Have you ever known someone who has to “one-up” everyone and everything? Always saying something along the lines of, “If you think that was something, wait till I tell you about….” Of course you have. We all have. Everything they do is either bigger, faster, prettier, uglier, ect, ect. I once worked with a man who was a shining example. Old Bill.
Bill was a skinny little guy, standing maybe 5’5″, and weighing no more than 110 pounds soaking wet. For whatever reason he worked well past retirement age. I think that work may have been his only hobby. And because he was a widower who lived alone, the only people available to brag…I’m sorry, talk to were his co-workers. I never met his wife, but I can’t imagine anyone being able to endure this guy day after day, and year after year. She must have been stone deaf, or had skin thicker than a rhino, or both. I know for us there were days at work that were torturous!
Because I was and still am a guy who loves to bass fish, he once approached me and asked what was the biggest bass I ever caught. I told him 8 pounds, 12 ounces.
“Oh that ain’t nothing!” he replied with a wave of his hand. (Gee, what a surprise!) You ever fish Lake St. Claire?”
“Many times,” I replied. “In fact I caught a 8-7 there several years back.”
“You call that big? I’ve taken three from that lake over 20 pounds each.”
From anyone else I would have laughed, knowing such an exaggeration was meant to be a joke. But I knew that was not the case with Bill. “Wow, Bill, those are some big bass,” I replied, and let it go at that. For anyone not familiar with fishing records, the world record largemouth bass was caught in 1932 and weighed 22 pounds, 4 ounces. Now I don’t know what Bill meant when he said his three fish weighed “over” 20 pounds each, but he still came pretty close to breaking the world record. But what was really amazing is our Washington State record. His fish almost doubled it…three times…on the same lake…and for all I know, on the same day. Our state record was set in 1977 and, compared to Bill’s fish, was only a measly 11.57 pounds. Of course, strangely, that record still stands. I guess because ole’ Bill was such a humble guy, he probably didn’t want the fame. What a guy!
Now besides being a person who stretches the truth into another time zone, Bill’s intelligence was also left in another time zone. And when those two short-comings were combined, you had the perfect ingredients for the following incident….
While riding in the crew bus on our way to the job site, and with elk season approaching, the guys were swapping tales about past hunting trips. Of course Bill was sitting in the back, his beady little eyes dancing with excitement while waiting for his turn. And we all knew that sooner or later his turn would be coming. Of course, it was sooner. He could wait no longer. It was time for him to commence oohing and aahhing us adoring fans. Lucky us!
“Hell,” he bellowed, “you think that’s big? I once shot a bull elk that weighed 4000 pounds!”
“Bill,” one of the guys shot back, “that is so much crap! There isn’t an elk in the world that weighs two tons!”
Bill’s eyes widened in indignation. “I didn’t say it weighed two tons, dammit! I said it weighed 4000 pounds!”
I rest my case, and this post….