For What It’s Worth

Big, bad bass

Sometimes, having a big mouth pays off.

Well, that may be overstating the situation, but several weeks ago a Big Mouth Billy Bass belting out a tune apparently paid off for his owner as he appears to have scared away a burglar and saved the owner of a fish and tackle store perhaps significant financial loss.

I know this sounds fishy; but, believe me, it’s a true story, not a fish tale.

When Tom Allen, owner of the Hooked on Fishing shop in Rochester, MN, arrived at his store on the morning of Feb. 6, he discovered there had been a break-in. “I saw the door had been damaged and the deadbolt had been bent to a 45-degree angle,” he said. Probably fearing the worst, he entered the store and, to his surprise, discovered that the would-be burglar had fled without taking a thing.

“There were plenty of things to take, but nothing was missing,” Sgt. Tom Claymon of the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office said. Everything was there, including some loose cash on the counter.

While nothing was missing, not everything was in place. Big Mouth Billy Bass was no longer on duty at his wall mounting above the door to the store; he had fallen to the floor, apparently knocked there when the intruder smashed in the door. And Billy has been credited with likely being the cause of the intruder’s flight empty-handed.

Perhaps you are familiar with Big Mouth Billy Bass. You may have seen him in sporting goods stores around the country. He is a motion-activated, singing plastic bass attached to a wooden plaque.

When activated, Billy Bass begins crooning Al Green’s hit song, Take Me to the River. The Billy Bass at Tom Allen’s bait and tackle shop was mounted above the front door so that the owner would be alerted when someone entered the shop.

Perhaps not realizing that it was after hours for the shop, Billy apparently began belting out Take Me to the River when he was jarred from his perch above the doorway as the would-be burglar broke in. Mr. Allen and law enforcement agree that this apparently scared the burglar, who fled the scene, though it is unknown if he headed for the river as requested by singing Billy.

My guess is that he feared being caught and sent up the river.

I’d like to offer a moral for this story. Perhaps, something like opening our big mouth can be helpful at times. But that moral is not really there, though it is useful for each of us to remember that speaking out at the right time can be profitable. Of course, we also need to be mindful that keeping our mouth closed is often the wiser action.

One thing I am confident of is that Billy Bass would have nothing over me as a burglar alarm. I am quite convinced that if a motion-activated recording of my singing Taking Me to the River (or any song, actually) were used as a burglar alarm it would be equally as effective as Billy at causing intruder flight. Evidence of that, I think, is that when I have sung loud enough to be heard by others at church, people have been know to scoot farther away in the pew.

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2 Responses to For What It’s Worth

  1. Donna says:

    Some of us love to hear you sing!

  2. Cindy says:

    Yes, we do!

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