Tuesday, March 06, 2007

And I thought my job was tough...

I swore to myself I would not pick up any additional TV shows this year. Yeah, well that went the way of my strict exercise routine. What’s so weird is not that I picked up a new TV show, but which TV show I’ve become addicted to.

The Discovery Channel’s The Deadliest Catch.

Yes, I’m fascinated by a show that follows crab fishermen out into the Bering Sea. Shall we count all the reasons why my love of this show surpasses all understanding?

1) I hate to fish. If you ever see me next to a body of water with a pole or net, call 911. I’ve either lost what’s left of my mind or else someone is about to get hurt when I hook them on a line or drown them in a net. I have no desire whatsoever to be involved in the production of food. As far as I’m concerned, all food—animal, vegetable, fishy or shellfishy—comes from the grocery store. Where it was before it hit the Kroger is not something I like to think about.

2) I like my seawater warm and basically calm. Like the Gulf of Mexico in August. The Bering Sea in January is neither warm nor calm. The water is 37 degrees for Pete’s sake! And it’s crashing up on the boats in these huge waves, drenching everyone. I’m cold and miserable just looking at these poor guys. Not to mention sea sick…

3.) I’m a Suzy Safety (partly due to my mom being a Suzy Safety, but also because I’m pretty accident-prone and have learned the hard way that “Safe” really is better than “A Trip to the Emergency Room.”) As far as I can tell, there is nothing even remotely safe about a crab boat in the Bering Sea. Aside from the normal hazards of sinking, fire, etc, there’s the fact that if you fall overboard without a survival suit, you’ll be dead before they can even get the boat turned around. Even with a survival suit, your chances aren’t great. According to the show, chance of injury on the job is 100%. And just a few shows into the season, one boat has already sunk (killing all but one of the crew) and another boat has lost a man overboard. THIS IS NOT SAFE, PEOPLE!!!

4.) I’m a bit prissy about certain things—smells would be one such thing. All these men working hard (with both dead and live fish), in close quarters, with only short breaks that are taken up by eating or sleeping—can you imagine what the boat and her crew smells like? Boy Smell and Old Fish. Ewwwww...

But you know what? I LOVE crab. Boil me some crab legs and melt some butter… yummmmmm. One of those crabs I watch them pull out of the trap could be my dinner one day (soon, hopefully). I can promise you after seeing what these men went through to get that crab out of the sea and on it’s way to my plate, I will never waste crab (not that I would anyway). I will eat every delicious morsel and throw none of it away.

Because if nothing else, I now have a lot of respect for the process.

See, I knew I could tie this into writing. Process.

I used to take well-written books for granted. They just appeared on my bookshelf, ready to go, and I never thought about what it took to get those words on the page or what it took to craft that plot. I now have a much deeper appreciation for the authors who bring me the joy of their stories.

Much like I have a greater appreciation of the men who pulled my crab dinner up from the bottom of the ocean.

While you will never find me on a crab boat (and if you do, I’ve been kidnapped and forced aboard, so rescue me, okay?), one day you will find me on the bookshelves of your local B&N. I hope.

So I will never complain about paying full cover price for a book again. Okay, so writing's not deadly like crab fishing, but it's certainly worthy of my respect for those who do it well.

Have you ever discovered respect for something you'd taken for granted?


And a very Happy 29th Birthday to our very good Playfriend Rhonda Nelson!!


Kathy said...

Happy Birthday, Rhonda!!!! Have a great day!

I love to fish when the fish are biting. I've been deep sea fishing, too. Let's just say, the experience left me hugging the side of the boat or moaning in the center while clutching my middle. Never again! I'll take a calm lake or pond any day... as long as the fish are biting.

Interesting how you tied fishing to process, PC. When a book is fascinating and a quick read, we can take that for granted. Most of us have learned how long it takes to bring a book to the shelves after its been sold and what an author has to go through, in the meantime, to get it ready. One thing no one told us when we started writing and trying to get our babies published was how long it would take to mold the story, our process, to an acceptable age. (So that like a fish that's too young, our stories don't get thrown back.)

Enjoy that book you purchase or borrow! Appreciate the time it took to bring characters to life. Writers work hard. And like fishermen facing the fiercest gale, weather tidal flow to make stories palatable.


Playground Monitor said...

Have you ever discovered respect for something you'd taken for granted?

Uh yeah. Motherhood. It's a tough job, baby.

I'm not a fisherman either but all my guys love to do it. So I happily pack them off to fish. Of course they don't do it in the Bering Sea. But oddly enough #2 son had a girlfriend who majored in natural resourse management and spent a year after graduation working on a fishing boat in Alaska. I don't know if it was crab fishing or not. But I'm sure it wasn't a cakewalk whatever it was.

I'm off to my 5-month-overdue yearly eye exam. I hate that little puff of air test they do. And I hope they don't dilate my eyes. I hate that worse.


Smarty Pants said...

That show "Dirty Jobs" has given me a new appreciation for a lot of things I took for granted. I also toured a water reclaimation plant when I was in college as an env. science major. I couldn't get the stink out of my nostrils for three days. Ick.

I also have a great deal of sympathy for the retail workers that have to endure Christmas shopping for $6/hr. It starts at 3AM the day after Thanksgiving and the hell doesn't stop until well into January when people stop returning things.



Instigator said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RHONDA! I hope you're enjoying DC.

New appreciation? You know, not that pops into my head right at this moment which makes me feel kinda guilty. I probably should pay more attention to the world around me huh?

And I don't eat crab (I don't eat seafood of any kind) but I do have a sympathy for them...being a Cancer and all.


Pat said...

Happy Birthday, Rhonda.