FROM THE VALLEY: 'I fish, therefore, I lie'

Tom Valley

My brother, Tim, once made me a small plaque which now hangs on my fishing cabinet at the St. Lawrence River. It reads exactly what the title of this column says: “I fish, therefore, I lie.” Similarly, there’s an old saying that proclaims, “The only time a fisherman tells the truth is when he tells you he’s a liar.”

Well, I fish. But let’s make this perfectly clear, your column writer is ‘not a crook.’ Nor am I a liar. I tell the truth. My dog, Maggie can attest to that. In fact, just yesterday, Maggie took the time from her busy schedule — she’s in the middle of writing her third novel — to tell me how much she respected my honesty. She added that she also admired my ability to be straightforward even when I have to let her know she’s been “bad Maggie, bad, bad dog.”

Point being: as a fisherman don’t confuse me with someone who has a Pinocchio nose and wears pants-on-fire. What you read is the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me cod. And rest assured, I’ve not been issued nor would I use a trump card (can I say that?), to ignore the facts and go straight to how I want it to be. Who would?

Off we go. It takes almost four and a half hours to get to our place on the river. It’s a long and tiring adventure. When we went there last month, my wife left a couple of days before I did. Thus, she took her car and l followed in my truck several days later. Unfortunately, I made the decision to leave late in the day. Not good.

The older I get, the harder it is for me to drive at night. I get nervous. And without my wife there as co-pilot, my anxiety accelerates two-fold. (I would have said “exponentially” but I’m not sure what it means ... nor how to spell it.)

The Thruway traffic that night was bumper to bumper. My heart was pounding. Whatever I was listening to on the radio was making my uneasiness worse — I had to change the station. But somehow I must have inadvertently pressed one of the three trillion needless settings that these over-the-top radios are now equipped with.

In the process, I erased the preset stations and couldn’t get anything. And then, out of nowhere came a loud female shrill telling me “PLEASE SAY A COMMAND!” The radio was shouting and demanding I do or say something. I almost drove through the guard-rail. And it wouldn’t stop. “PLEASE SAY A COMMAND.”

Apparently, screaming back “SHUT THE HELL UP!” (or something equivalent) was not one of the options.

While this was happening, the headlights from the cars and trucks surrounding me were adding fuel to the fire. I reached for the rear view mirror to deflect the glare and in the process, I must have pushed the ON-STAR button. Suddenly another female voice yelled: “YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER TO THIS SERVICE. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ….” and before she could finish the radio answered with, “PARDON?” To which the mirror returned, “THAT IS NOT A VALID SELECTION.” Absolutely true. I’ve got a hen-fight (sorry about the terminology) going on in my truck and there was just me and the dog in there.

The two gals had a 10 minute back-and-forth going on that I had no control over. Luckily a rest area was in sight. I pulled in so I could turn the truck off and hopefully break up the fight with justified homicide by ignition. While there, I went into a Tim Horton’s and got a cup of coffee to wash down a handful of tranquilizers I had with me. That’s not absolutely true. I didn’t have the coffee.

When I returned to the truck, Maggie was on her laptop working on her novel. She looked up and laughed, “Hey, you should write about what just happened in one of your columns ...!?”

“Nah,” I said, “who’d believe it!?”

Exactly. Who would?

And that’s … the way it looks from the Valley.

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