"Who are you?
Who, who, who, who? … "
Dateline: Oneida Lake
"I run 2 miles every morning."
I can barely DRIVE two miles every morning.
Sorry dude, we would shoot each other by the second event of the 2012 Elite season.
I came to Oneida Lake to do a story or two about the B.A.S.S. Northern Open … and to be honest … talk to some Elite dude friends of mine about being roomies ALL of next season … 2012.
" … I really wanna to know
Oh, I really want to know … "
Awhile back I put this story up: Roomate wanted
I have very specific qualifications for roomies, No. 1 … they must NOT be me.
Meaning, they need to know how to do stuff because for the most part, I DON'T know how to do stuff.
Here's how I fix things … ignore it. Ignore it long enough that my wife, Barb, will come along and fix it, and when she looks at me with that look of someone who has been married to me for 37 years, this is what I say … "What?"
Pretending I didn't know it was broken worked for about the first month of marriage … at this point Barb just knows I'm a moron with all things mechanical … but I still get that look as she digs for the tools of mystery in HER tool box.
So when I asked, "Are you not me?” those who looked at me like the Assistant Principle in my high school right before the detention speech began … those Elite dudes … didn't make the cut.
Those Elite dudes who said anything close to "can" and "fix things" survived the cut to question No. 2.
"When were you born?"
If the answer came back with any year AFTER I bought my socks at JC Penney … you're out. Sorry.
No rookie made the cut on that one.
Now, it's not that I have anything against old socks, or young people, but trust me I have a real feeling rooming with someone younger than my children would not be a good idea … for THEM.
For all you rookies who applied, you need to know this … once a parent, ALWAYS a parent. So let it go.
Question No. 3:
"Do you bake?"
This one was pretty much the Mendoza Line … most batted under .200 on this answer.
Way … way … under.
In fact, in what to me was a shocking turn of events, NO ONE out here bakes.
Wives who live out here on the road with the Elite Anglers … bake all the time … but for some reason those anglers didn't apply.
This is a bakeless group.
So I had to back peddle a bit … Question 3A:
"Do you cook better than I do?"
Trick question … I don't cook. Unless to you ALL cooking is this:
3 ½ minutes on high … open door turn the thing inside a half turn this way or that … cook 2 minutes on high or until when you inevitably stick your finger in the middle of it and it your finger hurts, it's done and you have managed to cook something.
Many did not survive the trick part of that question. If we both cook the same then you are just me and one of us will not survive the roommate thing.
Question No. 4:
"What do you cook?"
NO ONE who began with even an offhand mention of a vegetable made the cut. NO EXCEPTIONS. Except maybe for French Fries which began life as a vegetable but was mercifully changed into something eatable so anyone who mentioned a vegetable but had the keyword "FRIED" in front of it made the cut.
Anyone who mentioned SAUCE, other than spaghetti, or said any FRENCH word when describing what they cook … GONE.
I have nothing against the French other than the fact that they are not American, which I am, so I eat American food, leaving the French stuff for the French.
I grew up on grilled cheese sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches, beef stew, chicken stew, just stew stew, mashed potatoes from the box or the ground, Campbell's soup -- the cheap bent can types -- toast,, cereal with milk, cereal out of the box with your hands, hamburgers, Hamburger Helper and sometimes, just the Helper.
If you don't have that kind of stuff in your big arse Igloo cooler … you didn't make the cut.
Question No. 5:
Very important question.
If, you said "One of the greatest modern songwriters, man loved the Beatles dude … " or something to that effect you moved on to Question 5B.
If you said … "Wings" … you were out.
"Skinny or Fat Elvis."
And after all of that … I found my roommate.
Or should I say … ROOMMATES.
And to my surprise, they weren't even here.
But they will be with me all of next year.
From the St. John's River in Palatka, Fla., to back here at the final event of next year, Oneida Lake.
From March to August while I'm on the road covering the B.A.S.S. Elite Tour of 2012 I will be rooming with …
Paul Elias & Shaw Grigsby.
" … come on tell me … "
The 2012 Tour of the Grumpy Old Men.
Actually, we are not all that grumpy.
Between the three of us we have 174 YEARS of life experiences.
Paul has been with B.A.S.S. fulltime since 1979. He has won six events. Is a Bassmaster Classic winner … and in Feburary of 2012 will be inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.
Paul told me he cooks, "Steaks and … " I didn't write down anything after that.
"db, I have to tell you, I'm looking forward to it … if notjing else it is going to be interesting."
Yes it will.
Shaw Grigsby has won nine events, been in the Bassmaster classic 13 times, fished his first B.A.S.S. event in 1977, turned pro in 1984.
But more importantly, he is a close friend of mine who tries to get me to eat Sushi, what I call "bait," but also acts as a calming influence in my life on the road.
"I'm psyched db."
"It's going to be a fun year, oh and by the way … I vote for the skinny Elvis."
Sealed the deal.
To be honest, I would have been honored to room with any of the Elites. I consider all of them as friends.
I write about them as a journalist, but after 4 or so years of traveling thousands of miles with them, spending hundreds of days with them, to call them anything other than "friends," would be lying.
Not a one would have turned me down as a roommate, not a one would not help me with anything if I needed it.
But I went with Paul and Shaw for one reason … education.
A funny premise, something like the Odd Couple, extreme differences, is great, and we do have that, and there will be funny aspects of that stuff. But the reality of it is, that's a one trick pony that wears thin after awhile and would never be able to be sustained through a whole season without getting flat-out stupid.
But to me the chance to have 174 years of experience in life, in all its beauty, in all of its ugliness, in the joy, in the sorrow, in the wins, in the losses, in all the soul searching, and the tales of past … was too much to pass up.
I guarantee you this, it will be a journey through our lives, both as we are living them, and as we have lived them. It will be of children and grandchildren, wives, friends, fans, dogs, days off, days on.
It will be of the talk of two of the greatest tournament anglers out there.
It will be of the talk of working stiffs, competitors, guys who know they are so fortunate to be able to do what it is they love.
Be it fish.
Be it write.
If I owe you anything, I owe you this, I'm obligated to take you to places where you don't go, don't have the time to go, can't go.
That is my job, to open up the world, to open up the hearts and minds in it, for you.
I believe that no matter what it is you do, what it is I do, that we are Elite when we do it.
Elite on the water.
Elite off the water.
Elite with the fans.
Elite with our family.
Elite with the sport.
Elite with the profession we choose.
Paul Elias, Shaw Grigsby embody that.
I hope by this time next year the insight of my two roommates will have given you a much better, if not unprecedented understanding of just what it takes to compete at this level, both on and off the field of play.
One Hall Of Fame.
One sure to be Hall Of Fame.
Fathers and grandfathers.
As we crisscross America.
And each others lives.
Rooming with the Elites.
Listen in …
" … who are you, you, you."
Who Are You