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
In this collection of thirty zany stories, spoofing camping, fishing, and other outdoor recreational activities, McManus shares his hilarious wilderness misadventures. From facing an angry bear with an unloaded gun and the folly of running a boat while it’s still on the trailer to not questioning the ingredients found in camp cookout cuisine and the best methods of catching grasshoppers, no one knows how to express Mother Nature’s sense of humor like Patrick F. McManus.
“It’s enough to tickle the most rabid member of the National Rifle Association.”—*Kirkus Reviews
The great outdoors have never been rendered as hysterically as in the reminiscences—true and exaggerated—of Patrick F. McManus. If you’re thinking about getting back to nature, the surreal adventures chronicled here will make you think twice about giving it all up for a life of camping, hiking, and hunting.
Should the Tent Be Burning Like That? gathers together a wide range of Heavey’s best work. He nearly drowns attempting to fish the pond inside the cloverleaf off an Interstate Highway four miles from the White House. He rents and crashes a forty-four-foot houseboat on a river in Florida. On a manic weeklong deer archery hunt in Ohio, he finds it necessary to practice by shooting arrows into his motel room’s phonebook (the blunt penetrates all the way to page 358, "KITCHEN CABINET—REFACING & REFINISHING"). Accompanying a shaggy steelhead fanatic—Mikey, who has no job or fixed address but owns four boats—on a thousand-mile odyssey up and down the California coast in search of fishable water, he comes to see Mikey as a purer soul than almost anyone he has ever met.
Whatever the subject, Heavey’s tales are odes to the notion that enthusiasm is more important than skill, and a testament to the enduring power of the natural world. Whether he’s hunting mule deer in Montana, draining cash on an overpriced pistol, or ruminating on the joys and agonies of outdoor gear, Heavey always entertains and enlightens with honesty and wit.