Of course, it's Dr. Dad's favorite pastime. And one of Lil Watz's tops too. For about five years, if you searched Lil Watz's real name on Google, there'd be a picture of him and Dr. Dad, holding a giant shad or something that they caught in a competition. I don't understand. I've been exposed to the slimy creatures (the fish, not the male half of my family heh heh) since roughly birth. Fishing is boring and fish are gross.
|Making us learn how to properly hold a rod, cast, etc. It's a miracle Lil Watz never got a hook in the eye.|
Dr. Dad manned the multiple rods, some for trawling, some with special bait, some fly-fishing (what we are probably practicing in the above picture). Dr. Dad totally RUINED the hip new style of feather hair extensions for me, because I'd been playing with those bright neon strips of feather (and let's be real, probably accidentally super gluing them to my head) since I was a wee babe. I bet Ke$ha's dad made her learning how to whip a rod for fly-fishing when she was a wee stripper babe and she got the fly stuck in her hair.
I sulked around the perimeter of the beach. NO, I didn't want to talk to Lady Mother about my friends and life. NO, I didn't want to cast a line. NO, I don't want to gut a fish. Can Lil Watz and I walk down to the tackle store for another ice cream sandwich? WHY ARE THERE NO CUTE BOYS HERE WHAT IS THE POINT?! Laying out was dangerous because Lady Mother would try to spray me with sunscreen and ask about my personal life; swimming was dangerous because I could get a hook in the eye. Ughhhh family times sucks I hate everything geeeeez.
I'm so glad to be done with my teenage years.
After sufficiently bitching through the entire trip, we finally packed up to drive home. Dr. Dad, that cruel fiend, would not stop at the Burger King to get me a milkshake. What a JERK. Can you believe this family? Cruel and unusual punishment.
We finally got home and I had somewhat of a change of heart. I guess it wasn't that bad... I got a bit of a tan, and I think the college-age cashier winked at me. Also, if I helped unload the car, that meant I would garner enough good-daughter points to get out of the next trip. Or at least get $10 to go to the mall later that night. Clearly, I had great motivations for helping my parents unpack.
I skipped around to the back of the car, suddenly soOoOo cheerful and helpful and productive. Aren't I the best daughter ever? Don't you just want to forget my entire day of complaining and avoiding you and shower me with rewards? Teenage logic is the best!
I carried in probably one beach chair and a towel before I realized carrying things sucked and Lady Mother probably wasn't going to drive me to the mall afterward because she was TIRED and wanted to READ MORE. So selfish. Ugh. Whining: resumed.
"Why do I have to carry stuff / I didn't even use any of this / YOU were fishing so YOU carry in YOUR fishing stuff / I hate you / I didn't want to go to the river anyway / Why can't we have a cool beach house on Topsail / who even goes to the river / you are so lame / I hate everything / wah wah wahhh"
Finally, in his never-ending patience (ha, just kidding, more like to shut me up because I can be REALLY ANNOYING), Dr. Dad consented if I'd carry in one more thing to the garage, I would be done. It was a trip of probably ten feet, since we were parked right in front of the garage. Ugh. Usually I don't negotiate with terrorists, but I GUESS I can do this huge act of service and go so totally OUT OF MY WAY to do this HORRENDOUS TASK.
I dragged myself around to the back of the car, to see a pile of fishing gear and assorted styrofoam containers. Everything smelled and everything was slimy, especially my family. Lil Watz hoisted the heavy styrofoam containers of tackle/wire/line/parts/who knows what else, like a jovial little imp, because he is the best child and I am the mean awful horrible teenager. I set my sights on one decent-sized styrofoam container and prepared for a heavy load of tackle and... knives? I don't know. I yanked it up and suddenly realized it was far too light to be gear...
so light that my yanking far overshot the balance of the contents, flipping the container upside down and right onto my head.
What did I dump on myself? Not hooks, not knives, not wire - though all of those things would have been preferable...
Hundreds and hundreds of minnows, in just enough water to keep them swimming, dumped squarely on my head. I'd grabbed the live bait box.
Minnows down my shirt. Minnows in my hair. Minnows in.. my mouth? I screamed with full bodied-teen rage and flung the empty container across the driveway, jumping and shaking and trying to scrape the minnows off of my suntan-lotion-sticky body... while my jumping crushed them underfoot.
"R.Grace NOOOOO.... SAVE THE MINNOWS..." I could vaguely hear Dr.Dad yelling at me from the confines of my personal hell. I didn't care that this was probably $40 of fresh bait and that he was going fishing again tomorrow - I was covered in slimy fish water, surrounded by dying fish wiggling and hopping around the pavement - every time I stepped or moved, I squashed another one. I was trapped. Trapped and oozing and surrounded by little flailing bodies gasping for air.
Dr. Dad and wunderkid Lil Watz ran up with another styrofoam container filled with water and started scraping the fish off the ground and off my body. My shrieking and wailing brought the neighbors outside (probably less concerned about abuse and more general entertainment). I ran into the house and up the stairs to my shower - minnow bodies flopping off and leaving a trail of fish guts stuck to my feet.
I could not get the water hot enough to burn off the fish slim (though I definitely burned off a few layers of skin, making the angry eczema monster awaken in full rage). I actually did the "Rinse, Repeat" that the shampoo bottle recommends. I punctuated the entire shower with "I HAAAATEEE YOUUU"s I wailed out, to no one in particular, as the rest of my family was still unloading the car / holding hundreds of tiny funerals for the fallen fish.
After scrubbing my flesh raw, my heart softened ever so slightly. Maybe this harrowing ordeal wasn't my family's fault. Maybe togetherness and family time wasn't that bad. Maybe if I showed some repentance, I could still get a ride to the mall after all.
The Watz family is weird and awful and embarrassing, but maybe they aren't really that bad...
I crept downstairs, clean and clothed, with the right mix of remorse but-really-I'm-right on my face. It appeared my family was just finishing unloading the car (whew, at least I dodged carrying all that crap). Lil Watz turned around with a smile - maybe if I could make peace with the "better" sibling, my parents would be more likely to bend to my wishes and take me to the mall...
Lil Watz held out something to me... a peace offering? Wait... why were his hands all red...
"Look, R. Grace! A minnow heart! It popped right out of one of the fish you stepped on! It's still beating!"
I was holding a minnow heart in my hand.
A beating, bloody heart, on my just-washed hands.
I screamed and flung the heart on the pavement. It squashed and subsequently stopped beating, but splurted fish blood on my feet. Lil Watz loudly wailed at I always ruined everything. Brat.
I sprinted away, through the backyard and up the stairs, back into the shower. My parents' laughter drowned out my infuriated yelling and the pounding of the water. I didn't even want to go to the mall anymore, because how could I ever wash off the filth? How could I ever go out in public again? How could my family be so incredibly gross?
The Watz fam really was THE WORST.