Submitted by David Anderson.
The other day a first-time boat renter, first-time-on-the-lake fisherman and his family, headed out for what was supposed to be a search to entice the big one to bite.
It turned out to be a search all right but not for what was under water.
He developed engine trouble.
In this age of post-smoke signals and thanks to technology (cell phones) I tried – unsuccessfully – to walk him through restarting procedures.
Finally, “Where are you? I’ll come tow you back in.”
This is always, and regrettably, our last resort. Far preferable is if the customer flags down someone else to do it.
After all, the lake is seven-and-a-half miles of shoreline, three-and-a-half-miles end-to-end.
Half the shoreline is forested, the other half is how the other half lives.
There’s also a big (one-half-mile around) island in the very center, mostly summer cabins.
“There are big trees, there’s a big grey house, and we have drifted in to their dock. That’s where we’re tied up.”
With no better description – although I asked more than once in the next 45-minutes – than there being a house involved – a grey one, a big grey one, and big trees – I headed out along the people-populated shoreline half of the lake.
So very close, but so very far.
I think every other house was grey.
‘What shade of grey? What kind of trees? How big are the trees?’ I almost asked but didn’t, thinking these rather dumb questions, and just kept motoring along.
More on how that story ends in a moment.
There’s an August 22, 2018 article by Sean Braswell, Senior Writer for “The Daily Dose” the premise of which is this: “Our appetite for bite-size wisdom seems to know no bounds.”
Braswell is not writing about fishing – although “bite-size” is close, as are “big trees, big grey house” pretty much “bite-size” descriptions of one’s whereabouts.
Nor is he referencing being lost on a big lake – although “know no bounds” gave me a post-rescue chuckle since where on the lake my fisherman and his family was certainly was laughable as it turned out.
At this moment, and for the next 45 moments, I just didn’t have a lot to go on.
And that is what Braswell is bemoaning.
Our susceptibility to accept the vacuous, inane, superficial descriptions of people’s whereabouts in life – opinions passed off as truth – is legendary.
We would in fact be far better served by an upfront skeptical, questioning, researching, peering-behind-the-façade approach to best ferreting out the facts, separating truth from error, thinking – in other words – if we are to have any confidence at all in knowing where we’re going.
Rather than say take a best guess and heading out for parts known or unknown.
Wisdom is to listen attentively, even – and maybe especially – to question authority, even at risk of offending sensibilities, if we are to navigate successfully from A to B.
“Do you see anybody where you are, like maybe the owner of the big grey house?”
He did. And put the fellow on the phone. The guy who lived there in the big grey house. On the island, just five minutes away from where this family had all started out that morning to catch the big one.
I now have a map, every dock numbered and posted and viewable, readable – and repeatable – for those who get lost.
No more ‘big grey house’.
But a map.
That still, however, leaves three-and-a-half-miles of treed shoreline.
‘Where are you?’
‘Well, there’s lots of trees . . ..’
Still working on that one.