New Yorker magazine had a cartoon a couple of months ago. It showed three beefy Madison Avenue ad executive types bellied up to the bar.
The bartender, equally beefy, was repeating their order. "Let's see," he said, "That's one light beer, one white wine and a Tab with a twist..."
Reminds me of rugged outdoorsmen.
When someone talks about hunters and fishermen, do you imagine sturdy guys with three days' growth of beard? Do you see them in the woods stirring up a pan of fresh trout while a rabbit roasts on a spit?
Maybe it was that way once, but today's outdoorsman, Eastern style, is more likely to measure out his wilderness experiences in time lapsed between visits to a fast-food outlet.
Not too long ago I was invited along for a day of tournament marlin fishing off Ocean City. Marlin are the biggest and most majestic game species we have in this part of the world. I envisioned some real hard-core sport fishermen pushing off before dawn while the sweet smell of frying sausage drifted up from the galley.
We found our heroes at about 11 the night before our trip-in a disco. They were trying to get some nice-looking women to teach them the boogaloo. They got back to the boat, minus the women, at about 2 a.m., and at 5 they were alive again, ready to head out to fish.
But what breakfast?
No problem, said our hosts. McDonald's opens at 6.
So before we cast off for the 60-mile run out to sea we waited for the busboy to unlock the double glass doors so we could order up a mess of Egg McMuffins.
They came in little plastic boxes, which in turn went into white paperbags. Then we three mighty anglers carried our little packages out to the magnum 4x4 overland off-road vehicle and blasted down to the dock.
We never did catch any fish.
Another time tall Frank and I were hunting geese on the Eastern Shore. We hadn't had time to fix lunch before setting off, and when noontime came the geese had completed their morning flight.
The sky was empty.
"Hungry?" asked Frank.
"You bet," I said.
We trudged out of the field and drove over to Rte. 50, where we had a perilous time deciding between Gino's English's, McDonald's and Roy Rogers.
We picked Gino's. We locked the guns in the car and trundled in our camouflage clothes. Frank had the Giant Ginoburger while I opted for the salad bar. At some point during the time I was piling shredded beets and croutons and carrot spears on my plastic plate, the geese decided to have lunch too.
They left wherever it was they had settled into, flew high above the corn-fields and spotted the stand of decoys Frank and I had carefully arranged eight hours before. And joined the plastic geese.
When we got back, bellies full, the field was full of gray-brown birds going "ah-wonk, ah-wonk."
The flew away in a dither the minute we walked within 100 yards.
I bring all this up because I've just made plans for a Friday bass-fishing trip and the logistics of it are just too goofy to ignore.
Usually I meet Glenn at the Bob's Big Boy at New Hampshire Avenue and the Beltway sometime before dawn. We work it out so that we get to the Rte. 50 McDonald's in Annapolis just about 6 a.m. opening time, so we can get our Egg McM's without wasting too much time.
But this weekend he's fishing with some other people the day before I join him, so he'ell be over there already.
Where will we meet?"
"No trouble at all," said Glenn. "Just drive on down to Cambridge, come over the Choptank River Bridge and look for my truck on the right. You can's miss it. It's the only place open.