I come from a family of harebrained ideas, I get it honestly.  In defence of harebrained ideas, if you do them regularly all your life, you get good at them and they often work.  If they work, are they really harebrained after all? Perhaps only in other people’s opinion. What does other people’s opinion count for anyway?  Those other people are just missing out.

In my early teenage years, we drove the family wagon with the homemade camper all through florida over New Years week.  This was the homemade camper that sleeps six and perched on the roof of the station wagon. One of the best ideas was to take our aluminum canoe and explore the waterways.  Perhaps my favorite place and time was camping at Sebastian Inlet. It is a large maze of lagoons and swamps connected to the Atlantic Ocean by one large inlet that behaved more like a river.  What separates this from a river, though, was that it was, A salt water and, B it flowed furiously in as the tide was going up and out when the tide was going down.

Late one evening, we noticed a couple of fishing boats would anchor out in the middle and in the fast current.  They had lights shining down into the dark water and would catch shrimp in handheld nets as they would wiz by.

Light bulb moment!  My dad got busy. The next night, we paddled our canoe out into the middle of the current as the tide was quickly going out.  We had a large rock (that mysteriously went missing from lining the edge of a parking lot) tied to a long rope. This was thrown out to serve as our anchor.  We bought a few of the cheapest handheld fishing nets that we could find. We set up a couple of lawn chairs in the middle. For light, we had our Coleman gas lantern hanging over the edge of the “fishing boat”, dangling from a long stick.  There we sat while looking at all kinds of odd looking little creatures float by. We couldn’t identify a one of them. Does anyone here even know what a shrimp looks like? But it was too late consider actually learning something now, we were here.  Time to start nabbing some of these succers.

We let most of them go, thinking that there is no way these things were actually shrimp, and more importantly, knowing that there was no way any of us were actually going to eat any of these disgusting creatures.  No one in the boat liked seafood anyway! Then, finally! Somebody pulled in something that looked surprisingly like a shrimp. This is what they must look like. We were done! One shrimp in pot, boredom setting in, mission accomplished.  Just as we were starting to head back, an official looking patrol boat pulled up. It was rather large and kept circling us, while continually making waves that were threatening to swamp our canoe.  The official looking boat captain kept referring to my dad as “skipper” in a very threatening tone of voice.  “Hey skipper, let me see your catch”. We proudly lifted up our camp pot with a lone, rather scrawny looking shrimp. “Where is your shrimping license, skipper?” he boomed.  “Where is your life jackets, skipper?” “Where is your vessel registration, skipper?” “Where is your horn, skipper?” Where is your fire extinguisher, skipper?…..etc.?” Just how much law braking can one do in an aluminum canoe? It appeared as if we were setting all kinds of records.  In the end though, my dad did some rather good finagling and we were let off with only a $37 fine. We called it “the $37 shrimp”. We don’t even like shrimp.