Get the Lead Out

When I played sports in high school and college, coaches would often yell: “get the lead out.”

This was a favorite of my old Coach Dugan who shouted it any time I was loafing along.

Ol' Dutch moved on from college to a career on the railroad and one old man who had worked there for 50 odd years could not remember names. So his solution was to call all us young bucks “pig turd” coupled with “get the lead out.”

We all knew what it meant by that time in our lives: lead by weight is very heavy by nature and somehow the older men seemed to think that the younger ones had somehow acquired an ample amount of it in our derrières.

The Environmental Protection Agency came along then years later and we found out that lead in any amount is bad for you and there went the good old #2 pencil out the window. Pictures of babies eating copious amounts of lead based paint graced the evening news and I could then understand why the ghettos were in ruination. With an appetite like that those toddlers could decimate an apartment building in no time.

Lead has found its way into a lot of things in everyday life from batteries to wheel weights and of course most importantly fishing weights and bullets.

There are some decent substitutes but the costs are astronomical when compared to lead.

Trixie and I visited a flea market last week and found a man in the lead business. He had sinkers of every size and dimension and when quizzed about his business claimed to produce more than 60,000 pounds of fishing weights a year. 

Ol' Dutch could just imagine a high-tech production line somewhere with state of the art machines pouring out sinkers at an alarming rate. But when I asked about how he keeps up with the demand he led me back to a dilapidated old trailer where his wife was pouring10 at a time.

No ventilation was evident except for the open door and during the tour of the “facilities” I held my breath til I finally turned blue which Trixie thought was from too much lead inhalation.

I had heard that lead poisoning can cause a severe lack of judgment and seeing that good-looking woman with an 8 toed cat making sinkers for that gnarly old man certainly made a believer out of me.

Someone also suggested that maybe Trixie had a stint in a lead factory which explains her tenure with Ol' Dutch but I fail to see the comparison, myself?

The list for lead poisoning symptoms reads like a manual for old people with things like constipation, loss of memory, fatigue, high blood pressure, joint pain, loss of hearing and increased irritability.

So for all of you dyed in the wool outdoors men and women out there, now you can explain to your significant other the reason for being crabby and hard of hearing: too much lead acquired in the pursuit of food for the table. Such are the sacrifices we make unselfishly for our families.

And if any of you know where Trixie can find Coach Dugan, please let me know. She really needs to find out just exactly how to “get the lead out” of Ol' Dutch.