My wife got me the brand new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone for Father’s Day. I immediately fell deeply in love with it. Like, scarily obsessed. If we’re being totally honest, I sleep with it next to my pillow lest I get lonely at night, OK?? And of its plethora of wonderful features, the 13-megapixel camera is by far my favorite thing about Galaxia (yeah, I named my phone. So what? Wanna fight about it?), because it allows me to capture some truly beautiful moments such as my son’s preschool graduation, family members who are no longer with us, and even a shot of him catching his first fish.
In fact, fishing has become somewhat of an obsession for the boy. So despite being under the weather, I told Will I’d take him fishing again on Father’s Day.
The place we like to fish is difficult because it’s gated. That means we have to park and walk a half-mile each way to the lake, which is not an easy feat for a 5-year-old on a hot day. After lecturing Will about the importance of not forgetting anything because we wouldn’t be able to run back to the car for it, we make the trek from our car to “our spot” — and that’s when I realized I forgot the tackle box. That meant we had just one hook and one bobber. If the line was cut for any reason, we were all done for the day.
I baited the hook and Will cast out into the pond. Wouldn’t you know it, he gets a fish on the line almost immediately. I watched and smiled a fatherly smile as he struggled with the “huge Great White shark” that was surely on the end of his line, as I like to let him do things himself. But then the fish started to take his line into the weeds and the overgrown brush on the side of the lake. Realizing we were in trouble, I grabbed the pole and tried to jerk it towards the middle but it was too late. The line was stuck.
But the fish was still hooked and it was flopping around.
“DADA, DADA! WE CAN’T LOSE THE SHARK FISH, GET IT QUICK. PLEEEEEEAAAAASE!!”
He didn’t have to ask. I was already pumped up and feeling oh-so-manly on a Father’s Day father-son fishing trip with the boy. That fish was ours and there was no way I was letting it get away. The only problem is the steep dropoff this kettle lake had, which meant I had to wade in chest deep just to go around the brush and get to the fish. But I did it, and after a few minutes I had secured the fish and untangled the line. Success!
Or so I thought.
It was then that Will asked me to take a picture of his fish and put it on Facebook so mom could see it. And that’s when — sopping wet — I reached in my left pocket to get…MY PHONE!!
First I felt a wave of terror that coursed through my body and zapped me right in the pit of the stomach. My fingertips worked their way past the entrance to my doused khaki shorts and touched Galaxia. Almost too afraid to look, I grabbed her and held her up to the sunlight for an inspection — but it was more like a postmortem. Galaxia, who was only with me for a few shorts weeks, was gone. Drowned at such a young age.
I’d like to say my behavior over the next few moments was something befitting a 33-year-old adult and father. But that would be a lie. I sank to my knees and yelled “NNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” like an absolute lunatic. But then my next thought sent me back into a panic, because I thought of MJ and what she was going to do to me for losing a brand new phone she had saved up hundreds of dollars for to get me as a gift. Especially since this is not the first time I’ve lost an important and costly object to the gods of the Lake.
But as I was pathetically sitting there on my knees bemoaning my technological loss, Will brought me back down to Earth.
“Dada, I’m sorry about your phone but guess what? You saved my fish and we can still go fishing together, and that’s all that matters!”
I’m not exaggerating either, that’s actually how he talks. And you know what, he speaks the truth. Yes I am an idiot for not emptying my pockets and ruining a really expensive piece of technology. But you know what? I did it because I didn’t think twice about jumping into a lake to make sure my son was happy. The phone was ruined, but the experience wasn’t. And if that’s not the epitome of what Father’s Day is supposed to be about, then I don’t know what is.
Thankfully MJ agreed, and also had the presence of mind to buy insurance on the phone because she knows me so well. Thanks to Will, this might be the only time I’ve pissed away hundreds of dollars and walked away smiling.
And for the record, the fish was totally as big as a Great White.