Strove to find a way to punch people in the face by using the Internet.


Manly Adventure
The plan had been to drive over to the east coast, catch a mess of whiting from the surf during the day, eat our fill and then use the rest to attempt to catch a shark from shore that night.

I've never landed a shark outside of a boat; supposedly, it's thrilling, especially if you hook a big bull shark. Enthusiasts will fight those bad motherfuckers from shore for hours; then, after the extremely dangerous beasts are tired and subdued, revive them by grasping their fins and walking them through the surf. The sharks, sometimes as big as eight or 10 feet, come back to life as the water flows over their gills and shoot off back into the ocean, leaving the exhausted, exhilirated angler with photos, memories, bragging rights and, if lucky, all 10 fingers.

My companion for this manly adventure: handsome young Jim Marburger. A surfer and outdoorsman, Jim is a paramedic by trade as well as very familiar with the Atlantic side of north Florida. He's obviously the ideal guy to have along for this type of rugged expedition as well as one of my best friends.

"This is how we fished in 'Nam," Jim says.

We set up our base of operations. Some might remember my Gay Pride Tent, once again pictured here. I still maintain that it was a plain, foresty green on the packaging... That's the last time I trust camping gear endorsed by Paul Lynde.

Darkness falls as we gather wood for the fire. This shot of Jim's ass is especially for you ladies out there — I know you ladies love you some sweet, succulent Jim Marburger. In fact, the ladies love Jim so much that I become completely invisible to women when he's around. He has been responsible for me meeting a fair share of chicks, of course — Jim's a bit shy, so the ladies often make friends with me in order to get to know him. Invariably, I'm sobbing slone in the corner soon after making the formal introductions — no invite to the sex orgy for me.

This doesn't make me bitter, mind you. Angry and sad, sure, but not bitter.

Ok, it's time to enact the first step of shark plan: gather bait. Fish love shrimp, so we stuff our mouths with minty Tic Tacs, submerge our faces in the cold surf and wait for one to swim into our clutches before — WHAMMO — springing shut the trap. This is an old Seminole Indian trick.

First blood goes to Jim. I think they like his cap.

I'm also wearing a cap, but the way. I like wearing caps, but I don't do it too often, because I'm losing my hair and want to avoid what I call the Ron Howard Effect. If that guy just walked around bald, it'd be no big deal, but he has to wear that goddamn cap all the time... Then when you see him without it, your first thought is, "Holy shit! Look at Ron Howard's weird head!" It's just a disturbing effect, like he took his pecker out or something. Too intimate, maybe.

We begin to fish. As you can see here, the tension is at an all-time high. This is all-American manly adventure, edge-of-your-seat stuff. Put the kids and sissies and commies to bed, because this kind of robust action is just going to upset 'em. Damn, it's almost too much for me, and I'm the kind of motherfucker who laughs in the face of danger and punches Old Man Fear in the balls and grabs the titties of Old Lady Excitement and, ummm... Drinks the tears of orphans.

The wind picks up. Despite what this picture might look like, I am not about to cry here. I am about to break into a jaunty tune. That's what we rugged types do when the wind picks up and threatens to freeze our damn balls right off, you see — we stave off cold balls with a song: "Ohhhh, I'm so cold, so fucking goddamn cold, my balls are cold and we're not catching fish and I want to go back home and I'm cold cold cold..."

I can compose songs of manly adventure like that right off the top of my head. It's a gift.

It was obviously way too cold for the fish, so Jim and I decide to hunt our supper on land. Seasoned outdoorsmen like ourselves know how to read the signs, you see — the wind, the waves, the smell of the bitter-ass motherfucking cold night air... These things reveal their secrets to those such as us, red-blooded men with the spirit of the wild in their hearts.

Tonight, the secret of the wind went something like, "Dude, it's really fucking cold. This sucks. Hey, doesn't our friend Kaira work at some cafe near here?"

Jim forages himself a sustaining Guinness, easily the most rugged and outdoorsy of the beers they had on tap at the cafe. I think they make it out of campfires.

Clearly, Kaira finds my rugged, testosterone-soaked, shark-fighting ways irresistible.

Jim becomes enraged after I show him this picture: "You're gonna use that one, aren't you? You keep taking all these pictures where I maybe look OK, but you're gonna fucking use the one where I look like I have Down Syndrome. And I'm really getting sick of you and that fucking camera. Every time something spontaneous happens, you have to whip that thing out and make me do it over again so you can get a stupid photo."

Poor Jim. He just doesn't understand my commitment to my art... The art of making myself and my friends look like douche bags on the Internet.

The hunt is over, so we return to camp. Here, Jim once again gets enraged, this time at my smoldering, shittily assembled campfire.

He's tearing the campire apart with his bare hands and reassembling it. Me, well... I was going for diplomacy.

Ah... Here I am, so energetic and rested after a satisfying night's sleep in the great outdoors. There's nothing quite like drifting off to the sounds of the forest, in this case hours of four drunk fratboys in the next campsite arguing at the top of their lungs over the name of a Billy Squier album.

I pee next to my tent, then hit the bathroom to buy a soda from the vending machine. It's important to pay attention to official camp signs such as this one — without this helpful tip, I might have disposed of the can in the wrong area and drawn unwanted pests such as the fire ant, stinging wasp, playful puppy or cuddly kitten into the camp.

Jim also wakes refreshed. He had the back of his truck tricked out pretty nice, with a mattress and stuff. Earlier in the week, he had asked if the Gay Pride Tent was a two-man tent or a one-man tent.

"Well, Jim, it's a two-man tent AND a one-man tent, if you get what I'm saying," I had replied. His advances thusly rebuffed, a miffed Jim spent the weekend grabbing every opportunity to complain that I forced him to sleep in his truck, but, frankly, I think he got the better end of the deal.

"How did you sleep?" he asked me that morning.

"Shitty. I couldn't figure out how to zip my sleeping bag all the way up, and my shirt kept pulling up and my left love handle would flop out onto the cold tent floor, waking me up," I said. "Plus the ground was just generally kind of cold and hard and lumpy, even under the bag."

"Yeah, I didn't sleep so well either," he said.

I looked at his cozy little set-up. "Why the hell not?" I asked.

"I'm afraid of roaches," he said. Later, he admitted that there weren't actually any roaches in his truck, but that "there could be."

Jim was also pissed that I insisted we take separate trucks. I didn't know he was planning to sleep in his before I packed mine up just the way i like it... Also, I wanted to listen to the new Chemical Brothers, and Jim seems to favor music that either sounds like people trying to solve calculus problems or that involves songs about people's feelings. I hate bands that can play their instruments, and I hate songs about feelings. Well, unless maybe those feelings are anger and hatred.

We decide to give the fishing another try. I'm still cold.

Jim gets distracted trying to molest a bird. Another sign from Mother Nature, one telling us that fishing blows and that we should just hang it up and come in out of that damn wind.

Determined to salvage something from the shreds of our adventure, Jim decides to eat our bait. "They've been stewing in their own poop water overnight, so you have to rinse them off," he says. "Hey, does that look like a parasite to you?"

It's always a pleasure watching a talented culinary artist go to work, even with humble ingredients... Such as leftover bait.

Jim salivates in anticipation as breakfast sizzles away on the campfire.

I remain skeptical, but my sideburns are awesome.

Mmmm. Well, if he didn't have a touch o' the Down Syndrome before, it looks like he might now that those parasites are kicking in.

"We've hit a new low," Jim says.

"Dude, we're going to hit lows lower than this before the month's out," I say.

Yummy. Me, well... I'm sticking with Diet Dr. Pepper, easily the most breakfasty of the diet soft drinks.

As we pack up camp to return the three-quarters of a mile or so back to civilization, I celebrate our adventure in the traditional Hughes fashion, standing in the campfire like a dumbass to see how long it takes my shoes to get hot. (Turns out it doesn't take long at all.)

Alright, that's it. That's the fuckin' manly shark adventure. Enough Internet excitement for one day, eh? Whew!


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