Let me preface this by saying that I am not a fisherman. Although I
love the outdoors, my patience is much too thin to cast a line off a
pier and wait for a fish to swim up to my hook and foolishly give up it’s life for wormfood. Even if I were to catch something, how the heck am I going to extract it’s scaley body from this gnarly little hook? I would probably have to say, "sorry charlie, but you’ll just have to leave it in your mouth the rest of your life…just think of it as a piercing, and by the way, please stop flopping around in the boat..you’re only making it worse for yourself. Now when you flop out of the boat, go ahead and take this fishing pole with you because I’m not going to need it anymore. Alright now, go find Nemo and get out of here."
Now since I’ve made it painfully clear that I’m not good with a rod and reel (or that my manhood should be seriously questioned), I want to take this time to share with you a fishing story to end all stories.
Although, fishing is not my sport of choice, I have always been intrigued with the stories of fishermen. I guess it’s not the size of the fish, where the fishing took place, or the one that got away that piques my interest, but rather the passion and exaggeration of the yarn itself. Well, I do not need to exaggerate my fishing story. The facts of the story are enough in of themselves to go down in history as a all time fishing classic. Here are the "characters" of the story:
Okay, this all started when I decided to add surround sound to my home theater setup. I decided to use my existing Bose home speakers so as to do this as cheaply as possible. Last week I decided to take a look at my speaker to see if there were any specifications printed on it. My speakers sit high up on a ledge/planter that stretches across the living room at about 8′ high. After taking a quick look, I put the speaker back. However, when I attempted to put the speaker back on it’s perch, it fell into the planter area of the ledge. (we don’t actually have plants, soil, or flowers in the planter..) When I reached into the planter to grab my speaker, I felt around but could not find it. I didn’t spend but a couple of seconds doing this, so I just shrugged and figured I’d look for it when it was time to connect the speakers to the new receiver. (little did I know that my inability to feel the speaker would be the beginning of my crazy tale)
Well, Saturday came and it was time to connect all of the components to the new receiver. When it came time to hook up my speaker, I climbed a step stool and reached up and into the planter to feel around for it, but still couldn’t find it. Since my stool wasn’t high enough for me to peer into the planter for a visual, I moved the couch over to the other side of the living room and stood up on the back of it which vaulted me an extra foot. To my amazement the speaker was no where to be found!! I racked my brains for the rest of the afternoon as I obsessively retraced my steps from the few days prior (driving my wife insane in the process) For some reason, maybe the horrible memory of a 40 year old brain, I couldn’t even recall what happened after the speaker fell. Did I reach into the planter and grab it? and if so, did I carry it somewhere in the house? Then I noticed something. In the planter there is a hole in the wall where some electrical wire is routed. Yes, the hole is just big enough for a cube sized Bose speaker to fit into. Could the unthinkable have taken place? Did my little speaker tumble into the hole in the wall and freefall 8 feet down inside the wall?
Unfortunately, I had no way of knowing, so I just went into denial and continued to search every unfathomable location in the house. (see..i have this propensity for carrying remote controls, wireless phones etc…to different places in the house, only to misplace them and find them later.)
This mystery was beginning to make me certifiably INSANE! I eventually had to release my anxiety and call it a night. (my whole Saturday had been built around this surround sound installation)
The next day after church, I decided I would go ahead and try to connect everything else, minus the speaker. Of course, I couldn’t help but wonder if that speaker was inside the wall. What was I to do? I couldn’t see in the hole because of the height and angle of the ceiling above. Was I willing to start cutting holes in the sheetrock without this vital foreknowledge? Was I willing to invest money in new speakers?
All of a sudden it hit me!! The idea popped in my head that would prove to be the needed plot twist in this tragic storyline!
The Canon Powershot A85 digital camera.
I reasoned that if I could point the camera into the wall and down toward the floor, that maybe…just maybe I could know whether the speaker actually did fall through the hole. At least my sanity would be restored. (at this point, that was all that really mattered)
I moved the couch back over and climbed up to the ledge/planter and pointed my camera down the hole inside the wall, focused, and point….shoot. (just in case you’re wondering, yes I did have the strap around my wrist…dropping the camera would have meant certain committment to a local facility)
I WAS ELATED to look at the viewfinder of my camera and see my speaker resting somewhat peacefully on the floor inside the wall! (although it was kind of twilight zone like…similar to seeing orbs in the background of family photo.)
YEA!! I’m not going crazy! I’m ALIVE!!
Okay, I didn’t say that, but that’s how I felt! Now I knew where the speaker is. The only thing to figure out was how to get it out without taking an axe to it! Without a real clue to what to do, I called the first person that came to mind. Mike.
I figured that I was probably going to cut a hole into the wall, so I thought Mike could tell me how to repair the hole afterward .(my home repair skills are on par with my fishing skills)
We were talking about my plight, and I mentioned to Mike that someone the day before had suggested a powerful magnet to retrieve the speaker in the case the speaker was in the wall. That got us to thinking about who would have a magnet that could attract a speaker’s internal magnet. That’s where Rodney G. comes into the story.
I called Rodney who is a retired woodshop teacher and actually built his own house! Anyway, if there were any tools or ideas about how to get this speaker out, Rodney would be a good bet. He told me that he had a magnet that he uses to retrieve tools that fall into unreachable places, and that he would drop by and lend it to me. To my chagrin, we soon realized that the magnet wasn’t able to attract the magnet inside the speaker encasement .(we experimented with the other speaker..the one that wasn’t inside the wall)
Then Rodney, who is an avid outdoorsman suggested that maybe the speaker could be "fished" out. He reasoned that if you could tie a fish hook to a line and drop it down inside the wall, that maybe you could hook the fabric screen on the speaker and gently lift it out back through the hole.
Obviously, I’ve never caught anything with a fish hook. I had never had any luck with catching a fish which is at least cooperating somewhat with getting hooked. How in sweet Moses am I going to blindly hook an inanimate object with a hook and string?
Well, despite all of my rational thinking, I went to the local Wal-mart to do something I’ve never done in my life. I bought a fishing lure. While I was there, I picked up a wall saw as well because I believed in the end, I would be cutting my wall the way a ginsu knife cuts a shoe. I also purchased a pack of 3 air filters for only 2.24. They really aren’t pertinent to this story, but Wal-mart sure does have a lot of stuff.
When I got home with my supplies, I wisely followed Rodney’s advice and bent the hooks out with pliers, tied the lure to the string, and proceeded to lower this worm killer into the wall.
As I slowly lowered the string, a thought kept invading my mental state. "this ain’t gonna happen…uh huh…no way…I’m only trying this for 5 minutes and then it’s time to get the hacksaw out the bag)
Then I heard something. A little click. The hard plastic equivalent of an underwater air bubble.
I thought it was the sound of the hook hitting the speaker.
So I got out the trusty old camera and took another snapshot. There it was. The outline of a fish hook laying on top of the speaker.
Great! Now I know I’ve let enough string down, it’s time to hook this thing. So I grabbed the string and gently swung the 8 foot strand back and forth. After a few swings, I started losing hope again. (this ain’t gonna happen, what was I thinking.)
Then all of a sudden, I felt tension in the string. Could it be? Is it true? I caught a big one!!!
(of course, I kept remembering my previous attempts at fishing where any fish line tension I experienced was usually caused by an unwieldy tree branch)
I didn’t linger on the possibilities too long and began the pulling my makeshift fishing line on it’s long, slow ascent. I feared that the speaker would fall off the hook, or that I might drop it. I dreaded the possibility of pulling the line up 8 feet, speaker in tow, only to have it get stuck or worse yet fall back down the chute right when I reached the opening.
After a few tense moments, I saw a beautiful sight! Albeit, a little dusty from the sheetrock, I pulled it up through the opening in the wall completely intact! The Bose speaker that was stranded inside my wall for 72 hours was finally safe in the arms of it’s owner! (as I would discover later, still in excellent working condition…Bose should pay me for this kind of advertising)
After 40 years of hard living, I had finally experienced the feeling one gets after lowering a fish line into a dark region and reeling in a big one. (okay, not all that big, it is a Bose)
Oddly enough, the hook never actually latched onto the fabric screen, but instead somehow caught onto the back side of the speaker where the wire connectors are. When I told Rodney G., he said I was lucky. Lucky indeed. For a guy who doesn’t fish to hook something on the first try is very lucky considering I didn’t even snag the easiest part of the speaker to begin with.
Oh well, that’s my story. Hopefully, that didn’t bore you to tears. And one more thing, if you didn’t believe this strange tale, I have what every fisherman worth his salt has…proof. Ah, technology. Gotta love it.