Like many men of my age I enjoy fishing. When I say fishing I am referring to fishing for fish. You may say, what else could you mean? I could’ve meant that I went on a fishing expedition for a complement. I may have meant that I was looking for a job or a new business opportunity. I could’ve meant that I was looking for evidence of a crime. I could’ve meant that I was going shopping without a specific intent on what I was going to buy. In each of those cases, fishing does not always equal catching.
Let’s start with the obvious fishing expedition. I enjoy going to a lake, a river, a stream or the ocean in an effort to catch some fish. But it is not necessarily the real reason that I go to those locations. I like going to a lake setting because it is beautiful. It is usually calm and tranquil. Fishing for fish is a good therapy for my PTSD. Of course, since I’ve gotten older I have accumulated a lot of gear to go fishing with. As a young boy, one of my prized possessions was a fishing pole and Zebco reel. I had two bobbers and three small hooks. I would dig outside my house to find some night crawler worms or the occasional cricket that I would use as bait. Some of the fondest memories I have of being a child were of going on a family vacation to a lake. There at the lake I would spend hours on end fishing off the banks of the lake in an effort to catch a humongous sunfish. As I got older I enjoyed going with my own children, fishing was always a part of a vacation for the family. Probably the most money I spent in those days was on a plastic fishing box which included some bobbers, weights and hooks.
Since those simple beginnings I have found a way to spend a lot of money on the activity of fishing. Of course I had to get a fishing boat, not just a fishing boat, a bass boat. I got hooked on big mouth bass fishing which eventually led me to live in Texas on a lake. When I originally retired, I would spend hours and hours on the lake in an attempt to catch a largemouth bass. After catching the bass I would weigh it and measure it and then release it back into the lake. One of the biggest ironies of my drive to go fishing is that I do not eat fish. I recently purchased a new Bass Tracker boat and I visit the Bass Pro Shop as often as possible to purchase more gear to go fishing with. My intentions are to get better at catching the fish. One day when I had finished fishing for the day and was putting the boat on my boat trailer, I met a guy who helped me put things into perspective. I want to say that the man was about 30 years old and he also had just finished fishing and was putting his boat on his trailer. The similarities and the difference between the two of us and what the young man said cause me to think.
The young man was driving a brand-new three-quarter ton crew cab Ford truck and was loading a brand-new 22 foot long, 250 hp bass boat. Both the boat and the truck were painted to complement each other. The gear on the boat displayed the latest electronics, both at the driver station and at the front of the boat. As I pulled up next to the young man I explained to him how much I was impressed and how jealous I was about his truck, boat and trailer. The young man smiled at me and told me that as much as he enjoyed his boat and truck he still had the same possibilities of catching fish that I had on my boat. And he was right, as it turned out neither one of us caught any fish that day.
I mention this because I’m talking about the subject of fishing for fish and no matter how much money you put into it or how much time you spend at it you can still go fishing and not catch any fish. It seems like each time I tell the story someone reminds me of the old fisherman in a rowboat who would declare, that’s why they don’t call it catching.
Let’s talk about another kind of fishing. And that is when you go fishing for complement. It is like when a person gets a new hairstyle. Soon after getting the new hairstyle the person will go and visit other people. For example, if your spouse gets a new hairstyle they will expect you to recognize it. And most the time they will expect a positive comment about the new hairstyle. Without telling you that they want a positive comment, they will usually ask you what you think. They are fishing for complement. Sometimes they would go to work with the new hairstyle and wait for somebody to notice it and make a comment, which they always hoped would be a complement. But I am sure that many of you have experienced a comment on your change of appearance that ended up in a negative note. Probably the worst thing that happens is that no one notices that you change your appearance at all. And so just like me, you end up with no comment or fish. Every once in a while when you’re fishing for a complement the opposite happens. More than likely, a child will make a comment that points out that you look older and fatter in your new hairstyle.
Okay, let’s talk about fishing for a new job or business opportunity. I am sure that many of you while working hard for your company have taken the opportunity to look at other jobs and businesses. And even though you do not want to announce that you’re looking around you will find a way to put the word out that you’re looking to move to new job or business. This is fishing; it’s like throwing a lure out across the water and hoping that as you retrieve it something will bite on it. Unlike when I was growing up, a person would stay with one job and company for 20 or 30 years, today’s young man and woman look at the possibility of moving to new jobs or businesses every five years. Well, to do that you have to put the information out unofficially so that someone may see it and contact you. You are fishing for someone to bite on your lure. Most the time when you change a job or business most of the work has been done unofficially and without your current job or business knowing anything about it. Fishing for job can result in no action, just like me not catching a fish.
Even while I was working as a police detective I would do a little fishing myself in an effort to find some evidence of a crime. The most obvious way to do that is to put out a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a person for a crime. There were times when information was leaked out into the community about a possible police action that was totally unsubstantiated and false. But because that information went out into the public some new information came in which many times led to the solving of another crime. Basically that’s fishing.
Even though I go fishing for a particular fish, I get just as excited when I catch a different fish. It is like going to a Sam’s Club and just walking up and down the aisles. I don’t have anything in mind that I actually need but I keep fishing for something to jumps out at me and scream that I need it now. In my case the same thing happens with houses. For whatever reason, I will start looking around at different areas at different houses and then all the sudden I find one that I want. Basically I’m out there fishing again with no specific target in mind but with the hope of catching or buying something.
In each of the examples I cited I have tried to show that fishing doesn’t necessarily equal catching. I don’t always catch a fish. I don’t always get a positive complement. I don’t always find a new job or business. And I can go shopping without actually buying anything.