Fishing, Digitally, For My Wednesday Meal

By Jay Sedmak
SNPJ Publications Editor/Manager

Since today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season, I thought I’d do a quick search for “lent fish fries” on Google – and for two good reasons. First, I was curious to see how many results Google would suggest; second, and even more important, I was thinking of paying a visit to a local fish fry and picking up dinner.

In response to my query, “lent fish fries,” Google rendered 81,900 results across a vast number of pages (in less than half a second, no less). Wow! I doubt that it would be possible for me to visit 81,900 fish fries over the course of my lifetime, let alone in the six weeks, give or take a few days, that comprise Lent. So I’ll narrow things down a bit: “lent fish fries pittsburgh” – that should work. And it did, to some extent: 19,100 Google results. Still way too many, but at least I won’t have to wade through the list of Lenten fish fries in New York City and Cleveland that popped up in my initial search. (No offense intended to the good folks in NYC and Cleveland; those locales are just a wee bit out of the way on my trip home.)

Earlier today I heard the morning news anchors delighting over the fact that numerous fish fries would be offered locally, so a visit to the local network affiliate should do the trick, right? Well, you’d think by now that the list would be published, but not so. Instead, I found the fish fry directory submission form, which would be terrific if I was doing the frying, or even if I was trying to complete the form from my mobile device (thanks to the included mobile link), but since I don’t fit into either scenario...

Ok, there’s always the newspaper. Too bad I left my copy at home, and it’s really a shame that the paper arrived later than normal today, leaving me with barely enough time to open it let alone actually read something prior to my morning commute. But this is the digital age, and as the saying goes nowadays, “There’s an app for that.” Grabbing my cell phone to make a quick launch of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette app and... nothing; well, not yet anyway. But I did read an interesting column in the Food section titled “Pairing Girl Scout cookies with adult beverages.” Though it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, this fish fry run-around may soon put me in the mood for one of the suggested cookie-and-beer/wine pairings. Who needs fried fish when Girl Scout cookies are in season?

I’m beginning to think that Lenten fish fries have become completely lost in the translation to today’s digital media. This morning’s search for an appropriate Ash Wednesday meal leads me to believe that the newest generation of media-savvy technicians has no interest whatsoever in fish fries – or anything fried, for that matter. I guess if a subject can’t be digitally recorded (to stimulate one’s sense of vision, that is), and then archived, Tweeted and shared, there’s simply no interest online.

When I do finally land my catch this evening after fishing all morning long, I’ll be sure to take a selfie while enjoying my Lenten fried fish. I’ll Tweet that selfie to my many friends in hopes of shattering the current re-Tweet record-holder set at the Grammys this past Sunday. Maybe then – just maybe – I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that my Ash Wednesday fishing expedition wasn’t made in vain.

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