Dead Fish (Mitchell Slepian)

When you hear the words “dead fish”, you are likely thinking about that goldfish you need to flush down the toilet. Maybe you were thinking of the latest toxic spill off the coast of Alaska.

I bet you weren’t thinking of the world-renowned sport of dead fish fighting? I used to be an active player in this game. Were you?

Let me tell you about it. Years ago in camp, we would go on Delaware canoe trips. I loved them. About halfway into the trip, our leader, Rodney (not his real name, but his alter ego) would start attacking us with dead fish. You see, from the start of the trip, he’d be loading his vessel with dead fish.

Just at the right time, he would unleash his arsenal. He would start attacking his fellow canoeists. Rodney would paddle up to his victim and when their eyes would go astray, he’d smack them over the head with several dead fish. Then he’d paddle away.

One trip Bergy and I were doing really well. We were paddling hard and making great time. The next thing I remember was getting smacked in the head with multiple dead fish. Bergy was also attacked. We tried to clean ourselves up. But alas, we could not. Our only choice was to jump out of our canoe and take a swim in the Delaware.

Once we got back into our canoe, Rodney attacked again. These days, I think about dead fish fights way too often. I’m so up for one. Are you?

Last spring, I had numerous lunches and dinners with a wonderful family, whose male children were planning to go to summer camp. I gave explained the glory of a dead fish fight. I mean you should forget about color wars, hurdles, softball and cookouts. Real men have dead fish fights. They promised they would engage in one.

I anxiously awaited their return from camp. I finally saw them. They told me about all the fun they had in camp. They reported during their rafting trip, all they did was paddle and go for a swim. They left the dead fish in the water.

Oh well.

© 2020 Ten Mile River Scout Museum.

Ten Mile River Scout Museum

1481 County Road 26

Narrowsburg, NY  12764

845-252-2063