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Fishhook's point not well taken

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© St. Petersburg Times, published March 12, 2001

What seems to be the trouble?" the nice volunteer lady at the emergency room asked.

"I have this fishing lure stuck to my hand," I said, hoping she would realize that having a fishing lure stuck to my hand wasn't a matter of lifestyle choice and that I wanted it removed.

"I hope," she said, covering it up with a clean cloth, "you caught some fish first."

Not even.

I have not gone fishing since 1961. I quit when I realized that all of that work baiting hooks and casting lines and reeling in seriously interfered with my beer drinking. Since then I have, occasionally, watched others fish, and, during periods when I have absolutely nothing (like a root canal) better to do, listened to other's fish stories.

But I don't fish.

Which made it all the more ludicrous that I was standing there with this gaudy yellow, green and red thing attached to my left thumb by a very painfully embedded barb.

We were in the process of moving some of my fiancee's furniture to my house when, emptying a drawer, I grabbed a fishing lure with six hooks on it, two of which became embedded in my gloves. After trying exasperatedly for five minutes or so to dislodge the hooks, I decided to just pull my hands apart, assuming the gloves would rip.

The result was me, well, getting the point.

And it wasn't the only point to offer.

I had been so unkind the previous day as to raise the question of whether my soon-to-be-stepdaughter really needed a cell phone. My advice was given its usual careful consideration and ignored.

I had even written about it in this column, suggesting that Pasco Sheriff Bob White, who has a pension for snatching cell phones from his deputies, deputize her and take away hers.

So there I am, needing to call the nearest hospital to make sure it accepted my insurance ... so I could avoid compounding the pain and embarrassment by being bankrupted.

I saw it coming.

"Would you like," said my 19-year-old princess-in-training, "to use my cell phone?"

Using my good hand to wipe humble pie from my lips, I nodded.

Nothing ever goes smoothly when you have a fishhook in your hand.

There is some sort of state law that requires hospitals in Pasco County to change their names every three weeks, which means you never know what to ask directory assistance for.

They had, of course, never heard of Bayonet Point Hospital, or Bayonet Point Regional Medical Center. I had forgotten to inquire under the name "Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point."

They hadn't, apparently, heard of listings for any of the other words I used.

I learned a long time ago to refer to Pasco hospitals only as "the big white one," or "the one over there," or "the one I tell my friends to let me die on the way to Tampa General rather than taking me there."

And you know who you are.

Lesson two: never take the kid who wants your job to the hospital with you, even if he has given up his complete Saturday to help you move. He'll just keep yelling things like "Tetanus-shmetanus, they're just trying to sell you a shot," and then he'll be hopefully peeking over your shoulder while your blood pressure is being taken.

All that aside, I was treated well and nicely by the people at Bayonet Point with not one remark (in front of me) about the mental capacity of people who stick fishhooks in their hands or what people smell like after a full day of moving.

I have learned that turning loose of something can require just as much attention as picking it up, to hire professional movers even if I have to borrow money and that it is much better to have a happy relative with a cell phone than an unhappy one who would probably bring it up more than once why she didn't.

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