(originally posted 6/1/2021)
fishing /ˈfiSHiNG/ noun the activity of catching fish, either for food or as a sport
catfishing /ˈkatˌfiSHiNG/ noun the process of luring someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona
So far, so good. Defining words… gets the reader’s sense of anticipation at its zenith. It’s not just me right? You can feel it? And then here comes the problem…
I don’t remember what it is called when you fish for catfish only using your hand. I’ve seen a couple shows about it, where hicks go crashing around streams and swamps thrusting their hands under suspicious logs and into muddy holes looking for their prey. While the details remain fuzzy, apparently when they find one of these enormous fish they either push their fist into the creature’s mouth or the fish actually grabs it without further provocation.
Either way they end up wrestling some enormous Pylodictis olivaris out of the water without benefit of a rod and reel. It’s almost heroic.
I had planned to make a really poignant observation about if catfishing is pretending to be someone else in order to begin a relationship, then perhaps you could do the complete opposite online. Tell them nothing but the truth. Unvarnished truths that you’ve never shared with anyone else. Big secrets and day-to-day quirks that nobody else knows. The person you end up describing would be just as unrecognizable to your friends and family as any catfish you could create.
This new phenomena would be to catfishing what shoving your fist into an unsuspecting catfish is to regular fishing.
A tremendous premise, practically writes itself, if only I could remember what this type of catfishing is called. It has a name.
I know I could Google it in two seconds but that would be admitting that I need Google. Fuck that. Charles Bukowski didn’t have Google and he was drunk half the time.
Why can’t I remember what it is called just using my brain? Using the tools in my existing (yet admittedly diminishing) toolbox. Old school memory. I’ve seen at least two shows about it. They called it something in particular and I just can’t put my finger on it. They must have said the word a dozen or more times.
These backwoods Southern folks can haul a forty pound flathead catfish out of the water with no lines or hooks and I can’t recall what this technique is called? And I then I have the balls to think that I have something meaningful to offer up about honesty? Insights about how who we really are, who we want to be, how other’s perceive us and how we want them to perceive us, how we would present ourselves if we were catfishing someone online and how someone would respond if we online fisted them?
“Online fisted them?”
I need the word for what that is.
All I would need to do is add an ing at the end of that word and all my problems would be solved.
Or would they?
Or would they just be beginning?
If Google gave me the word I was looking for, what if it was just as bad as catfishfisting?
Is that really the problem I’m worried about? If I’m being honest… maybe not.
I know how different my catfishfisting persona would be from who I pretend to be, how deeply unattractive it is, the little gross things I do and think on a daily basis, what if that’s everyone? What if everyone is like this? Chuck B. certainly was.
Who would want to think about that?
Maybe that’s why I don’t want to Google.
Who wants to open that can of worms if you’re not going to use them?
(Ending with a fishing metaphor and then just pointing it out seems way too much like fishing for a compliment. Something my catfishfisting self would be prone to do…)
(As opposed to ending with a quote… which in this case might be way too revealing.)
“I may be clean cut on the outside, but make no mistake… I like to get very, very dirty when nobody’s looking.”
– Robin Bielman
(Glad I didn’t do either)
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