My mother used to fish down at the creek of a Sunday afternoon, stolen moments with a loved one, not a hobby particularly belonging to either, but they passed precious time together laughing and flirting amid the dappled sunlight and slapping tails. She bent the hook barbs inward with an old pair of pliers so they wouldn’t hurt the fish too much as she released them from the lure, and then caringly flopped them back into the water. She was conscious of the suffering of the fish, and so this hobby was not long-lived.
These days recreational fishing is an insipid hobby, played out upon the flotsam surf of wireless inter-locution. We flirt with each other across the high-speed, virtual battle ground of misunderstood sexual politics. We are fisher and fish all together caught in this net cast wide, serving not to enrich us with nutritive, life sustaining love, but rather to drain us of our faith in its very existence. The hooks are baited, much of a muchness, lacking thought and originality, laden with oozing Hollywood rhetoric and incessantly misdirectional banter. You might call it minnows dressed as lionfish, or pufferfish cloaked in clownfish garb. No matter, it’s all carnivorous since fish, we all, parade our scaly attributes, while casting our lonely spinners to the multitudinous piranha hunt. There are no gently in-bent hooks along a quiet creek bank here; it’s all frenzied fishers battling for the prized spot along the hormone drenched shore, dangling their piercing wares for all to devour, suck, fuck, adore. Sometimes the fisher holds you in the water, trapped within the wooing net; promises the promise of evermore, two as one in an embracing life of commonalities and loving understanding. They imagine the net contains the perfect fish, just as they envisioned, everything they need to sustain and fulfil their desires. As such, they don’t observe the fish, don’t attend to it’s uniqueness or it’s inner world. We see what we want to see and believe that we deserve to find that one who was created just for us. Mates of the soul and creatures of equal lust destined to come together because there’s one out there for us all. So attuned to this belief, we spend our time gazing into this social media pool, Narcissus like, reflecting only until such time as we realize the fish we’ve caught is no reflection of us at all, and so we throw it back with vicious scorn, ghosting each other as though we have been duped by Satan himself. You could laugh about it all if it weren’t so pathetically endemic, this enculturation of the fettered heart. What manner of pond is this, which has stolen our faith in love, and left us lost in a sea of floating, bloated, rotting fish, with nary a hope in hell of respectful partnership?