Cult of the
It sports a phallic
neck three feet long and a life span of 160-plus years. It’s the world’s
largest burrowing clam. It's jokingly referred to as
the Washington State Bird.
3 FEET UNDER explores
how the geoduck (“gooey duck”) has garnered a devoted following in
the Pacific Northwest over the past century. We follow Jack, a
long-time Seattleite who was raised in a kosher Brooklyn home, as he
prepares for his annual geoduck dig. Jack provides insights into his
transformation into a seasoned Pacific Northwesterner and connoisseur of
the King of Clams.
knowledge of Seattle, its waterways, and clamming culture propels the
action through many layers of geoduck
subculture. The Evergreen State
College in Olympia adopted the geoduck as its official mascot along with
the motto Omnia Extares ("Let It All Hang Out”). Devotees sing
songs, design dolls, and trade folklore about the burrowing bivalve.
Environmentalists beam about its ocean-cleansing siphoning powers.
Diners in Hong Kong restaurants pay more than $100 a plate for imported
Not to be left out,
Washington State regulators claim a piece of this bonanza by auctioning
off duck-digging rights every year to commercial harvesters, whose
divers “run” along the sea floor and pull up geoducks.
And crooks have broken
strict clamming laws, resulting in the notorious Clamscam
Nisqually Indian word “gwe-duc” means “dig deep.” Nineteenth-century
European settlers spelled it “goeduck” or even “gooeyduck” to
approximate its pronunciation. But “goeduck” erroneously became
“geoduck” in an East Coast dictionary editor’s rendition, and the
spelling has stuck.
Enjoy the dig.