Lately I decided to expand my mind and started reading books on theoretical cosmology. The hottest topic in this field is called “string theory”. Heavy stuff and too complex to explain here or, for that matter for me to really understand.. So much so that I developed my own “string theory”.
My “string theory” involves real strings. Things like shoe strings, boat strings, tree stand strings, fishing strings, and the like. And it involves failure
Take shoe strings. I have two pairs of hunting boots. Being older and somewhat attached to things similar in age to myself I have to admit I’ve had both pair of boots for a long, long time. They’re definitely not the latest and greatest and yes, my feet do get cold more than they would if I had invested in a new pair using the latest and greatest insulation and technology. But I just can’t part with these. They have so many stories to tell…
I put a pair on the other day planning to climb a tree stand and sight out the landscape for the upcoming deer season. About the second or third step my foot suddenly came loose and I almost fell on my butt. Yep, string theory applied. I broke a boot lace.
This may sound innocuous enough, but had I been higher it could have been serious. It broke about “mid-boot” so the support was gone as was the stability. Note to all: check those boot laces for wear and fraying. Not a good idea to start out deer season in the emergency room. Especially when the cost of avoiding this is so minimal.
Another instance: I had the kids and Dixie out on a fishing trip one summer up in Canada. We had pulled up to an island for shore lunch and I tied the boat’s bow line to what seemed like a solid rock. As I was cleaning the fish one of the kids shouted, “Dad, the boat got loose and it’s floating down the lake!”
I ran to the shoreline and sure enough the bow line had broken and the boat had drifted away. Being a “manly man” I stripped down to my boxers and dove in swimming for the boat. Unfortunately the wind was blowing faster than I could swim and the boat got further and further away. Long story short, only because of an alert fellow fisherman was our boat returned to us 10 minutes later. “String theory” bit me again.
Fishing with my youngest grandson in a pond beside a local golf course I cast toward a partially submerged tree in the corner of the pond. No more had my lure hit the water than there was a huge “whoosh” and the lure disappeared like it had hooked on to a submarine running from a depth charge. I set the hook, tightened the drag, and started reeling in what had to be a real trophy largemouth. Suddenly there was a sickening “pop” and my line went limp just as this monster fish broke the water.
Seems the line broke as if it was sewing thread. I reeled in the remaining line so I could examine the end. Sure enough, as I ran my fingers down the last couple of inches of line I felt some serious fraying. Why oh why hadn’t I checked the line before we began fishing? My (lame) excuse: we were only going fishing in a small pond. Never mind that therein dwelled what was surely a trophy-of-the-year sized bass.
Not so long ago hunters realized that being up in a tree stand has its advantages but also its perils. Like falling out of one and tumbling 20 or 30 feet to the ground! So some enterprising soul invented the safety harness. Great idea as long as the harness and the hardware are all working properly and haven’t been degraded by age, use, or in my case, a pair of pruning shears.
I’m not real sure why I checked the harness in the first place, but I can assure you I’m glad I did. The harness strap was cut almost in two and the only explanation I could come up with was earlier in the summer I had used it as a “cushion” for trimming a piece of hose for the garden. Evidentally the pruning shears I had used for this operation had not only cushioned the hose for a square cut, but had also cut the harness in the bargain. Thankfully this “string theory” never got to the point of having to be proven.
My latest experience with strings was a stringer that I use when fishing from a canoe. You know, canoes don’t have live wells! And if you plan on keeping a few fish for dinner then you need something to keep them alive until you’re ready to head for home. Stringers are perfect.
My stringer was a basic model that consisted of a plastic coated piece of rope and a round washer on the end opposite the “needle” that you pushed through the fish’s mouth. This trip I had managed to find a nice hole that the crappie were feeding around and in less than an hour had a nice mess of perfect “eating sized” crappie. Each strung on my basic stringer.
As I pulled into shore I jumped out of the canoe, pulled the bow up on land, and stepped back in the canoe to retrieve the stringer of fish which I had left in the water. Just as I began pulling the stringer the weight disappeared. Only after the empty stringer was in my hand did I realized that I had failed to check the round washer on the end. Now it and my crappie were AWOL. “String theory” had done it to me again!
So here’s the point of all this – It’s always the little things that cause the greatest problems. If you’re doing some Spring fishing our headed out in the field for deer or other game be sure you remember to check the small stuff to make sure the big (bad) stuff doesn’t happen . This way “string theory” won’t bite you in the butt!
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