked right. The price was too high. The caliber was perfect. The rifle was too nice. He’s never owned a new firearm and he has never planned to own a new firearm. That’s why he was so surprised that he actually insisted on seeing the gun close up. But when he held it in his hands, when he saw how pleasing it was to have and to hold, he fell in love then sadly gave it back to the sales lady. Clearly, it was out of his league (although he was able to determine that the rifle was worth the high price because it was made expressly for the damp, nasty weather so common in Alaska–nearly indestructible).
Two weeks later, the Thorne Bay Middle School wrestling team went to the same sporting goods store and bought the same rifle for a fund raising raffle.
Guess whose ticket they drew.