"Gone Fishing" is the name of the photo I traditionally hang here when I go on vacation. It could also be the name of the column I'm working on for Thursday -- or, maybe "Fishing Gone."
It's about a bunch of aged trout fishermen (the men are aged, not the trout) who are angry, angry, over the loss of their fishing hole of four decades.
An institution that does good has done these men wrong, they gripe in a way that only old salts in Navy caps can.
With trout season approaching, it's a tale of bait and switch.
(Sorry, it's early)
That's one piece I'm contemplating for this week. The other might just have to be a family story. I've been laboring over what to get my mother, who turns 80 this weekend. So far, I've made her a running mix for her iPod, because the old one had too much rap for her taste. She's got legs.
I hope the present will take her mind off the fall of her once-perfect Patriots last night. Nothing will help me. I just can't buy the Triumph of the Underdog theme when the underdog has an NY on its helmet. I just can't feel anything but loss. And hate.
How could I have bet on the game?
I don't bet.
But my college roommate, from Riverdale, was getting cocky. A gentleman's wager, he offered. And he wanted the points. I was a little hesitant. You don't trifle with matters of the heart. I remember the 1986 World Series: I made the mistake of calling him, clucking, seconds before everything went south.
Yet, my heart was only halfway in this one. Sure, the Pats play three miles from my boyhood home, but I have grown a little tired of the entitlement of New England fans.
I have to re-read that line to believe I wrote it.
But it's true. They expect victory. I grew up, certainly with the Red Sox, praying for victory, ready for collapse. Humility is a beautiful thing, especially in a winner.
So I didn't share the swagger. Then I went to a Flyers game with a friend from the neighborhood Saturday night, and we feasted for about an hour on New York and New York teams. "They're going to crush the Giants," he said, laying out exactly how and why my Patriots would stay perfect, and then I sent a message to my old roommie.
The wager will be one cd, mixed by the loser, that forms a musical tribune to the life and accomplishments of the winner. By this I don't mean, a tribute to the Patriots or Giants. I mean a tribute to the winning bettor. In other words, an indulgence too awful to contemplate.
He e-mailed back. Throw in a dinner at a restaurant of the winner's choice.
Now I've got to pay.
The problem here is that he lives the high life in L.A. and next time we meet it will be at some real-life Hollywood set where I will feel like Nick Nolte in Down and Out in Beverly Hills and will have to pocket the dinner rolls. But that's not the real problem. It's not going to be nearly as difficult as having to sit down and program 80 minutes of songs in tribute to my old roommie, who is once again a winner at my expense.
I hate New York.