Lighter Side

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October 16th, 2000

Man of Distinction

By Ed Zern
From How to Catch Fishermen published by Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc. New York (1951)

In a society which emphazies such essentially dull virtues of intelligence, hard work and ambition, and actually puts premium on sobriety, I have a difficult time merely to survive, much less to achieve any slight distinction. Yet because my ego needs massaging as much as the next man's, I am obliged to cherish any distinction I am able to attain, however piddling or fortuitious.

The only such distinction I can think of at the moment is the fact that so far as I know, I'm the only trout fisherman in the world, or at least in lower Westchester County, New York, who uses a pair of Stork Club suspenders to keep his waders up.

These suspenders, handed out by Mr. Billingsley to favored male habitues of his saloon, are bright red in color and of brawny construction excellently suited to holding up waders. Actually I got the suspenders through no free-spending merits of my own, but by way of a pub-crawling friend from whom I swiped them one while while he was in his cups, leaving him to keep his pants up the rest of the evening as best he could.

Ordinarily I don't go around rolling drunks, but in this case I was tolerably desperate. I had hunted all over New York City for a pair of old-fashioned fireman's suspenders, but with trout season just around the corner I had been unable to find anything sturdy enough to fill the bill. Possibly this was because Mr. Billingsley has a corner on the entire output; in any case, if you, too, have difficulty in finding a good pair of wader suspenders, you have only to catch the next bus to New York and hang around the Stork Club, wining and dining and scattering largesse among the help until the headwaiter slips you a pair of red galluses with the compliments of the house. You may then call for the check, turn pale, pay it, and (if you have bus fare left) return home and attach them to your waders.

Naturally this would destroy my sole distinction among men, but it's better than having your waders fall down while you're running downstream with a five-pound rainbow. And as a matter of fact, come to think of it, I believe I'm the only surf fisherman in the world who got three flat tires on a borrowed beach-buggy in one evening and is still on speaking terms with the owner.

When the time is ripe I'll lend him my Damascus-barreled shotgun and a handful of super-X shells. ~ Ed Zern

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