It caused quite a stir among the nonfishing public last week when President Bush had his ear unexpectedly pierced. But any experienced angler would sympathize with the chief executive, who was impaled by a flying fish hook off the coast of Maine.
Details of the accident are murky, but it appears that one of the President's fishing partners nailed him on a back cast. Bush, a trouper, took the mishap evenly. He had his doctor, who was on board, snip the hook in half and pull it out, and he continued fishing.
The President was lucky. When the same thing happened to me last year, I was all alone at sea, with no one to snip me free or any tools to snip myself.
I nailed myself with a half-ounce diamond jig while casting for mackerel in Casco Bay, not far from where Bush was fishing. Like the President's misdirected hook, mine went right through the ear lobe, penetrating beyond the barb so it could not simply be pulled out.
The result was a very bright and fetching, two-inch-long silver decoration for my right ear, off which the sunlight glinted merrily. Never having worn an earring, I found it a bit uncomfortable, and after a few minutes, I headed the five miles to our island cottage to seek help.
The trek up the woods path home was uneventful, and I even stopped to gobble wild blackberries along the way. Once on the main island road, I cupped the earring in a hand to spare any passersby a shock. Men don't customarily wear earrings on Great Chebeague.
Fortunately, the first vehicle to appear belonged to the island plumber. I flagged him down and asked if he had any wire cutters or needle-nose pliers. "A-yup," he said, and asked why. I dropped my hand and the jig glittered in the sun.
He chuckled cheerfully and pulled out a set of pliers. It felt weird to have the heavy, cold steel nuzzling the fragile fibers of my ear as he set to work, but the job was quickly done and the metal neatly removed.