Fishing is good in April, but so are other relaxing, manly endeavors that involve building, repairing, cleaning up and trying ideas that come roaring forth from winter hibernation, when they could not be completed. But it is April now and most of them can be explored in a leisurely manner whenever the urge moves you.
So answer this question: Why is it that this most important work is totally misunderstood and, therefore, mischaracterized as “messing around?”
You can be involved in an Earth-changing project that you think needs to be done – not later on, but right now – because the future of our entire civilization depends upon it, and when you are finished, someone will ask, “What have you been messing around with this time?”
The term “messing around” belittles the ego of we who care how things should work around the house. I should point out here that the kind of messing around needed now is not the same kind of messing around we did as kids. That kind of messing around – we called it “hanging out” and parents called it “wasting time” – had nothing to do with sports – or work, for that matter. It involved getting together with a bunch of guys and swapping gossip, talking (bragging) about our lives, thus far, and in the future (tomorrow or tomorrow night).
Nowadays, we don’t mess around because it sounds like we are wasting time. And we are involved in meaningful projects that need our undivided attention. It could be repairing a lawnmower, or something as simple as installing a new hose nozzle or squirting WD-40 on something that needs a squirt.
For instance, this week I had busied myself with several projects. I was walking from the shed to the deck when I noticed that a wing nut on a rod that holds a hummingbird feeder needed a squirt of WD-40 to keep it from rusting to pieces. After expertly squirting the wing nut, I casually rubbed the deck rail ... and got a splinter stuck in my thumb.
I stifled a scream (it isn’t manly) and went into the house holding my thumb with the tip of the splinter sticking out. I stopped in the kitchen to ask my wife a simple question: “Where are the tweezers?” She looked at me and answered, also with a simple question: “What have you been messing around with this time?”
I let my bleeding thumb answer the question. She got the tweezers and carefully jammed them into my thumb and yanked the splinter out. I doubted that she would consider squirting WD-40 on a wing nut a must-do project.
A few days later I persuaded (bribed) my grandson to help me remove some fallen tree limbs and mow the weeds overtaking some former pastureland. That project went pretty well without much mishap. We were both riding mowers, and his mower overheated and kept cutting off. The older mower I used was slower, but it got the job done and almost got me back home before it quit running.
We finally got both mowers back to the house, and when I changed clothes I noticed that my wrist was bleeding. My wife saw my wrist and this time issued a statement: “I knew if you messed around long enough you were going to hurt yourself.”
She told me where to find the hydrogen peroxide, the polysporin and the Band-Aids. I bandaged my wrist, but it bled during the night. The next morning she applied a new bandage.
Today’s project involves selecting the right bait. Then I’m going to kick back and mess around at the river. Tweezers will remove a fish hook from your anatomy ... right?
Bill Stancil is a freelance writer and former staff member of the Rocky Mount Telegram.