The Deep Blue Sea | Teen Ink

The Deep Blue Sea

December 7, 2022
By joberheu BRONZE, Tempe, Arizona
joberheu BRONZE, Tempe, Arizona
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“This is going to be the best day yet,” my dad said, as he pointed to the worms writhing in the can of dirt, the shiny new sinkers, the reel of line, the colorful seasonings, and the peanut oil on the counter. “Mike and Holly don’t know what they’re in for.”

            I know, dad, you’ve told me your plan for them about fifteen times. We’re going to get up early, go to the spot, and use our new bait and gear. They’re going to be blown away by your immense skills on the fryer and sleep well at night. But did we really have to wake up that early?

            “Wake up! The fryer’s calling!” We did have to wake up that early. I looked over at the clock; 4:33 am. There’s no turning back now. I put my clothes on, finished packing my backpack, and went downstairs where my brother and sister were waiting for me. My dad said nothing, but he didn’t need to, his face said it all. For him, 4:40 am was the same as noon. The bags under his eyes were gone and every step he took had a purpose to it. His hands were full with rods, bags, and water bottles. Every minute ate away at him, and he only moved faster as time passed. We eventually packed the car and headed to the dock.

            If I could have picked a sign from God to not go out, this would’ve been one. A cloud excluded from its peers had made its new home at the dock. Its anger blindfolded the dock at 5:30 am. The sole beacon in my hand saved me from entering the Dark Age. The cloud was devoid of any warm, happy thoughts and my hoodie lost the battle against the shiver. This cloud silenced everything but me; the only sound came from things in my proximity. Shells shattered under my feet and the wooden path ached as I walked to the dock. The ever-present smell of seaweed and the ocean’s unmistakable perfume lingered. The dock became the next horror game and I felt eyes looking back at me just beyond where my vision ended. We eventually got everything onto the boat, and my dad started the engine, untied the boat, and set out, and I fell asleep.

            I woke up to the sound of my dad yelling. I didn’t need to see what my dad was doing to recognize the significance of his tone. A fish got to live another day. I got up and looked out the deck. My dad looked ready to explode as he cussed out his fishing hook for letting go of the fish. My brother and sister were both donating the last of their breakfast to the sea. The scene was no short of a massacre. I decided to take a look at my surroundings before addressing my dad. What surrounded me was mesmerizing. A deep blue calm stretched everywhere. It was so still I felt like I could skateboard on it and my sister could do her makeup on it, circumstances permitting. I examined this calm from the last survivor of the angry cloud’s apocalypse. However, the angry cloud was now replaced by its happier cousins, one who was light blue and one who was a piercing yellow. The cousins painted their happiness onto the biggest canvas I had ever seen and shared some of its secrets to me. The clouds once in the sky now swam by the boat. Three giants and their homeland interrupted the great blue blanket. They stretched to the sky and grumbled to themselves. Their three arms only moved to mother nature’s will. The giants defended a land full of people who gathered enough money and years to live there. This made their land a quiet, secluded place. The giant’s shadows split the land into three distinct sections. The one thing the angry cloud left behind was its silence. Mother nature, the giants, and the giant’s land all slept undisturbed. My dad, sister, brother, and I became the sole witnesses of the scene. As I looked around, I felt the spirit latched to my spine start to let go. I felt my muscles relax and my body sink into the boat. My airways opened up and the smell of the ocean returned. My peripheral view returned and my mind got its voice back. I noticed a large school of fish pass by to the right of my ready-to-blow-up dad.

This can’t be real.

My dad saw me lost in my surroundings and decided fishing was the better thing for me to do. “Go get a rod and cast out. You’re our last hope.” A bit dramatic, dad. Anyone can catch a fish. I grabbed my rod and told my dad about the schools of fish I saw while looking around. His ears told me that my opinion was useless. I cast out my line and kept looking around. We would need at to catch at least four fish if we wanted everyone to get a piece tonight. Unfortunately, my dad’s provisions were no luck despite being alone at sea for six hours. We went home with a cooler full of defeat.

            My mother asked how it went once we got home. My dad’s reply said it all. He put his rods down in the living room, let out a deep sigh, and ascended unimaginably slow up the stairs to the bedroom. At the top, he revealed the true emotions behind his heartbreak at sea.  

“I just wanted to Mike and Holly to try a piece of my cookin’. I got all this sh*t but no fish to go with it.” Sometimes sh*t just doesn’t follow the script.

            Buying new rods, reels, sinkers, bait, and getting up early and leaving the dock before everyone else doesn’t mean that you’ll catch any fish. How I wish it did. In life, sometimes the winning strategy on paper doesn’t turn out to be the winning strategy in practice. You can leverage yourself above everyone else–better rods, reels, and bait or a better field of study, university, and degree level–and still not come out on top. You can find the best place to go–quiet spot, beautiful weather, still water or a fast-growing market, underserved community, growing town–and still not succeed. You can even create a great team and still end up with half of them throwing up out the side of the boat. My frustrated dad was sure that he was doing everything he could to catch any and all fish. He never moved the boat or changed his bait.

Looking at those who are failing and should be winning is important if you want to learn how to catch the real fish in life, whatever they may be. My dad’s fishing spot and gear were top-tier, but yet he came home with an empty cooler. If he took a step back to look at the ocean like I did, he would’ve seen the schools of fish to our right and left that had become noticeable from the bright sun. Always be sure to look at the ocean around you instead of relying on the same spot off the back of the boat. Not only can you fish off different spots of the boat, but you can also move the boat itself. Those who catch the most fish don’t always have the best bait, but they are always looking for more fish and ways to get them. They can figure out when things aren’t working for them and adjust their strategy.

            However, it is important to note that my dad was working hard to catch fish and I was just looking around at the ocean identifying schools of fish. It is also important to note that this was one day at sea and that my dad has had plenty of great days at sea. However, he has never changed where he’s gone fishing. I could see with all the fish passing by that there was obviously a more populated spot, or a better way to fish; a net, for example. It’s important to enjoy and understand the environment around you, but understand that you can always move your boat or use different bait and still catch the same fish, and sometimes even more fish than ever before. Additionally, fishing is a game of chance and many people fish for a leisure activity; catching fish is only an added benefit to them. Understanding the difference between the two is key. While it is important to learn and discuss about all the ways to catch fish, it is ultimately those who go out on their boat and cast out who actually catch the fish. However, those who catch the most fish often change their spots, bait, and have had many bad days to accompany their good ones. The fish will always be there, but the way they’re caught is often subject to change.

The author's comments:

I wrote this piece for my English 101 class. The goal of this essay was to provide an argument and create an extended analogy for it. I reflected on what I had learned this semester and decided to write about an important lesson I had learned. 

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.