"Ahh the beauty of nature, the refereshing #@#^& SLAP...feeling one gets while @#&##$% SLAP returns to his #$$#@! SLAP $@%#@..."
"CUT! Listen Raylan, you're a professional fisherman and you're in Alaska fly fishing for salmon, every fly fisher's dream. You must act professional while the camera is rolling or we'll !#$## SLAP be out here all bloody day! DO YOU HEAR ME? Now @#%@#$ SLAP stop slapping and get this take right, I want to go home! Take forty seven..."
I was watching a fishing show on TV the other day. Professional TV fishermen/actors, fishing in Alaska. If you paid attention you could see mosquitoes swarming around the fisherman's head, occasionally mosquitoes would get so thick that it looked like black snow in front of the camera. I've been to Alaska. I spent 18 months in Alaska. In the Army, not on a fishing show. I know from Alaska mosquitoes.
I promise you the first two paragraphs are accurate and those words were spoken in desperation bordering on hysteria. Alaska has the biggest mosquitoes in the universe, and more of them per cubic inch than can be contained inside Florida's borders. Big, loud, heavy, blood sucking monsters that fly in formation and attack with a never-ending persistence that makes grown men cry.
These fishing actors were cool and calm on the camera, not so much as a twitch of the lips as they spoke calmly, poetically and lovingly of the wonderful experience of fishing wild Alaska. Big black clouds of mosquitoes circling their heads, being pulled into their mouths with every breath. Not a slap, not a sign of mental disease could be seen on their faces. I laughed my butt off, because I know what tortures of the damned they were suffering behind their million dollar smiles.
While I was up there a local radio station entered a national contest that was put on by a Florida radio station. They challenged every state to send them the biggest mosquito they could find and guaranteed, guaranteed mind you, that it would not come close to measuring up to Florida's. Our local station sent in one. Easily winning the contest. The Florida station was a poor loser about it - claiming that the Alaska mosquito had been cross-bred with a turkey.
I love to watch when the actor fishermen go to Alaska. They have those brief moments on film where they don't slap. Ever notice how short each "take" is? There's a reason, man can not endure more than thirty seconds of those swarming hordes of giant mosquitoes without going into kung-fu slapping mode. Slapping their own faces until they are red and swollen. Native fisheremen wear mosquito net veils. Looks silly on camera though and defeats the purpose of the fishing lodge paying the expenses because they are trying to pull in more customers. Can't show the actors slapping themselves silly and running in circles or, or crying like little girls that fell off the monkey bars - it would defeat the whole purpose of luring in fresh meat for the mosquitoes - I mean new customers.
Then there are the scenes of fishing while a grizzly bear is in the background. The fishing actors act cool and detached about the bears. Bull dukey. If you have ever been on the ground with a full grown grizzly, and the only thing between you and him is about 100 yards of air - you don't act that way. You act like a statue, thinking "Did I make out my will? If I freeze maybe he'll think I'm just a non-edible tree trunk. Please God, get me out of this alive!" Then you start moving backwards ever so slowly trying to get away. The bear looks up, right at you making eye contact. Something warm runs down your leg. There are no atheists within a half mile of a grizzly bear. The closer to the bear, the more devoutly religious one becomes. There is nothing "cool" about it. It's an experience you don't, I repeat DON'T, want to have.
So, I watch these shows - not for the fishing they are doing - for the acting they are doing. I've been there, I know better. I have no plans to go back. I'll take my water moccasins over their mosquitoes and bears. I'll take bass over salmon. Every time.