Father's Day is almost upon us and I know we fellas are not always the easiest to buy for, so in the spirit of promoting both literacy and hilarity I'd like to make a recommendation on a great gift for the man in your life.
Reel LIVIN' by Warren McClenagan
Yes, the book is about fishing, but even if you've never drowned a single worm in your life this book will make you laugh. Angling, fly fishing in particular is the backdrop for the stories, but at it's heart this collection of stories is about father's and son's, men and their childlike obsession of their pastimes, and of course the pitfalls of pursuing those obsessions.
The humor contained in the pages will appeal to anyone who reads and enjoys this blogs. Here are a few excerpts to prove my point.
The tent is indeed quite portable…the first time you use
it. But only blind optimism can explain the naïveté that led us to
overlook the mystery of how 50 square yards of fabric, 90 feet of
tubing, and half a dozen 8-inch stakes could be compressed into
such a small sack. Some crafty combination of vacuum packing and
shrink-wrapping must be at work. The result is that the tent is not
easily dislodged from its nylon cocoon, and, once out, can never be
completely stuffed back in.
This fact dawned rudely upon me years ago as I watched my
dad dance spastically about a gravel tent pad, cursing like a well-seasoned
sailor, and failing to dislodge even one piece of his new
tent from the iron clutches of its bag. This happened as we were
setting up camp on the shores of Taylor Lake, near the headwaters
of the Gunnison River during the first “You Bear! Shoo! Fall Fishing
Extravaganza,” as our annual trips came to be known. It should be
noted that the term “extravaganza,” is a reference to the production
that went into our effort, not necessarily the result. If we gave our
experiences a subtitle, it might be, “The 10 Most Beautiful Places
to Lose Your Temper,” as this was but the first of many valuable,
if not altogether pleasant, lessons we would learn during our yearly
adventures in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico and Colorado
over the next several years.
Dad finally erupted in anger and performed a Caesarean on
the tent bag. The dance and accompanying stream of cursing became
known as the “Son-of-a-Bitch Shuffle” and was regularly employed
in a wide variety of situations at the McClenagan camp thereafter.
Dad was quite pleased when, with a little effort, we were able
to jam the tent back into the sack, and, by his expression, I knew he
was about to rub it in my face. It fell to me, at that moment, to point
out the pile of aluminum pipes lying behind him. I noticed that my
name was sprinkled throughout the lyrics of the subsequent SOB
shuffle. After he caught his breath, we began trying to work each
joint in one at a time. We managed to get the first two in by hand. On
the third, we had to use our stake mallet. The fourth ripped a gaping
hole in the side of the bag. By this time, the tent and its sack were
no longer inanimate objects to Dad, but evil entities who must be
beaten into submission—creatures from the dark side. I took cover
beneath a concrete picnic table as he donated the tent, piece by piece,
to the wilderness around us, in a ceremony of unbridled emotion and
intensity that did not end until the last mangled length of aluminum
tubing sank peacefully beneath the surface of the lake.
To make matters worse, I noticed that Dad was already
showing signs of the early stages of “raw ass.” This is a debilitating
condition that results from some kind of chemical reaction between
the aluminum seat of a boat and the cotton underpants of the
fisherman. Apparently, these two otherwise stable compounds, in
the presence of even a small amount of heat and sweat, combine to
form some kind of some kind of corrosive irritant. It begins with
a tingling sensation in the buttocks, and quickly progresses to the
point where one’s underwear, which seemed soft and comfortable
just moments before, feels like 60-grit sandpaper. The natural reaction
is to scratch, which only serves to invigorate the blood supply to
the affected region, and catalyzes the reaction. Before long, it feels
as if your underwear is full of sand burs. Passing boaters should
remember that their time is coming, and are expected to look away
politely if they notice someone dipping his butt cheeks into the cool
waters for relief. This is the type of etiquette you will not see in
“Hints from Heloise.”
To Dad’s credit, I should mention that he once purchased
mace as a safer, more camper-friendly means of protection. He was
quite proud of this high-tech addition to his arsenal, and insisted
on treating me to a demonstration. He began with an explanation
of how, according to an article he had read, one was to lay a fog of
pepper spray in the air between himself and the charging enemy, be
it a bear, or another disgruntled camper. He must have bought the
spray at the close of the previous season, because, when he backed
off and pressed the trigger, nothing more than a couple of drops
of the irritant dribbled out of the nozzle and down onto his hand.
Knowing that this was the kind of thing that really irritated Dad, I
tried to lighten the mood.
“Am I supposed to hold the bear down while you dribble that
into his eye?” I joked. He failed to see the humor in my response,
and, while winding up to bean me with the would-be dispenser,
slung a couple of drops into his eye. He added a few new moves and
some fresh lyrics to the SOB shuffle that day.
If your dad is a fisherman, a camper, an outdoorsman of any kind. Or simply a fan of hilarious, well-written true to life stories buy him this book for Father's Day. Heck buy it for yourself. It is a fast read that will have you laughing out loud and possibly even shedding a tear or two.
Make your dad happy now, by ordering your copy here.