Monday, July 31, 2006

Who Needs Cricket, We've Got Giant Dead Eels!

Well I’ve never been to England (but I kind of like the Beatles). So I’d better be careful when I begin to criticize or even mock some of their traditions and institutions. The institution of which I speak is Conger Cuddling. It sounds cute, but my friend it ain’t. Unless you fancy fish market work.

Conger Cuddling is the art (for lack of a better description) of tossing giant dead eels, which makes me want to toss my cookies. It has been a tradition in the town of Lyme Regis for 30 years. Because I know you’re dying to find out, here’s how the contest works. Teams of several people stand on a platform and swing the giant dead eel (suspended over the water) towards the other platform trying to knock their rival team down. The event is a fundraiser for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

This year the tournament had to be changed and a buoy was used instead. Animal rights activists threatened to create negative press about the event. I suppose all they would have had to do is just mention that the competition exists in order to bring negative attention to it. What the activists may be missing however is that the eels are already dead. One would think that not using them in the contest would be a waste of their death, which is really what the activists should be upset about. Swing a live eel, and they might have a case. A fake eel may be used next year.

I can’t find how the event actually started. A lot of things are started by accident. However what I'm at a loss to figure out is how someone could have been accidentally knocked off a platform by a swinging giant dead eel. It sounds like a college drinking prank gone wrong or a bad attempt at staging a hilarious scene for America’s Funniest Home Videos.

It’s a shame that after 30 years such a (relatively) popular fund raising event has to be so dramatically altered. “Oh never mind going to the conger cuddling this year Winifred, they're not actually using real eels.” What did they expect, the Spanish Inquisition? No one expects the…I promise I won’t try and write anything British ever again.

10 comments:

The Lafferist said...

I see a progression here: conger cuddling evolves to conjugal chores. You don't have to be a Freudian scholar to comment, er, on the eel -- alive or dead.

Michael C said...

Yes, but what does the fake eel proposed for next year equate to?

wendy said...

It was started by a guy with a hatred towards eels.

thethinker said...

What a strange tradition. Too bad the activists have to ruin everything.

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

speaking of Freud, remind me of Robert Klein's great bit: "Hey, Doc, I had this dream I can't quite figure out about a hot dog chasing a donut in the Lincoln Tunnel."

meloncutter said...

Although I am a product of lower education and blue collar influence, I detect a sense of sexual innuendo and phallic symbolism here. Or should I just look at this as a british version of redneckism and call it good?

JR's Thumbprints said...

In Detroit, us hockey fans throw dead octopi. Cool post.

jbwritergirl said...

Americans have a similar game only we throw live bait at the enemy and if they can survive that they get a free education, a house and a nice pension plan.

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