I think the time has come to address the five hundred pound walrus in the room.
There was a time, hinted at hereintofore, when people sent postcards the way we send texts: it was a quick, easy, cheap method of communication. But times changed. The number of postal deliveries declined, the price of a postcard stamp went from a penny to two, and, what with one thing and another, a generation grew up which saw postcards as something for special occasions.
Chief among these special occasions was the vacation trip. “Send a postcard!” was the common phrase in goodbyes when your cousin or neighbor was headed out for adventures in the Cotswolds, Adirondacks, or Alps. For a couple of solid decades, sending postcards back from a trip was simply your duty as a human being. There was an art to buying postcards, like so many of life’s little pleasures, and, as with every art, some people lacked any perception at all. This is why there are so many postcards of boring hotels and even more boring hotel rooms. One of the largest categories of postcards we used to get at the Book Fair was the painting: people would stop and buy a picture of every picture they’d seen in the museum. No need to deny it, or blush: I did it myself once upon a time. We all did.
But what we are going to consider in this column, and in several columns thereafter, is the fact that anyone who was NOT going to a boring hotel to dine at fine tables (also visible on postcards( and visit museums was instead going to some little cabin on a lake, where they intended to enjoy a little fishing. I think there are more fishing postcards in this little assembly than there are on any other subject, even if you include all the dogs and trees in with the outhouse jokes for a general Potty Joke section.
People who go fishing are just as likely to engage in a certain round of expected activities as dogs at fire hydrants or rooster in chicken yards. One of those activities is, of course, to lie. More than one postcard asks the philosophical question “Do all fishermen lie, or do all liars fish?” The answer to that is one for the ages, like Mr. Spock’s first name.
But fishermen are expected to lie, to an extent that whenever they DO accidentally tell the truth, they get no respect.
Even among liars, there are some who have greater physical ability for the sport.
And they may admit this all themselves, though they all dream of graduating from people who can only LIE about big fish.
OF course, another theme of the fishing postcard is catching the Big Fish It’s good publicity for the place where you’re fishing to let people know you can catch…well, bigger fish than this.
No, I mean really big fish.
I’m talking about the really big ones, the ones you brag about. Not as puny as this.
Something big enough to present a REAL challenge to a genuine sportsman, and not such dabblers in the water as we see here.
It’s not really all that good for publicity to show so many fish of insignificant size, though I suppose if one brags how MANY one catches, one could get away with such stuff.
No, not the ones you cut up for bait. The BIG fish, big enough to satisfy a storyteller at the bar or barbershop.
There ARE postcards with really big fish: the kind that today you’d be proud to post of Facebook. I don’t know why they keep showing off these….
See? Eventually you can get out to where a real sport fish is available. Next time, we’ll consider the other kinds of fishing luck.