I have an imaginary friend. I never had one as a child, but I have one now. I’m not sure he’s so much an imaginary friend as much as my inner voice. Either way, he’s a right bastard.
Some corporate trainer (I lie, it was my psychiatrist) tried to tell me about ‘your inner moderator‘. The voice inside you that tells you to tread carefully, to be rational, to slow down, that you’ve had enough to drink, that you should pull your trousers up; that sort of nonsense. It’s that part of you that after an argument points out that you were irrational. The bit that helps you see the other person’s point of view. The last vestige of your inner caveman that tells you that despite your attempts to imitate a cork you should stay away from the tar pits.
It’s the adult part of you that speaks to you and points out reason.
Apparently you are made up of a parent, a child and an adult. You should be an adult to the world, a parent to your children and, from time to time, allow your inner child to run free. Anyhow, that’s the theory. It’s a good theory too, if you have the stomach for such things. My corporate trainer has LOTS of time for these theories. At a week’s honest wages per hour I would also develop a taste for not-very-simply-explained-we’re-all-out-of-time-let’s-shedule-a-dozen-more-appointments theories.
One’s inner voice or moderator is an important and intrinsic component of being a well rounded adult. As I’ve yet to meet a well rounded adult as far as I’m concerned the jury is well out.
My inner voice is nothing like that though. Hell no. He’s the one that suggests I have another drink, take corners faster on my motorcycle, tease small children and the infirm or play my guitar more loudly. He never lets me back down from a dare or say goodnight at an appropriate time. He has me insert my contact lenses after applying aftershave (“how bad can it be?”) and encourages me to lift the lids of boiling pots without protection (“just do it quickly”).
Mostly, when he’s not encouraging me to rip holes in the best efforts of my board of directors, colleagues, the clergy, politicians, boy bands, celebrities or ‘the experts’ he chides and derides me.
“You cast like a blind man trying to find a light switch.”
“Good God, lose some weight, fatty.”
“You ride like a pussy, get your knee out.”
“Jeez, you drew THAT? Are you going to ask your mom to stick it on the fridge?”
“Hey, everyone, look at that guy stuck under the bar in the bench press section.”
“No wonder you don’t have friends; you’re a bit of a knob.”
He’s not a nice chap. But most often he’s all the company I have so I keep him around.
His name is One-Eye-Jack and, if you haven’t worked it out already, he’s a son of a bitch.
Why One-Eye-Jack? Let’s just say when he tells me I cast a fly line like two blind fools trying to perform a particularly difficult bit of the karma sutra on a doorknob he’s not entirely inaccurate.
“Jack”, I said determinedly, “there’s a slight downstream breeze and you’re standing behind my right shoulder. Move away.”
“Ohhhh forrrr heeeeaven’s sakessss”, he replied with no small measure of exasperation, “get on with it. Those fish will move upstream for the purposes of some good loving as winter approaches and it’s already late spring.”
“Come on buddy, move a rod’s length onto the bank. Please.”
“Cast. The. Effing. Fly. Already.”
An eye makes a very odd sort of plopping sound as its ripped from its socket by a large hopper imitation. Not an unpleasant sound, mind you. If you can imagine a yo-yo breaking through the surface a stiff custard from within the bowl you would be within the ballpark. It’s not the sound of a startled frog entering a stream either; although that is a pleasing sort of a plop. No, it’s more resonant. The custard and yo-yo is pretty accurate. P-llll-op. If you are familiar with the power stroke as a component of the fly cast you can easily imagine the hook setting on the tow-in and the plop as the acceleration of the power stroke begins.
Now Jack never much liked me. Following the incident leading to the extension of his name he positively despised me. I told him it is always advisable to wear glasses when casting or being around those who may be casting.
“Jack”, I’d say, “put your glasses on, this is dangerous stuff this piscatorial flogging. Personal injury is a well documented facet of every piscatorial endeavor.” But, alas, my words were to no avail.
“For the love of everything holy would you get over your fear of looking silly in front of, talking to or being in the company of strangers and GET A CASTING INSTRUCTOR! Hire an effing guide. Anything.” P-lll-op. “Catch it in your net. Catch it in your bloody net! A good ophthalmologist will save it.”
A good opthomologist would probably have been able to save it as the stream we were fishing is high up and pristine in condition, free of agricultural and other human interference. Despite the drag on the eyeball resulting from it’s trailing optical nerve it was sipped off the surface, neat as you like, by a trout in a textbook head-and-tail rise and was never seen again.
One-Eye-Jack has never forgiven me.
While I’m not one to write fiction I could, with sufficient encouragement, tell you a few more tales about my misadventures with One-eyed-Jack. Why don’t I leave you to tell me? Seriously. Or is this pushing it too far?