Fish Pics: A Dissent
Keep your trouser trout to yourself
I’m generally not a fan of gunking up copy with a bunch of announcements, even in a purported “newsletter,” a label I tend to use only at gunpoint. But this week, there are some necessary preliminaries before we move on to the subject referenced in the headline/photo above. So please forgive the delay:
New Subscriber Drawing: If you’re already a paid subscriber, you are, of course, the wind beneath my knees. This thing of ours ceases to exist without you. So I thank you sincerely for your largesse. If you’re not, but you’re thinking about joining the cool kids on the other side of my paywall, here’s an electrifying pot-sweetener. For any new paid subscriber signing up off this piece, I’m having a drawing to give away my 12-year-old book. (Pinch yourselves.) It’s a collection that features some of my best magazine profiles and features up to that time: Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures With Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys. Not only does it boast the distinction of having one of the unwieldiest subtitles in Simon & Schuster history, but it was deemed “the funniest book of the year” by The Atlantic, and was equated to Tom Wolfe’s Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby by Esquire, for whom Wolfe wrote the title story of that 1965 collection - one of my journalism favorites. (I stuck a check in the mail to Esquire, but under Louis DeJoy’s slowed-down postal service, it has still not arrived.) Here at Slack Tide, we believe in transparency. And by we, I mean me, since I’m the only one here. (See what I mean about transparency?) So I’m honor-bound to tell you that if you wish to obtain my old book, you could buy it for a song on Amazon. But an Amazon copy won’t be signed by me! With whatever personalized inscription you request when I reach you by email to tell you you’re the lucky winner! Enter the contest by becoming a paid subscriber, or by buying a gift subscription for someone else! And in exchange, I solemnly swear to stop with the exclamation points! Here’s what you’re playing for should you subscribe:
Note of Thanks: In my last column, I asked readers to consider opening your hearts/wallets to the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, run by an old profile subject/friend of mine, Father Rick Frechette, who labors in the vineyards of unimaginable human suffering, and who actually alleviates that suffering in strange and wondrous ways. (If you missed it, I wrote about his/our encounters both here and here. ) It brings me immense satisfaction to report that one of St. Luke’s volunteers informed me that many thousands of dollars came in, with donors specifically stating that they were Slack Tide readers. (Even more might have come in from you, though they’d have no way of knowing without you having specified that detail.) That’s some real scratch in Haiti, where 80 percent of the population lives on less than two dollars a day. So thanks again for putting your money where my mouth is. You kids are all right, a credit to your respective races and discretionary incomes. Rest assured that the cause it will serve is a worthy one. I’ve seen it on the ground with my own eyes.
Ukraine: Though nobody complained of it (mercifully – since there’s usually someone to complain about everything), I didn’t mean to give the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine short shrift when writing about Haiti. But there’s no need to choose between misery factories. That’s the thing about human suffering – it’s not a slave to monopolies or news cycles, and it’s pretty good about exporting its wares to everyone, eventually. (Haven’t had any yourself? Just give it time.) Ukraine, of course, is now being existentially threatened by a diabolical madman, one who is as in need of a straitjacket as he is a bra. I realize you have Google, same as me. But if you’re feeling the itch to help since there are, as of last count, over three million new Ukrainian refugees (and over six million displaced within Ukraine), here are ways to do so. Since our country has elected not to kick off World War III (prudently, in my estimation), if you’d prefer to join Ukraine in its on-the-ground fight, here’s the foreign fighter application. I’d join you, but I can’t miss shad season. Plus Season 3 of Barry is about to start after a three-year hiatus. So the Russkies lucked out……this time. (Note to language commissars: I’m part Russian, my forefathers hailing from the Ukrainian region, so I can use this pejorative with a clean conscience.) And of course, if you have some Javelins or Stingers sitting around your garage, you might want to think about donating those, too. If Vlad doesn’t like it, he can go back to Russia.
And now, on to the really important stuff: why fish pictures are of the devil……
It’s hard work, staying cutting edge. So I’ve deliberately let my edge go dull. Why keep up with what the young people are doing? The enduring reality of being young is that you don’t stay that way for long. You age out, then new young people come along, with their own indecipherable manners and mores to keep track of, if you care about such things. And I don’t.
Though one youth practice that seems to be stubbornly sticking around is that the kids like to take pictures of their own genitalia, then send them to the ones they love, or like, or swipe. (However we moderns now define affection.) It’s easy to come down hard (so to speak) on the phenomenon known as “the dick pic.” But are we middle-aged types any better?
In my fly fishing circles, I am frequently barraged by fish pics, the middle-aged-guy equivalent of whipping out your trouser trout, then photographing it. Which always make me bridle. To me, fish pics are like dick pics: neither should be taken in the first place. But if they are, they shouldn’t be displayed in public.