Falling Overboard

Falling Overboard

Humor is sometimes dependent on one's point of view.


Falling overboard

If you have ever witnessed someone fall overboard, you've felt the chills of reality. Fishing from a boat can be dangerous, but don't feel somewhat guilty if you have felt some humor in it, too.
   Sometimes, an accident can be dangerously funny. That may sound like a redundant term, but it isn't. It is human nature to laugh at someone else's mishaps when no injuries have occurred. But even under the laugh, it also is human nature to realize that you understand the seriousness of the mishap and are prepared to take extra cautions to make sure it never happens to you or to a friend.
   One morning last February, a group of friends gathered inside a cafe/tackle shop on Lake Fork and recalled various experiences they have witnessed while on the water. If there is any better reason for anglers to gather and tell stories, it is a 25-mph wind and rain. Which just happened to be taking place that morning when Mister Twister rep Quinten Anderson, Lake Fork fishing guide Mark Stephenson and I decided to take a break from the miseries of the weather and see what more sane people were doing.
   Tom James, a great storyteller as well as a great fisherman, sat down at a nearby table. Before long, the names of two mutual friends surfaced and the talk soon blossomed into a portfolio of humorous things that the anglers have done over the years.
   First, there was a story about one of the fellows who borrowed a 9.5-hp motor from a friend. He and a buddy then rented a boat at Lake Tawakoni, and soon, they were headed out for a day of fishing with the borrowed motor at the back of the rented boat.
   The trip came to an abrupt halt only a short distance from the ramp when the guy driving the boat from the motor's tiller handle suddenly realized things just didn't feel quite the same. The motor was acting kind of squirrelly.
   The guy looked around and suddenly realized that he had not tightened the motor clamps to the boat. The little motor had come off the boat, but was still pushing the boat simply by its own force - for a few seconds, that is. The motor soon gurgled out of sight. Stephenson said the guy was an accident waiting to happen, but by the time James finished his storytelling, I'm convinced the fellow was an accident in progress.
   We won't mention any real names here to save embarrassment, of course so we will just call him John. John and a buddy climbed into a small boat equipped with about a 10-hp motor. The actual horsepower of the motor isn't important, but what is important is for you to understand is that that little motor cranked with authority. The boat was launched with the bow pointing toward the great span of fishing waters, which lay ahead. John's buddy sat at the bow of the boat and looked past the stumps before him to the great expectations beyond. Meanwhile, John stood up, leaned toward the motor, grabbed the starter rope and gave it a quick pull. The little outboard was an old one. You know the kind that they made way back then when the motor could be started while in gear.
   Well, the motor was in forward gear when John yanked on the rope. The motor fired-up and shot the boat forward, tumbling John right over the top of it and into the water. The boat took off forward, leaving John flouncing in the water behind.
   John's friend was so enthralled with the beauty of the lake that lay ahead that he didn't realize John had been thrown out of the boat. As the boat headed through the stumps, the guy at the front of the boat began waving one hand left, then the other hand to the right, and then left again helping, he thought, John maneuver the boat through he stumps.
   A group of fishermen nearby watched in awe as the boat passed with one guy in front pointing directions for a boat that had no driver.
   James said one of the boaters rescued John from the water and another boat chased down the driver-less boat, arriving at just about the time the fellow giving directions realized his driver was gone, lunged for the motor and, himself, was thrown overboard. Fortunately, no one was hurt, except for maybe their pride. And besides, one of the rescuers said the fish weren't biting anyway.

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