Thankfully Ernie has a few more ounces of intelligence than Earl, but not many.

While lifelong fishing buddies and grocery sackers they find themselves enrolled in a technical college without a clue, the only thing they know for sure is that school cuts into fishing time.

When given an assignment to write an analysis paper on the reason people of opposite sex are attracted, their world flips upside down.

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“Hey, you guys.”

Ernie Oldstat and Earl Tomkin looked forward and both said in unison, “Who me?”

Mr. Brown moved around his desk and at stood at the beginning of their aisle. “Yes, you. Who else am I always shouting at? I suppose you’re talking about fishing again.”

Ernie nodded. “Yes, sir. Fishing season opens this Saturday for game fish, the real fish. I was just asking Earl what time he wanted to go. That’s all, sir.”

“I’ve no idea why the two of you are attending the Radisson Area Technical College. Your homework’s always late, if done at all, and it looks like you did it while fishing. Can either of you give me one good reason why I shouldn’t drop you from this analytical class?”

Earl stood. “Well, if you did, me and Ernie would have more time to fish.”

“Earl, shut up. You know we need to pass this course to graduate and get good jobs.”

Mr. Brown walked halfway down the aisle. “Ernie, why are you talking about graduating? This is only your first semester.”

Earl raised his hands as if confused. “There’s more than one?”

Mr. Brown turned to Ernie. “You know there’s more than one semester, don’t you?”

“Yes, sir. And, sir, I’m sorry I wasn’t paying attention.” He pointed. “Maybe if I moved to a desk over there, I wouldn’t be so temped to talk with my buddy.” He really didn’t want to move, but he had to pass the class.

“Good idea. Move. And by the way, I have an assignment for the two of you.”

Earl groaned.

“I want you to do an analysis on how to find a spouse. You have two weeks, or you’re both out of here. Understood?”

Earl gulped. “You mean I gotta talk to a woman?”

Ernie stared at Earl while the class erupted in laughter almost drowning out the bell.

Earl rushed to Ernie’s desk. “Look what you got us into now. We gotta talk to women. How are we going to pull that off? Women don’t know nuttin ‘bout fishing.”

“What do ya mean? You’re as much to blame as me. Besides just think of the possibilities this assignment gives us. Yeah. This could be cool.” He knew it was too much to hope that Virginia fished.

“What possibilities?” Earl jammed his books into his tattered Bass Pro backpack.

“Well, I’ve been thinking about talking to Virginia, but didn’t know what to say.”

Earl hoisted a backpack strap over his shoulder “So?”

“Now we have an excuse.”

Earl pulled his wadded-up farmer’s handkerchief out of his bib overalls and blew his nose.

“Did you ever think of washing that thing?” Ernie asked as he folded his notebook.

“It gets washed every time me ma washes my bibs ’cause I leave it right here in my pocket.”

“Are you for real? I think you’re getting dumber the older you get. Let’s go to the library and think about this new assignment.”

“Ernie, you’re the dumb one now. There ain’t no library in this here school. No siree.”

“Just ’cause we ain’t never been there, don’t mean there ain’t one.” Ernie grabbed Earl’s arm. “Come on. Let’s look.”

They walked down the hall and left the building looking for the library.

“Hey, Ernie, look they’re digging some big holes over there. Let’s go see if they dug up any worms.”

“We ain’t got time for that. We gotta find the library.”

Earl grabbed Ernie’s arm and spun him in the direction of the digging. “Look, now they’re hoisting up a big sign. What’s RATC?”

“Earl, does the name Radisson Area Technical College mean anything to you?”

“Yeah, it means we have less time for fishing.”

“You’re brainless; the letters RATC are an abbreviation for Radisson Area Technical College.”


After asking directions three times, Ernie and Earl entered the library and looked around. “Ernie, this place is big and sure has lots of books, don’t it?”

Ernie poked Earl’s shoulder. “Hey, dimwit, what’d you think they have in big libraries?’

“I don’t know. Maybe little libraries.”

Ernie took off his hat and threw it on the floor.

“Young man, I’m glad you took off your hat. I was just coming over to ask you to do that, but don’t leave it on the floor.”

“Are you the police?” Earl asked.

“No. I’m the librarian.”

“Can you help us find a book that says how to find a spouse?” Earl opened his notebook to show her the assignment.

The librarian flushed and asked, “Why.”

“’cause if we find a book we can do our assignment and then go fishing.”

“I’m sorry; we don’t have any such books.”

“Ernie, I knew it was waste of time coming here.”

“For once you’re right. Let’s go fishing.”