This evening my wife and I volunteered to handle one hour of the booth our Sunday School class ran at the church's Fall Festival. Someone had mentioned to come in costume, and I vaguely wanted to come as a clown, but I made a mental note to run the google search "clown school Dallas" and went as my normal self, which is arguably also clownish. As one of the games was to guess which Biblical figure the costumed personnel portrayed, I am concerned, in any event, that I would have had to extemporize with something like "the angel who wrestled Jacob" or the "the rodeo clown of the Apocalypse" which might not have gone over. I spend my life thinking of elaborat ideas that sometimes don't quite go over.
I had a much more enviable position in any event. I was the man behind the curtain at the Fishing Booth. I will let you in on my secrets, although you should not divulge to anyone how I sliced the lady in half without using any mirrors.
I was behind little cubicle walls. I had before me a set of shower decorations for some hypothetical child's bathroom. Periodically, from the heights would descend a little fastener on a twine-lined fishing "string". I would attach a fish--red, green or blue, to the line. Then I would tug and tug and tug, and then, to the child's delight, the fish would fly skyward, then downward, and then the fish would be bankable for a prize.
The punters pronounced that the odds-on favorite prizes were for the green fish, and nobody minded that some fish were fish while other fish were butterflies or stegosaurus (a prehistoric fish, I corrected my wife).
This booth was absurdly popular. I manned my station for a solid hour, helping child anglers
land fish after fish. I am sure the catch numbered north of 100, and I have the forearm muscles to prove it. The booth gained ample repeat business, including the toddler who practiced "catch and release" (image: green fish whizzing by my head), the older angler who kept putting the line back in, fish attached, in hope, well gratified, that I would merely substitute to a more favored colored fish. From time to time, I helped flying fish leap just above the canopy into sight.
I did not walk on water or parse out any loaves, but it was indeed a religious festival experience.
I saw Moses or Noah in the background, suitably white-bearded and robed.
I think that being the man behind the fish booth curtain is the best of all jobs. I was so very deeply impressed with the booth and the seashells that kind folks had assembled. I just had to
take the occassional hook near the face and tug on twine for an hour solid. Piece of cake-walk.
I do not know if anyone became a fisher of men, but I know that friendly social functions are the glue that, like German Chocolate cake at birthdays, keeps the fabric of livable life sewn together.
I daydreamed of booths where adults could fish for prizes equally plentiful, meaningless, and fun.
Perhaps a CD? Perhaps a Zagnut candy bar? So many fish, so little ocean. Grandparents shouting out encouragement. "Oh! Got one!"