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December 13, 2007

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Fish Lit Classic ... Steketee's Ode to "Fly Shop Guy"

There are few holiday traditions I hold as dear as I do sitting in the rocker next to a roaring fire with a glass of egg-nog and some classic literature. My seasonal favorite? Nay, not "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore, rather, a modern muse that vaults my mind to a musty midsummer morning ...

As our holiday gift to you, we present this reprise of Andrew Steketee's haunting lyric on "Fly Shop Guy," first published in The Drake Magazine, now here in its uncut entirety. KD

Twenty Ways To Consider Fly Shop Guy
by Andrew Steketee

One: Fly shop guy is staunchly heterosexual, twenty-something, and uncertain of his politics.

Two: Fly shop guy spent six or seven years at a southern university.

Flyshopguy_3Three: Fly shop guy goes by the names Justin, Jeremy, Jonathan, Gifford, Trevor, Tripp, or Tristan, though he does not resemble Brad Pitt from Legends of the Fall.

Four: Fly shop guy will say things across the river when the fishing is poor like, “Holy shit dude, even the choice runs are total bunkweed schwagg water!” No one knows what the hell he’s saying.

Five: Fly shop guy swears he’s caught a hundred fish in a day on the Railroad Ranch of the Henry’s Fork.

Six: Fly shop guy lost last month’s rent on a roulette wheel in Reno.

Seven: Fly shop guy has guided a “half season” on the Bighorn, though “half seasons” do not exist.

Eight: If you reveal select and very important details — like locations of surface feeding carp, Hungarian partridge, morels, hidden spring creeks, or steelhead runs — to fly shop guy, understand that information is lost to the public forever. Breaking the personal confidences of others is an important way for fly shop guy to retain critical pole positioning among other fly shop guys.

Nine: The recipe for fly shop guy’s fly shop sales attitude is: 1/4 marijuana attention deficit, 1/4 morose indifference, 1/4 chronic exaggeration, 1/4 wassup dude?

Ten: Fly shop guy ties the most horrible looking flies on record: Bitch Creeks that have clawed their way from train accidents, Coffin Flies physically and verbally assaulted at the vise, Platte River Specials requiring hours and hours of grief counseling.

Eleven: Fly shop guy often will pin his sparkling new dory against concrete bridge pilings of large western rivers. He will swim ashore, thumb a ride back to town, then hours — sometimes days — later, attempt to remove said dory with lengths of climbing rope and a luxury Suburban. Generally, he is unsuccessful.

Twelve: Fly shop guy thinks self-lubricating polymer coatings and filleting have more to do with service station profilactics and acts of oral outrage than they do with fly lines and fish cleaning.

Thirteen: Fly shop guy does not drink Budweiser or bourbon at the Bunkhouse in Toston, because he drinks Fat Tire or flavored coolers at the sports bar in Bozeman.

Fourteen: After fly shop guy has run you through a litany of his on-river heroics — ripping lips, pounding banks, stripping buggers, raking shelves, dredging pools, shuffling tail-outs, busting casts, crushing rapids, mining hawgs, back-breaking tugs-of-war — you are certain he is describing a war or industrial effort.

Fifteen: Fly shop guy thinks every foul-hooked whitefish is a twenty-inch brown trout.

Sixteen: Fly shop guy thinks Black Beauties, Green Machines, and Desert Storms are pharmaceuticals he dropped at an Allman Brothers concert at Deer Creek last spring, not San Juan River midge imitations.

Seventeen: At the bar, fly shop guy is arguing vigorously that a run of jacks is four of a kind in All-American Poker, not sexually immature salmon or an important book by Richard Hugo.

Eighteen: Fly shop guy is organizing $8.99 Rainier 18-packs, TJ’s Exxon Station goodies, two dozen dogs, and a pile of other fly shop guys for a party float on the Madison River during your favorite stonefly hatch.

Nineteen: If fly shop guy were a city, he’d be Wilmington, Delaware. If he were a car, he’d be a mid-eighties burgundy Cutlass Sierra. If he were a football team, he’d be the Crimson Tide.

Twenty: Eventually, all things — even fly shop guy — merge into one, and a river filled with his empties and discarded fishing equipment runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless fiberglass markings from fly shop guy’s rowing mishaps. Under the rocks are the frequently stoned, inarticulate, nutrient leaching words, and some of the words are his. I am haunted by fly shop guy.

For more Steketee offerings, visit www.millionwordproject.com



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Classic. Is there any statistical analysis as to how interchangeable are the terms "Fly Shop Guy" and "Trustafarian?"

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