I’m really not the best person to tease. In fact, I was teased so badly as a child, that it’s called ‘bullying’ today. The scars are healed, now, but once in a while they flare up, and I fly off the handle a bit. It’s usually due to a repetitive scorn, and after about a trillion times of throwing it in my face, I just…well…here’s the rest of the story.
There is one thing my husband and friends mock and denigrate me about as if I were the queen of fools. Quite honestly, I’m sick of it. I have driven a stake in the ground. (Umm…sand, actually. We live on an island.)
I’m saying no.
I will absolutely not, ever again, eat seafood in any form. Not clams. Not oysters. Not shallots. Not grouper. Not redfish. Not…well, I can’t remember names of seafood, but believe me, folks have all but forked bites of it into my mouth in an effort to show me how wonderful it is. Do they not think I’ve tried several times? Do they think that I outright lie when I say I don’t like it? It’s a mystery. One of my good friends even told me to stop saying I hated seafood because I wouldn’t be considered a local (insert eyeroll here). Seems to me people that love me would know this about me and LEAVE ME ALONE ABOUT IT.
Why do people feel they have an obligation, nay…a holy DUTY…to recruit non-seafood people into the seafood-lover militia? I will be the token anomaly. It’s okay. Locals can point to me and whisper, “that’s our last holdout, but we still have hope” all they want to, but there is no hope. And I reject all manner of putting stuff in my mouth that is even slightly fishy. I have the right to refuse, don’t I? Isn’t that the American way? I especially reject crustraceans that wander the ocean scooping up all manner of fish poop into their little clampy mouths and then arrive on a restaurant table artfully displayed for $500. Yuk on several levels.
Look, seafood people – we non-seafood people should make you even more proud of your lofty seafood vocabulary and discussion of culinary literacy regarding lobster, crab, dauphin, (is that a fish?) or whatever. You know something we don’t. (We don’t really want to know, but hey, we will listen with rapt attention and respect your right to know. We can still get along.)
Speaking of crustaceans, the worst of the worst happened a couple of weeks ago.
My husband and I are semi-retired, and he is looking for hobbies and fun stuff to do as he feverishly awaits full retirement. When we moved across the street from a lake, I took a very deep breath when he took up fishing.
With all his heart.
I mean…the man seeks out every neighbor and pulls information and help from them like a dentist pulls teeth. He is merciless. So now we have not one, not two, but THREE stinkin’ fishing poles in the garage PLUS a filet knife, line, tackle, and all the other fishy accoutrement. Trust me when I say I hate the smell of fish more than the taste of it and this man knew it when we got married. Did that deter him?
Of course not.
But we have agreed on boundaries. He can’t bring the fish in the house unless its fileted and on its way to the freezer. Don’t get me started on the rotting bait he ‘just happens’ to throw into the trashcan for our poor trash pickup people to endure. Plus, now we have a racoon problem? Hmmmm.
But I digress. Worse than that, he has started CLAMMING.
Now, he has dirty, muddy rubber boots, borrows this little rake-thing from a neighbor and wanders out into the muddy marsh. With a smile on his face, no less. I know now where the phrase ‘happy as a clam’ comes from. These, also, cannot come into the house, and I thank God that we have water faucets all around the perimeter of our home so he can wash the little critters outside. His mud-spackled clothing has to go straight to the laundry, and his mud-spackled body straight to the shower.
When he’s done clamming, he looks like a slightly remorseful- but proud -three-year-old boy fresh from a mud puddle. The other day, in all his mud-bespeckled glory, still wearing the grimy rubber boots, he grabbed his white, plastic bucket of unmwashed, still very much alive clams and strode purposefully toward a neighbor walking her two little purse-dog Pomeranians in the street in front of our house.
I was downright horrified as he marched toward her, bucket held high, little bitty fork-rake thing at his side, in all his clammy glory to show off his catch. Come to think of it, I guess clamming is where the term ‘clammy hands’ comes from.
Our neighbor smiled and tried to be polite, but backed away before the dogs leapt into the bucket.
A few days ago, he asked me to come watch while he raked the salt marsh mud for clam treasure, which I did. After all, a wife’s gotta support her man, at least on the surface, right? I don’t have to smell or touch the mud or the clams if I stay a good space away from the entire activity. He bought me black rubber boots for the occasion (why?) and I nicely responded that I’d watch from the bank in a chair, thanks.
With a goodly amount of wine.
So now I’m finding out that there are plenty of clam-lovers and clam-diggers out there. To my horror, once a friend of ours found out my husband had become conversant in all things clam, he promptly invited us over for dinner. He’d make Clams Casino Fettucine.
Guess who provided the clams.
The host generously cooked me chicken instead, but told me later he cooked it in the same sauce as the clams.
Did he have to tell me that? Really?