Oct 082008

My daughter lives above a BAIT SHOP??

One of my favorite movie quotes is from a 1980’s b-movie called Back to the Beach. I’m not sure if that was the start of it, but I’ve long been infatuated with bait shops. I’ve never been in one, I’ve never even gone fishing. But I’m obsessed with the gritty imagery that my mind conjures when I think of a bait shop.

Sometimes, I accompany Henry to his place of employment. On the way there, we pass this dingy shanty-like bait shop marked by a hand-written sign that boasts “Live bait. Worms. Fishing Suply.” I’ve been staring dreamily at this bait shop for four years now, and not once in those four years has anyone corrected the spelling of “suply.” It’s endearing.

My new job is a block away from Henry’s, and the fact that I drive past it every day on my way there might just be a coincidence to some; but to me, it’s kind of like a stripper swirling down a pole, her pasties flashing IT’S A SIGN in bright pink LED.

Bait shop, you’re calling my name. I do not know why. Maybe I was a fisherman in a past life, or bait, or maybe I was killed and buried behind a bait shop. But what I do know is that I want to go there, talk to its proprietors. (I believe it’s a husband-wife force; I saw the husband weed-wacking yesterday and I’m unsure of which hurt the weeds more: the brutal annhiliation served up by the weedwacker, or the vicious verbal rampage the husband appeared to be hatefully funneling at them.)

I had this great idea that I should go there and ask to shadow them for an hour or two, get up to my elbows in bait shop grease. Find out what makes a person go into the baiting biz – carrying the family torch? Addicted to the slithery squishiness of worms? Easy to snag a job after bait school?

I’d probably lie and say it’s for school (my classic excuse) so that I can take pictures of them, too. And maybe I’ll get lucky and snag a sound byte from this seven foot homeless man who loiters in the vicinity. You all know how much I love the homeless, maggots in their beards and all.

But Henry thinks this is a horrible idea. Like, they’ll be so aghast and threatened by my request that they’ll fillet me on the spot and sell my toes as bait. Of course, that’s the kind of diarrhea-inducing anxiety that makes me want to do it all the more.  I have this sick desire to do things that make me uncomfortable, and then complain and whine about it to Henry.

Plus, the bait shop sits haphazardly right above a river bank, so it’d give me an opportunity to be within feet of the sickening river, maybe conquer a fear or two.  Or see a dead body washed ashore, who knows.

Oh, and there’s a pier in their backyard, and I’m kind of obsessed with that shit, too. I don’t know, all these things add up to a big cream-filled YES to me.

EDIT: I just found out why Henry doesn’t want me going there. It seems that the husband-owner stepped in front of Henry’s car one day and yelled at him for going too fast (I asked Henry how he would be able to stand in front of our car if Henry was driving that fast, and Henry said “Exactly.”) so now Henry’s dickie shrivels in fear at the thought of the bait shop.

  7 Responses to “Baiting”

  1. I love this entry. Your bait shop story reminds of a bait shop that used to be Upstate, where my parents have a house. For many years, it was just a bait shop/sporting goods store. I guess it came under new management and they turned half of it into a pizza restaurant – but kept the bait. So, under the sign for “Delicious Wood-Stove Pizza”, there was another one for “Live, Fresh Bait.”
    I never did go in there because I was afraid they’d get my order wrong and I’d get bait instead of a Hawaiian. Now it’s a ribs place.

  2. Umm, is this the same Back to the Beach with a high-larious Pee Wee Herman surfing cameo?

    • Yes! Shit, I love that movie. I searched for the soundtrack for years and years. I finally found it, but when I realized it didn’t have that song that the cast sings at the end, I was like, “Fuck you, years of searching for naught.”

  3. YES! Go ask them to shadow for a day!!! The “I’m doing a project” line always works!

  4. just don’t go alone…

    (I believe it’s a husband-wife force; I saw the husband weed-wacking yesterday and I’m unsure of which hurt the weeds more: the brutal annihilation served up by the weedwacker, or the vicious verbal rampage the husband appeared to be hatefully funneling at them.)

    have you ever… ok wait, nevermind… i am sure you haven’t. but- using a weedwacker is a fucking challenge!!!!!! i bet he was yelling at that damn machine.

    oh wait– and weird- weedwackers operate with not blades- but like this FISHING LINE stuff that cuts the weeds down. he is FISHING obsessed. like you are BAIT obsessed.

    match made in riverside heaven.

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