Tomorrow morning, I will be getting up at 3:30 a.m. so I can take my fishing gear and hop in a car with two fishing buddies. Then we will drive three hours so we can be on the river fishing for steelhead by first light.
If you have never fished or hunted, you might not know that we refer to 3:30 a.m. as half past stupid.
That’s what my partner Jenn calls it.
Jenn, you see, is a normal person who does not, for some reason, understand the need to get up in the middle of the night to drive on wintery roads to a place where you will don waders and step into frigid water, all for the chance of catching a fish you will probably release.
Who can say how her mind works?
I would not think this is even worth writing about if not for the curious fact that this is no mere fluke. You see – and this is the hard part for me to believe – she also calls it half past stupid when I get up early to go duck, deer, grouse, squirrel, hare, goose or woodcock hunting. And – get this – to her, half past stupid can mean any time from 1:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.
This, and the fact that they don’t teach waterfowl identification, is why I believe our educational system has failed us.
As a result, people like Jenn have never arisen at half past stupid in their entire life.
True, in their younger years, they frequently went to bed at that time. But getting up? Not unless a fire alarm or a weak bladder forced the issue.
I’m not sure if this has to do with some genetic trait which only allows people like Jenn’s eye lids to move in one direction – from open to shut – during the half past stupid hours. If so, someone needs to start a telethon to find a cure.
You see, it makes me sad for Jenn and others, because almost the best fishing and hunting occurs during the early morning. And, to be in place, you need to get up at half past stupid. Otherwise you miss out.
Without a cure, Jenn, and people like her, will also never be able to enjoy the feeling of discovering the leak in your waders, how hot coffee from a drive-through feels on your lap, and what it’s like to be in a car with at least one angler who ate chili the night before. It’s sad really. They’re missing out on everything that makes life worth living.
Don’t think I haven’t tried to help her either.
I’ve blown goose and duck calls in the bedroom, backed boats over garbage cans, made dogs bark and even set off fire alarms while making breakfast, all in a desperate attempt to show her the beauty of half past stupid.
Sadly, it has been to no avail.
It’s not like Jenn hasn’t made a valiant effort, either. She has insisted on setting my alarm clock several times in order to get up with me at half past stupid. You should see her when she makes those attempts. She is giddy with delight. In fact, I have never seen her so happy. She beams at the prospect of us getting up early as a couple so we can be on some river bank, deer stand or duck blind at first light.
But, again, our educational system failed us. As sad as it is, Jenn still doesn’t know the difference between a.m. and p.m.