We, and our actions, are ultimately a product of our environment and unless you live in a bubble those influences are bound to be both good and bad. What we do with them, well that’s up to us.
Losing my father to melanoma was a type of gut-wrenching pain I won’t even try to wrap words around, but what I do with it is up to me. In part, I’ve chosen to fight back against the disease that took his life and that’s something I know I can hold onto forever. As an angler and a writer I have the opportunity to reach an audience that is particularly prone to this type of cancer, and I’m fortunate to have that platform.
People have varying opinions on tattoos… some love them and there are those who think they’re blasphemy against God. One look at me will easily tell you where I stand, and on this trip I wanted a reminder forever inked on me of something I don’t think I’d soon forget anyway.
Now I’m one of those weirdos without cable television, but I’d have to be dead not to have heard of the guys at Miami Ink., who have made tattooing and the city they do it in a national conversation via Reality Television. I wanted the biggest platform I could find, hoping they might share my cause, one that truly affects so many of us.
So I found Love Hate Tattoo shop in Miami (many have sprung up around it, they’re that popular) and asked for a simple design: the hook through the ribbon that Rick Roth and the guys at Mirror Image designed for the T-shirts I’ve been selling to raise money for the cause on this trip.
And James Bennett of Love Hate Tattoo in Miami was good enough to do the work at half the cost, the rest of which I’ll be donating toward the cause. And wouldn’t you know it, he was an angler. He talked to me about taking his son to fish, and getting him into largemouth bass and peacocks at a young age. It is truly a gift we can give children that costs almost nothing, and something they’ll have their entire lives. To see some kids who are just about as excited as kids can get over a fish, check out his YouTube page.
The tattoo’s a reminder that while there are evils in this world that might attack us when we’re least prepared, they’ll never be stronger than the hope we can gather against them, whether that’s through fishing, or any collected effort. And it’s not one I think I’ll regret, now or ever.