Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, that experience usually comes from bad judgment.
A recent fish camp meeting resulted in some rule changes. The club has no formal structure, oldest membership keeps things on track. In any event, a few members were complaining that our last update to "Rules and Regulations to Better Fish Camp Etiquette and Posture" was in 2006 and needed attention. So the following are clarity and revisions for 2011:
Not allowed: cell phones, briefcases, MP3 players, Game Boys, PlayStations, electronic devices or portable games other than poker cards.
Not to be discussed: politics, salaries, religious preferences, relationships, work, immigration, race, creed or national origin. (Exception: members shall not be affiliated with any group or organization of the federal government and must be cardholding members of the United States. Proof shall be required by presenting a valid fishing or hunting license.)
Note of change: If it doesn't eat, drink, laugh, cry, show reasonable consideration for others or pass gas, it has no place in the club. If the topic does not relate to how big, how long, weight, taste, strength, distance, time, class, stats or averages, it is not suitable for discussion.
No drugs: If you mention Coke, it better be brown, wet and served from a can. If you are referring to hooch, it had better have a roof over it, a bed and a front door. If you are referring to Mary Jane, she had better be of female persuasion, know how to shoot, fish and handle a boat. If you take a pill, it had better be prescribed, labeled and from a bottle obtained from a known pharmacy.
Bragging rights: Please reserve your tales for those items generated around the camp. Don't try to impress us with tales of past hunts or fishing trips. Your reputation is not a symbol of your worth. Everyone is equal -- some more than others, but the principle is the same.
Smells: Do not add to the aroma; we have grown accustomed to the marsh. We started tromping fluff mud at an early age. It is supposed to smell that way and reminds us of our roots.
Entertainment: We play poker, watch football, baseball and basketball. There is only one channel -- sports. When you enter the room, you are allowed to ask the score, but not ask who is playing -- it doesn't matter; it's sports, it's a game. Refrain from talking, or yelling, at characters on the screen. It has been scientifically proven that they can't hear you.
Phone usage: There is one phone for emergency use only and it is located in the kitchen. There is one number on the keypad -- 911. Please do not attempt to call home for instructions.
First aid: First aid shall be administered only by those qualified. If stitches are required, the best fly-tiers shall be elected. If broken bones are encountered, it is best to consult those with carpentry skills. Transportation to area hospitals will be made by the owner of the vehicle with the largest tires. If questioned about the incident, its cause or reason, a simple 'Yes' or 'No' is acceptable; no other explanation is required or should be expected.
Storytelling: You will be expected to adhere to a certain degree of diplomacy while away from camp. If asked about certain occurrences while at camp, you are required to answer. You will not be quizzed on your response, but all answers are your responsibility and purposefully removed from discussion by other members. If prone to exaggeration, the rule is this: You may expand on the truth only to such a degree that it is believable to 35 percent of those present at the telling and only those within earshot. Beyond that, anyone may call "Foul" and challenge you for details. (Exception: fish weights, distance of shots and size of deer.)
This is the first submission of clarity and revisions for the first page of "Rules and Regulations to Better Fish Camp Etiquette and Posture," and it shall remain enforced until such time as it is deemed necessary for change.