Friday, June 18, 2010

Duck Fishing

This is a true story about me helping a duck.

When I was 17, maybe a month out of high school, I spent the day with a friend I hadn't seen much of since graduation. Among other hanging out and catching up, she and I went for a walk around Lake George in St. Cloud, MN. About three-quarters of the way through our circumnavigation of the lake I noticed some young-ish boys [I would guess they were probably somewhere between 8 and 12 years old] in kind of a panic and then a female duck rampaging among them. It didn't take long to discover that the boys had been doing some catch and release fishing when one of them had hooked poor Mama Duck in the leg. I ended up deciding to take the initiative to physically imobilize the duck, push the fish hook through her leg and sever the fishing line so that she could get away relatively unharmed. I think I may have gotten some scratches on my arm but I really don't remember. It can't have been anything serious.

In hindsight it's easy for me to wonder to my self why I wasn't paying closer attention to what I was doing back then. Why didn't I think, "Wow! I feel really good about assisting this helpless animal out. I enjoy seeing and interacting with animals. Why don't I make a profession out of that?" But that's hindsight. When I was 17 and waiing to turn 18 and start college I was preoccupied with my social life. I was focused on my lack of a girlfriend, and self-destructively certain that I was going to ride my ROTC scholarship into an Army comission and have a very clearly linear millitary career, never mind the possibility of me dying. I really had no idea beyond that what I wanted to do. I was short-sighted, lonely, unconsciously depressed and self-destructive. But in hindsight the lesson of that experience is clear to me. Now I feel more motivated and ambitious than I ever have in my life with respect to my career. I want to be a vet, and I hope that, that is where the path of my life leads me.

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