Capt. Gary Henderson, Florida

October 4th, 2004

"CURMUDGEON"

(WARNING: THIS ARTICLE COULD CAUSE A NEGATIVE AFFECT ON THOSE THAT WHO LIVE ELSEWHERE OTHER THAN THE SOUTHERN REGION OF THE UNITED STATES (OR BE TOTALLY CONFUSING TO THOSE LIVING OUT OF THIS COUNTRY).

By Captain Gary (Flats Dude) Henderson
(Inspiration provided by Dave Micus)

Curmudgeon n : a crusty irascible cantankerous old person full of stubborn ideas

This is the correct definition according to "dictionary.com," but I have different ideas about this beautiful word. Let us redefine.

Down here in the south, we tend to look at a lot of things in a different context, 'specially words. Heck, we even start our fairy tales differently down here. Regular fairy tale begins;
"Once upon a time..."

Southern fairy tale begins;
"Y'all ain't gonna believe this..."

Let us examine the words, Cabernet Sauvignon. Now doesn't that just roll off your tongue; like poetry, ain't it? It's supposed to; a good red wine and a chunk of roasted venison, very nice!

A few weeks ago, our own Ipswichy columnist, Dave Micus, emailed me concerning something and typed this alluring, angelic, appealing word. How nice of him to refer to himself as one of these persons, dang, I just liked the sound of that reference. Curmudgeon, and he hated to think he may turn out to be one. Hell, after I read the note, I wanted to be one! 'Course, I had to look it up to see what it meant, first. I was in shock! Not our Dave! A perfect example of how things get screwed up. An exquisite word that some curmudgeon made up to describe himself…too bad it had to be wasted on that fool! (No, not Dave!) And, just to think, the word doesn't even have an origin!

As I said; let us redefine...

"Based on legend, in along the same time period of Sir Galahad, a horseman rode his worthy steed into the castle gates to ask the great king for the princess' hand in marriage. This was no ordinary knight, he was a Curmudgeon. All in the village knew there were but only a few of these Curmudgeon. They came from all around to witness the event, and they wept as they knelt before this mighty swordsman. They were rare and brave knights and only could receive this title by the spirits summoned by the Wizard of Curmudgia..." Now doesn't that just sound a lot better? Wow, to be a Curmudgeon in those days!

We would never mess up pretty words like that in the south. We would simply just attach a better meaning to that word, just like I did. I thoroughly believe there should be a panel, of sorts, put together to analyze definitions, then assign a word to properly attach to those definitions.

Let us consider the word influenza. That's another pretty word; nasty meaning...pretty word. I submit to you this little scenario...

Picture a quant, Italian village. Vineyards cover the hills in the distance. In the town's center, a flowing well where the ladies gather every morning to whisper the latest gossip and to fill their clay pots with water. There, sitting on the edge of this well, is a lovely and single girl. Her dark hair flows teasingly in the gentle wind. Her eyes flash with excitement as she notices her beau heading her way. "Ah, there you are, Influenza. I've been looking everywhere for you." Now, see...put it in a different text, and there ya go. Another word given to the pretty Italian girl as a name, instead of some dreaded illness. It's a shame, isn't it?

Okay, let's reverse it.

n. pl. mullet or mul·lets Any of various stout-bodied, edible fishes of the family Mugilidae, found worldwide in tropical and temperate coastal waters and some freshwater streams. Dictionary.com again.

The poor old mullet is picked on by everyone in the sea, including me. As soon as he is born, oops, hatched, he is the official low man on the food chain. He is delicious fried or smoked. All the other fish love him, too...sushi style. And all he does is jump gleefully into the air to celebrate his life, and then a blasted osprey pounces on him and carries him off for lunch. He's rather a cute fish, so says my wife Linda, with that pouting mouth and those big, Betty Boop eyes. It's bad enough that he goes through life being munched on, pounced on, hooked in the rump with a Mustad 3407, 4/0 and flung to a waiting sea trout or snook. Then some buffoon makes it even worse and hangs the name "mullet" on him...that just ain't right! The Italians, and I'm not pickin' on you guys, figured the same thing I'm thinkin', they refer to the poor old mullet as Lisa... that was nice of 'em. Sure is one helluva lot nicer name than mullet.

I'm perplexed...

So many words to reassign meanings to, so little time...

So, I submit to you, this.

Sir Davis Micus;
A true and fine Curmudgeon, that has sworn never to harass Lisa the mullet, and will never travel to Italy in hopes of catchin' Influenza!

Enough of this gibberish! (hummm...another word, perhaps to analyze.)

See y'all next week. ~ Capt. Gary

About Gary:

Gary grew up in central Florida and spent much of his youth fishing the lakes that dot the area. After moving a little closer to the coast, his interests changed from fresh to salt. Gary still visits his "roots" in the "lake behind the house."

He obtained his captain's license in the early '90's and fished the blue waters of the Atlantic for a little over twelve years. His interests in the beautiful shallow water flats in and around the famous Mosquito Lagoon came around twenty-five years ago. Even though Captain Gary doesn't professionally guide anymore, his respect of the waters will ever be present.

Gary began fly fishing and tying mostly saltwater patterns in the early '90's and has participated as a demo fly tier for the Federation of Fly Fishers on numerous occasions. He is a private fly casting and tying instructor and stained glass artist, creating mostly saltwater game fish in glass.


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