Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Righteous Underdog

By Martha Reed

Sometimes I have to invent my characters and sometimes they are handed to me on a platter. That’s what happened this past weekend and boy! Do I like this new character. Right now I'm calling her Miss Soze. And how will I use her? Heaven help us, I don’t know but I do know when I do use her I know there will be plenty of fireworks.

You’ll need some back story: Personally, I don’t do anything bad anymore. Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t take anything stronger than 400m Ibuprofen. I’m boring. Mostly I work hard, pay my taxes, make sure the kids get fed something nutritious and try to get them to bed with a storybook at a decent hour. When I do let myself have a 2PM latte I am cutting loose and living large. Yippee! Caffeine and Ibuprofen, my two remaining vices. Yea, how the mighty have fallen.

So anyway, I was invited to a cabin at Moraine State Park last weekend and I was glad to go. Nice relaxing weekend, long walk in the woods, blueberry pancakes, a good book in the rocking chair out on the porch. Ahhh! Just what the doctor ordered. I headed up on Saturday and met the rest of the party on the South Shore dock. They had rented a pontoon boat and it looked like the Redneck Yacht Club out there on the water – a pontoon boat full of men, women and children, loose Tivas, fishing gear and empty juice boxes. Yippee! A real boatload of desperados, yessir.

We toodled around for an hour of so, letting the kids fish in some of the coves. Just before we turned for the marina and home, I picked up one of the rods and gave the line a toss, or three. That’s my recollection and I stand by it, that I cast the line no more than three times. That’s when a lake patrol boat swooped down on us and two Fish and Wildlife game wardens tied up and the bigger warden pointed right at me. Me? Are you serious? What did I do? Well, evidently, casting the line constitutes fishing without a license and that earned me a citation, my first in this fair Commonwealth. It ain’t a vacation if you don’t get a citation. Truthfully, needing a fishing license never even entered my mind because I don’t fish. And, as a friend of mine added, I wasn’t really fishing because I knew I wouldn’t catch anything but that excuse didn’t float plus ignorance of the law is no excuse and I do know that and I’m not offering this blog as an excuse, only as an explanation. So there it is, no license for me and a $112 fine off a Hello Kitty fishing pole and a beat worm. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania should be ashamed. What a racket.

So you’re asking, how does all this fit into a blog about writing? I’ll tell you. It’s simple. It gets me exactly where I want to be. A very wise woman once told me to ‘use everything you feel’ and I thought of her words stewing in my own juice all the way back to the cabin. “Use Everything You Feel’. I explored what I was feeling and mostly it came down to anger over the injustice of the situation. That great bully had absolutely no interest in looking at the larger picture of what was actually going on in the boat, all he saw was a $$$ fine and a boatload full of city slickers. His attitude and lack of compassion for the situation still makes me mad and worst of all, he scared the kids.

So we got to the cabin and I put the kids to bed and went out to the porch and sat in the rocking chair and took a good hard look at all the emotional upset I was feeling. I decided to try to connect it to an archetypical character and boy, do I have one right at hand: Miss Soze, The Righteous Underdog and she’s pissed. I can’t wait to meet her. I'm hoping for one heck of a story.


Annette said...

Martha, I won't even carry my husband's fishing poles for him. The PA Fish and Boating Commission has some sort of sonar that detects the very moment an unlicensed person drops a line into water. Big Brother has nothing on them. But you have just found this out first hand.

Next time have your friends park their pontoon boat on some farmer's private pond. Then you can not catch fish to your heart's desire.

And your new character is going to be a hoot.

Martha Reed said...

Annette, like I said, I can't wait. She has all kinds of crackly angry female energy. Lightening, maybe? Not in a superhero way, but she's prickly. I'll have to come up with something extra good...

Karen in Ohio said...

Martha, your story reminds me of why some men went into law enforcement back in the day (and maybe still do)--so they could throw their weight around, legally.

A bully is a bully, but a park ranger is often a glorified law enforcement officer, and one who could not have made it in the real world of crime, with people actually shooting back.

Oh, yeah. You can so use this!

Pat Remick said...

This will be a great story to tell when Oprah asks you where you got the idea for Miss Soze....

Wilfred Bereswill said...

"and worst of all, he scared the kids."

I'll bet your kids remember for the rest of their lives, not to fish without a license, Martha.

I remember fishing with my buddy a long time ago. Here I am in a $25,000 bass boat with probably close to $1000 worth of gear and my wallet, with my license, is in the glove compartment in the car back at the ramp.

The fish and game asshole didn't have any compassion for me either. They made it such a hassle to prove I had a license after I received the citation, I wound up just paying the fine.

Give Miss Soze PMS and a gun and watch-the-hell-out.

queenofmean said...

The sad part is what will you remember most about your trip to Moraine? The nice day on the water, rocking peacefully on the porch? No. You'll remember being harrassed by Fish & Wildlife wardens. I understand they have rules, but a warning would have got the point across & not ruined your day. It's not like you were pulling in a boat full of fish. I do think it is the whole power issue. 'I can, so I will.'
On a happy note, you have yourself an exciting character.