Monday, July 10, 2006
An Anchovy's Cunt
I hate fishing. It’s pathological.
It all dates back to my days as an attention-starved youth. Every year on my birthday, I sat alone in the cold lobby of an ice skating rink in Dundee, Illinois, feeling sorry for myself, begging quarters for the pinball machines. (You can start crying now.) My sisters and my brother had been conned by my malevolent parents into taking up figure skating.
My siblings all learned to do horrible sounding acts like salkows and toe loops. Since the date of the annual ice recital fell in late April every year, I grew to resent ice skating for stealing my own personal holiday away from me. It wasn’t just my birthdays, though. I had to sit there for hours twice a week for months leading up to April, as they practiced and practiced, perfecting their little half foot stutter jumps and backwards turning. I fucking hated all of it.
I would never be an ice skater. Instead, being the stubborn contrarian, I elected to take up boyish things like archery, lumberjacking, tree-climbing, and urinating in my clothing. This frequently left me wandering the forest alone with sharp objects and wet pants. Although my dad would take me camping occasionally, the rate of parental participation in my interests was much lower than that of the other three children. (As I perceived it.) When I couldn’t escape to go play unsupervised, it was generally on those goddamn ice skating days. Somebody had to keep tabs on me, so I got hauled away to the dreaded Polardome. Not only was ice skating stealing my birthdays, it was stealing my capacity to destroy nature.
This wasn’t the only activity my parents engaged in with my three siblings. The other was fishing. As a Cub Scout, I participated in a fishing derby or two, but I never really took to it, and by the time I was ten, I had no desire to catch bluegill and catfish in the neighborhood pond. My brother and even my sisters just loved impaling worms on hooks, casting their lines, reeling in stinky wet flopping tumorfish, and throwing them back only to begin anew. My parents loved it, too. Fucking idiots.
Somewhere along the line my loathing of the two activities merged, causing my white hot hatred of skating to inflame my hatred for fishing. To this day, I cannot tolerate either.
Adults, I’ve learned, have different motives for fishing. As far as I can tell, it’s like tanning, but for men. There are striking similarities between fishing and tanning. Both involve prolonged exposure to sunlight. Both require little or no physical exertion. Both are horribly boring if you’re awake. For those with a glimmer of intelligence swimming through their sunstroked brains, alcohol is consumed to wash away the excruciating dullness of either activity.
I have friends who take it personally that I won’t join their little excursions. They think I no longer enjoy their company, or that I’ve become arrogant and look down upon them. It’s not them. I sneer upon their rural choice of recreation. I still like the guys.
I may be lazy, but I am not idle. If I’m not smoking a cigarette, folding an origami swan, typing a sentence, playing with my penis, tipping a can, or picking my nose, my hands start finding other ways to remain entertained. They’ll scratch where no itch is present. They’ll tap, tap, tap, annoying the shit out of everybody. They’ll invent gang signs. They’ll stir coins in my pockets. My hands cannot remain still for long. I can’t even stand still when waiting in line. I rock left and right, so it’s not just my hands. It’s me. I am brimming with nervous energy all the time. I fidget.
If I went fishing, I’d end up brainfucked. I'd smoke eight thousand cigarettes, scratch half my skin away, drink seven cases of beer, learn to juggle live fish, and still be completely restless and desperate to get the fuck away from the water after an hour.
I don’t even like to eat fish until all traces of their natural flavor has been fried away, leaving nothing but hot oil and breading. Even then I need a gallon of lemon juice for topping.
I’m just not cut out for this activity. Sorry fellas. I hope you understand and appreciate my point of view now. And under no circumstances will I wear one of those preposterous hook hats. I don’t wear hats. Do you store your self-respect somewhere so it doesn’t get damaged while you’re wearing that?
Let the yokels relax that way. I don’t mind. When they run out of tires to burn, the corn isn’t ripe yet, and the cows have been stricken with the madness, they at least have an excuse for doing this. They’re hungry. But you? Aren’t you city boys? Can’t we go spraypaint something, or shank somebody? Anything?
I guess it’s noble to fish out the Chicago River and save those fish for poor immigrants. They always take them.
But isn’t your generosity a double-edged sword? That place you’re fishing? Gross. I’ve walked the riverside trail around the Sun-Times building. I’ve seen the massive trash barges idling by, dripping bacterial sludge which frosts the murky undercurrent of toxic grade barrel waste. Yes, I saw floating barrels. Well, only two. But in addition to the unidentified poisons, I’m sure those fish have eaten unwanted babies that teenage mothers have heaved away, and now you’re giving those same abortion doctor fish to Catholics.
Hey, that’s actually pretty cool. Finally, one point scored for fishing. I’ve been trying to find an upside, I really have.
Still, I’m staying home where the video screens and accessible toilets hang out. Where the beer cans aren’t dancing with lukewarm chicken livers and nightcrawlers in a styrofoam disco. Where there aren’t any jogger/rapists. Let me know next time you’re going squirrel hunting with darts. I’ll wear flannel, drink beer, and burn my skin off for that in a heartbeat.
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