New Heathens

Turning Pro

Oh this is ominous. Are we Facebook friends? You might notice that in the bio section, which the New York Times recently wrote an interesting piece about, I wrote, "Frustrated songwriter, trout pornographer."

Being that I sing in a (hitless) rock 'n' roll band, the "frustrated songwriter" part is self-explanatory.

It's the "trout pornographer" part that's depraved.

You've probably figured this out, friends, but I've got an issue. I really like looking at trout. And taking pictures of them. And scouring the internet for more pictures of them.

I call this "trout pornography."

A few months ago I got an e-mail from a gentleman designing a brochure for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Confederated Salish Kooteneai Tribes. He found a picture of a Westslope Cutthroat Trout from the South Fork of the Flathead River that I took two summers ago on a backpacking trip into Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness with my sister, my stepdad, and his black lab named Scout.

The gentleman offered me a modest, but very appreciated sum of money to use my trout photo on the cover of the brochure.

This is an important turning point, friends! Amateurs do things for free, professionals get paid. I just got paid for taking a picture of a trout. That makes me a professional trout pornographer! (Insert Vincent Price laugh here.)

It's been neat to watch what's happened with that photo, which is one of my favorites. As I blogged a few months ago, I was very honored to see that picture pop up on one of my favorite blogs, and one of my most beloved resources for internet trout pornography, Fly Fishing in Yellowstone National Park.

It appears I made that buck cutthroat a star, all for the price of a free lip-piercing. (I released him and I can only hope that every spawning season he's doing some real trout pornography, making lots of baby cutthroats.)

I look at trout pornography about a thousand times more than I look at real pornography (like you never). Sometimes when I'm alone I've been known to surf the internet for trout porn for hours. My girlfriend has caught me a few times, and that was embarrassing at first. I finally opened up to her and confessed that it would mean a lot to me if she would look at trout porn with me. I think she felt a little uneasy about it at first, but over time I think she's found some trout porn that she enjoys looking at too, you know, stuff with couples. She's even agreed to let me, on really special occasions, take some pictures and home movies of her and trout together. I think she thinks it brings us closer, which it does. It also really, really turns me on.

(Ahh, she's a keeper...)

With the publication of this brochure, entitled "State-Tribal Fish and Wildlife Agreement 2006-2010 Progress Report," I am giddy with the notion of getting paid for doing something I love.

I imagine that as a young man Larry Flynt felt exactly the same way.

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