The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant once suffered the indignity of being run over by a white panel van. Driven by our uncle. That story awaits a Netflix Original treatment, but suffice it to say after many stitches, The Rant found ourselves subjected to a strenuous regimen of crossing-the-street-while-looking-both-ways calisthenics while suffering from a complete lack of concussion protocols. The inference that the five-year-old Rant had somehow been complicit in the tragedy would have caused us to take umbrage if we knew what umbrage meant. We had to solace ourselves with a Daffy Duck coloring book and a trip to Dairy Queen.

Our uncle naturally felt remorse and offered to take the wee Rant and our cousins fishing to make amends. So we loaded up the rods and headed out. And we mean rods friends. The Rant comes from humble origins, and we had no money for fancy-pants reels. We went all Huck Finn on fish: a two-piece bamboo rod with a worm and bobber on the end of the line. When the bobber took a dive, you gave a mighty jerk to set the hook and sometimes had to dodge a crappie hurtling toward your melon. When we learned Jesus wanted to make us fishers of men in Sunday school, The Rant always pictured snatching some heathen on to the heavenly shore after they took the bait of our gospel tract, The Four Spiritual Laws.

Arrayed on the shore, our legs dangling from woven nylon lawn chairs, The Rant and cousins awaited a nibble. Was that our bobber moving? Leaning forward to take a closer look, the lawn chair snapped shut like a miser’s purse and sent us rocketing into the water.

The Rant hadn’t learned to swim, what with our hectic being-run-down-in-the-street schedule and all. My father quickly sprang into action. Adrenaline pumping, he executed a beautiful dive far, far over the Rant’s rapidly drowning body. Undaunted, he began swimming furiously back to save me. “Hey,” said my uncle, “Stand up.” My father obeyed. The water came up to his knees. He sheepishly pulled me from the drink and we called it a day.

We have a wicked awesome scar on our head to commemorate the occasion; we can still see our father sailing majestically over us and out into the lake. The Rant surmises when we lose these memories, our first, we will have also lost the memory of what it means to be us.

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