Better Late Than Never: Fishing with Nuclear Warheads

L.D.  Lew Downs
For being incredibly smart animals, cats can be pretty dumb.

Dangle a ball of yarn in front of a feline and they’ll swipe at it intently. Sometimes they’ll hit it, but oftentimes they’ll get tired or bored and simply give up. They don’t realize, as light on their feet and agile as they are, that they could easily just scratch the fuck out of your hand, jump up and secure the ball with relative ease.

Humans are incredibly similar when it comes to their relationships.

Often times, we discredit our own attractiveness and, instead of going after that individual who catches our eye, we settle for the belief that they were just “out of our league.”

I had dated a girl in college who I eventually broke up with after finding out she had been cheating on me. I was crushed, I didn’t eat or leave my bedroom for a week. All I wanted to do was get drunk and have her explain to me why she would do such a thing when I had always been there for her and given myself to her completely… to give me another chance, to not leave me feeling so emotionally wrecked and lost.

Thankfully, I had a good friend who told me something that’s stuck with me ever since.

My friend, who we will refer to as “Beer Buddha,” came to my apartment and told me to put on some pants… he was taking me out for a much needed beer. After grabbing a brew at our local watering hole, we sat down at a table and he began staring at me intently.

“How many girls at this bar do you think would sleep with you?”


“Scratch that… how many girls at this bar do you think would go on a date with you if you were to ask them out right now?”

The last thing I wanted to talk about was sleeping with or dating any girls, but BB was being persistent… and he wasn’t gonna take silence when he was paying for the night’s booze. The bar was packed, I’m modest and I just wanted him to stop talking at this point.

“I don’t know… maybe five?”

“Yeah… horse shit. Let’s just low ball and say ten. There’s ten gorgeous girls at this bar RIGHT NOW that would go on a date with you. How many bars would you say are on this street, within a five minute walking distance.”

“Nine or ten I think.”

“All of those bars are equally as packed, and, if we were to low ball again, that would be ten more girls from each bar that are attractive that would let you take them on a date. That’s a hundred girls within a five minute walk that would want you to take a chance on them. We’re not even considering the girls that decided not to go out tonight, the girls studying on campus, or the girls who are out of town. Just in this town, there’s probably five hundred girls who you would be attracted to who would love for you to take them on a date… how far are we from Des Moines?”

“About 45 minutes…”

“If you count Ankeny, Des Moines and West Des Moines, there’s easily 2,000 attractive women who would say yes if you asked them on a date.”

Beer Buddha was fucking with my mind.

“You can let yourself continue to be a piece of shit, hold yourself responsible, feel like there’s nothing to live for anymore, or you can quit being a little bitch and realize there’s plenty of fish in the sea. It’s a dumb saying, I know… but you’re a good dude… and when you’re a good dude, you shouldn’t be afraid to go fishing. There’s more fish in the sea, and your bait is a nuclear fucking warhead… you’re only going to be lonely and unappreciated if you decided to let this one girl ruin your life.”

I looked off into the distance… his words had hit home and hit home hard.

Cats and their yarn… never seeming to realize how close their desires are if they just stopped pussy footing and went after them with a greater tenacity.

My failures in life have only made me more persistent. My past mistakes merely serve as reminders of what I deserve and what I should be willing to fight for.

I went on a date with a girl not too long ago and it went extremely well… I didn’t want the night to end. She felt the same way, and so we went on another date. And then a few days after the second date, she said she felt as though she needed some alone time and wasn’t quite ready to be in the dating world again.

I was smitten though, and she wasn’t getting off the hook that easy. I live with my heart on my sleeve, and so I laid it to her straight. I saw the ball of yarn and I was gonna scratch my way until I got it. I was persistent enough, or perhaps she’s just crazy enough that we’re taking things slow and every day that we talk and spend together I become more fond of her.

The things we want in life rarely fall into our lap, and that’s a good thing. Anything worthwhile takes time and persistence, blood, sweat and tears. The greatest are simply good until they attack their potential.

Without a single day guaranteed, we’d be fools to not go after the things we want in life… we’d be fools to let anything weigh us down for too long. There is so much beauty in the world and we should make it our goal to experience as much of it as we can.

We’re meant to take chances and we may fail nine times out of ten… but we were built to survive, and we were built to thrive.

In 26 years, I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities, I’ve doubted myself and I’ve experienced plenty of failure. But when your ambition far exceeds your talent, you can accomplish some truly wonderful things in life. And even when it seems like it’s taking your rocket ship forever to launch, it’s better to fly for a little only to crash and burn than to never have had the balls to strap in and see where life takes you in the first place.