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With tongue pressed firmly in cheek and a gentle but penetrating eye for human foibles, Patrick F. McManus celebrates the hidden pleasures, unappreciated lore, and opportunities for disaster to be found in the recreations of camping, hunting, and fishing in his hilarious collection They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They?
Gathered here for the reader’s edification are such treasures as the true but little known story of the discovery of the efficacy of live bait by Genghis Khan’s chef, an examination of the precarious and perhaps fanatical expertise required for ice fishing, and a consideration of the circumstances that can cause a deer to ride a bicycle.
Among additional topics explored are The Crouch Hop and Other Useful Outdoor Steps, The Sensuous Angler, and Psychic Powers for Outdoorsmen. Included, too, is The Hunter’s Dictionary, an invaluable lexicon that helps the novice sportsman understand such arcane terminology as “Ooooooeee-ah-ah-ah! (If there’s one thing I hate, it’s putting on cold, wet pants in the morning)” and “Baff mast pime ig bead feas mid miff pife! (That’s the last time I try to eat peas in the dark with my hunting knife!)”
The author’s appreciation of outdoor life began in his early boyhood, when he absorbed a wealth of improbable information imparted by the old woodsman Rancid Crabtree, “who bathed only on leap years.” Young McManus also enjoyed special adventures with his ill-remembered sidekick, Retch Sweeney, and another boon companion of days gone by, the loquacious family dog, Strange, whose exploits as a hunter were limited to assaulting stray chickens and on one memorable occasion a skunk.
“McManus here follows up A Fine and Pleasant Misery with a collection of sketches that launches him into the front ranks of outdoor humorists.”—Library Journal