Words: John HoltAfter one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say “I want to see the manager.”
—William S. Burroughs

The origin of Jake’s nickname, “Surfer Jake,” is a story of journalistic revisionism not for the faint of heart. The Cliffnotes version is that back in the days when my friend was a reporter covering the cop beat for the reactionary Las Vegas Review Journal, he met with some minor legal troubles involving a surfboard and some of the local vegetation while on vacation in Oaxaca. The combination led to an injured burrow, lots of smashed tomatoes, an arrest, and was of some embarrassment to his editor who decided, in the interests of journalistic purity, to send our Mr. Surf packing. This turned out to be a wise decision as he now makes his living restoring classic bamboo fly rods, a surprisingly lucrative business.

He and I discuss how much television ruins pro football—complete discontinuity as in kickoff, timeout, three plays, coaches challenge, commercial break and four minutes of analysis by a brain-dead jock and terminal sports hack babbling about whether both of the receiver’s feet were inbounds while 397 different replay angles loop over and over in some Kafkaesque perpetuity. Then a punt, more beer and truck commercials. A long pass, but then there’s a flag on the play for defensive pass interference, followed by another coach’s challenge, a brief commercial break and the same mobious repeat, on and on for four hours.

Fortunately and abruptly, our line of inanity ends as though by godsend when an enormous brown smashes a #2, 4X-long Cree Woolly Bugger. My friend’s Australian shepherd, Rupert, is on the front seat, his large ears flying in the wind, barking instructions as Jake plays the fish, or, rather, as it plays him. The fish sails through the air. I pull back hard on the oars to give my friend more room to work the brown trout as it crashes and flies down this deep run next to a sheer wall of dusty-yellow rock.

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