Welcome, Rand: An Essay on Uncling and Shrimping, With Some Observations on the Nature of Cuteness

So, yeah, I’m excited about becoming an uncle.  The uncling actually happened after the shrimping, but it’s the thing I’m more excited about right at the moment, so you get to read about it first.  My sister-in-law Shauntel (who happens to be married to my brother Ezra, but I gather that she did most of the work involved, so I think she should get the credit), back in good old Pennsylvania, delivered my first nephew the other day, and, while I am too lazy to actually post the picture that was sent to me over e-mail, let me tell you this:  He is extremely cute.  Dangerously cute.  (Note: I have never seen a 2-day-old who wasn’t, but still, this is my nephew.  Certain things need to be expressed to their fullest.)  His name is Rand (which, at this point, i.e., pre-adolescence, is also cute, along with every other thing associated with him) thus the title of this post.

Ok, enough with the uncling, and on with the shrimping.

There are some strange shops here in Taiwan, and I’ve never seen them anywhere else.  They are shrimping shops.  And this does not mean that you go there and buy gear to catch shrimp, as a fishing store in America might sell you fishing rods and bait.

No, you go there to catch shrimp.  In the shop there is a big pool, with the walls of the pool set at chest height to the patrons, who are all sitting on bar-stools.  When you go in, you tell them how long you want to shrimp for.  Then, they give you a fishing rod, and show you how to bait the hook.  You bait it with a tiny dried shrimp and throw your hook into the water.  You have to continually pull on the line, bit by bit, in small jerks, to simulate movement, so your bait looks like a real shrimp.  There is a small buoy attached to the line, to let you know when a shrimp bites.  Sooner or later (because they keep the pool well-stocked) you see the buoy bob up and down.  You let the shrimp get the hook in its mouth, but you keep tugging bit-by-bit so that the hook catches in the shrimps mouth then, once the shrimp’s really gotten the hook, you pull like mad.  And the shrimp, because it would rather stay in the water, resists you.  Now, you are thinking,”but it’s just a shrimp, how could it resist me?”  You have not seen shrimp like these.  They are huge.  They are practically lobsters, and trust me, they can pull quite strongly.  Eventually, however, you pull the prawn out of the water and put it in your net.

After a couple of hours in the store, you’ve got a net full of struggling prawns, which you then take out back to grill.  You grill them until they’re pink, and then eat them, because they are good.  Also, if you are lucky, you are eating them next to the nice Japanese girl who invited you out, and who is cute in her own special way, to be distinguished from the baby-type cuteness which I focused on at the beginning of this post.

Ok, that’s enough self-referential babble for one day, I think.

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4 Responses to “Welcome, Rand: An Essay on Uncling and Shrimping, With Some Observations on the Nature of Cuteness”

  1. Ma Jian-Teng Says:

    Congrats on uncling! (don’t they make dryer sheets for that?) Rand is a cool name, about as novel as, but classier than, my Chinese name. Like it but now I can’t help but wonder: Ayn? Or McNally’s partner? Or the Corporation?

  2. Rosemary Says:

    Congrats! (even better since you didn’t have to do much 🙂 ) I guess now you’re a real grown-up, what with being an uncle and catching your own food. Can’t wait to join you.

  3. Goldberg Says:

    Having already seen photos of Rand, I feel not at all out of line in asking to see pix of the giant shrimp and the cute Japanese girl, not necessarily in that order.

  4. Sabrina Says:

    When you say shrimping, all I can think of is Forrest Gump.

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