Sunday, December 11, 2005

This is what passes for a scandal around here.


Imagine my surprise when I saw a story connected to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in nearby Hayward headlining on MSN.com today...there is quite the little scandal unfolding down there about a long-standing "world's largest muskie" title that may have been fraudulently obtained back in the 1940s. This is what passes for a scandal around here.

What I find especially amusing is that this isn't apparently just big news around here (it's been in all the local papers quite a bit)--it apparently qualifies as national news now, too. I hadn't realized that anyone outside of the top half of Wisconsin even knows what a muskie is.
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Seeing that picture of that glorious fish-shaped museum reminds me of a more innocent time in my life...the summer of 1998, my 2nd back from college. I was working a crappy job as a summer hand for a gas pipeline (no, really), where I spent most of my days listening to a 50-something guy named Zippy talk about his Beanie Baby collection and mowing the lawn with a push-mower while dressed in mandatory hardhat, goggles, ear plugs, and steel-toed boots. (Again, really. Wait, let that mental image wash over your brain...there. Now we can move on.) On the weekends, my parents would only allow me to travel within a 60-mile radius of Ashland, with the exception of Duluth, which remained off-limits (this was back in the days when they were still scared to drive over the Blatnik Bridge).

So, my friend Emily and I made it our mission to keep ourselves entertained that summer by keeping within that 60-mile radius...and touring what came to be known as the "Big Stuff." It started out with a day trip to Ironwood Michigan, and our pilgrimage to THREE destinations on our burgeoning "Big Stuff" list: The World's Tallest Indian (standing at 52 feet tall in the middle of a residential neighborhood), the Giant Ski-Boy, and, of course, the local Big Boy restaurant. And it just kept snowballing after that...in the end, it was fairly alarming how many large fiberglass objects are perched within this 60-mile radius in the middle of nowhere. Big fish, big apples, big loons, big "Indians," big everything.

Ah, those were the days...maybe one of these days I'll find my "Big Stuff" pictures & scan them in. I seem to recall something about a giant goat somewhere...it is crucial that such epic tales not be lost to the ages.

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