PAT NEAL: Razor clamming best way to avoid post-holiday chores

Now that Thanksgiving is over, only the drudgery of cleanup remains. Don’t get bogged down in the details as an excuse for doing nothing.

A good place to start might be to shovel the holiday leftovers out of the refrigerator. As with any tough job, you’ll need the right tools to get it done properly. A hypoallergenic blue plastic tarp placed in a centrally located strategic location to encase the excess holiday offal can be a godsend in dealing with the problem. Unless your blue tarp is on the roof. It’s OK. Don’t get bogged down in the details as an excuse for doing nothing. Most housecleaning projects are simply a matter of delegating, prioritizing and moving on to the next disgusting chore, but remember, don’t put off till tomorrow what you can put off today.

Lately, I’ve discovered a new and easier method of avoiding housework altogether. It can short-circuit the brain muscle into thinking you’re doing something when in fact you’re sitting there doing nothing. It’s quick, easy and perfectly legal in all 50 states the last time I checked. It’s so simple even I can do it: It’s called “writing.”

What if you’re too lazy and ignorant to write? Just do what I do. In the fast-paced modern world in which we live, there is no problem in our lives too big to run away from and blame the government.

One of the best ways to forget your problems is to go razor clamming in the night tides on one of our Pacific beaches, especially since the limit has been raised to 20 clams. Clams are an essential ingredient in many clam dishes like clam patties and clam chowder, but you have to dig them first. To do this, you must spot the faintest dimple in the sand and dig for it.

Spotting the razor clam and digging them are two different things. Sometimes it’s a challenge to match wits with a clam until you remember they have no brain. It’s humbling to find yourself kneeling on a tide flat in the dark with your arm in a hole in the sand, trying to grab a clam, only to be defeated and outsmarted by a creature with no central nervous system.

That makes perfect sense in the evolutionary scheme of things. Bivalves have been around since the Cambrian Era — that’s more than 500 million years ago. Meanwhile, this whole time the clams have been evolving into stronger, smarter and faster organisms with complex abilities to survive in a hostile environment. Modern humans have only been around for 40,000 years or so. We seem to be getting dumber every year.

Razor clams move with surprising speed in wet sand by extending their foot or digger then flattening it out like an anchor. The clam pulls itself down to its anchor and repeats the process, digging down at a rate that is unbelievable to anyone but a clam digger.

There, you struggle with the fleeing clam as it tries to dig to China. In the heat of the battle, you hear another clam digger rush by heading back toward the beach shouting, “Wave!”

A decision must be made. Let go of the giant, mossy-back razor clam, the size of a maple bar, or hang on and get creamed by a wave of unknown height, bearing down on you in the dark of a winter’s night.

The best part about digging razor clams at night is that once you are sandy and wet from being tumbled around in the waves in the dark, the thought of staying home and shoveling out the refrigerator is not such a bad idea.

_________

Pat Neal is a Hoh River fishing and rafting guide and “wilderness gossip columnist” whose column appears here every Wednesday.

He can be reached at 360-683-9867 or by email via patneal [email protected].

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