I am mystified — the most trivial things get labeled with extravagant labels on the internet, and I’m experiencing hyperbole fatigue (actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the annoying ads that are generated for this post are full of this crap). The latest example is this “viral video” that is being described as “bizarre“, “uncomfortable“, “revolting“, and “gross“. It’s none of those things. It’s routine and commonplace. It’s just a razor clam on an Oregon beach.
This copy has the most ordinary title: “clam digs into sand”.
My family used to dig for razor clams, and we knew how fast they could burrow. It wasn’t gross, it was wonderful: they dig by anchoring themselves with that muscular foot and expelling water to fluidize the sand around them, and then contracting muscles to pull themselves deeper into the muck, which then firms up around them. They were so fast at burrowing in that you needed special tools to keep up with them — a clam gun, which was a tube you’d push around the clam and then pull up to remove the clam and all the wet sand around it (that could be heavy work), or these narrow shovels that would let you dig fast. We’d walk along the beach or in the shallows, looking for spurts from their siphons or the little dimples they’d leave on the surface, and then you’d race to excavate them before they got away.
Here’s a video from the Washington state parks department on how to dig for razor clams.
They’re delicious, by the way. That clam is just one big hunk of almost pure muscle.
Also, that video shows what I’ve always thought of as a real beach: gray, cloudy, foggy, and wet, and going to the beach meant putting on denim and flannel and good solid boots, getting cold and damp, and coming home to a seafood feast. It was kind of the opposite of glamorous and weird, internet.