By Emily Tilbitlate | Former Beacon fashion editor
Bright fall foliage jangled in the breeze as students dressed in hoodies, leggings and skinny jeans ambled their way across campus toward the Bass Lake University Concourse last week to look for employment.
Inside, stretched across the lobby like a sea of tables, local area business owners stood in suits of worsted wool and chamois awaiting the throng of job-hungry youth, a throng that never materialized.
The Annual Fall Career Day attracted few participants, despite the aforementioned amblers, many of whom turned out to not be looking for anything at all.
At the booth set up by Beijing Bait & Tackle owner Johnny Wen, who was sporting the latest in high-tech waders, the small business owner baited his hook with a looped documentary featuring highlights from his daring line of work, not to mention a live bug or two.
Entitled “By Hook or by Fine Mesh Net,” the video depicted bait & tackle owners from around the lake as they braved the relentless chirping and grossness to capture crickets and nightcrawlers to take to market. In one harrowing scene, Wen had to be rushed to his backroom medicine chest for bandages to stanch blood flow from a thumb wound sustained while tying a fly.
Ten-year-old Benny Lemon was looking for his older brother when he happened upon the job fair and Wen’s table. He stopped when he saw the video. The lad stood still as a mannequin awaiting a makeover, mesmerized by Wen’s quick action in closing the gash
“He’s like Rambo,” Lemon said. “Or some modern counterpart.”
Up to that point, Lemon said he had expressed a desire to be a firefighter or a police officer when he grew up. But not anymore.
“No doubt about it. I want a career in bait & tackle,” Lemon said triumphantly. “Just like brave Mr. Wen.”