If a trout sees a fly flitting about on the surface of his river, he’s going to snap at it. It’s in his nature. And when it’s just nature at play, that’s a great idea. Everybody needs food.
Unfortunately, sometimes man is inserting himself into this little game, and then taking that bait means certain death for the trout. I’ve always had mixed emotions about that sort of thing. When you take advantage of the fact that another creature is going to do what comes naturally, it kind of seems like cheating to me.
Bait. It’s a sinister thing. And the worst part is that we use it on one another, too.
If you’ve ever snapped off an angry response to a hostile e-mail, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You took the bait. And that almost always makes things worse for you.
Humans have always struggled with delayed gratification. The bait is there now, and it’s soooo satisfying to snap at it. For a split second. Then the regret and/or embarrassment sets in.
Trolls, in particular, count on this. They get some weird satisfaction from getting a rise out of people, while hiding alone in their lonely little rooms, clad in their stained and stretched out tighty whities. And they are oh, so good at it.
When someone gives you bait, it’s hard not to take it. But as a loved one says, “Don’t let their stupid rub off on you.” Wise words, indeed.
I’m trying to remind myself that no one controls my timeline. I don’t have to respond instantly to an e-mail. The fact that I’ve never been very good with snappy comebacks is probably a good thing, after all.
Take a breath. Let things percolate. Give yourself the time to use your very valuable brain. Because hooks in the mouth hurt.
I’m an introvert. I like peace and quiet. Alone is my natural state. I also love nature. The wind in the trees, the smell of dirt, the bugs, the very flora and fauna of it all. It grounds me.
You’d think I’d love fishing. I probably would, but for the fact that my stepfather loved fishing. He used to drag us fishing all the time when I was a child. Most likely I’d have enjoyed it if he hadn’t been a sick, twisted, sexual abuser, which meant that there was always this air of palpable tension and impending doom wherever we went. So now, in my head, the whole fishing concept is all tangled up with that disgusting pig.
I kind of resent that. He stole an activity from me that I would have taken to like a fish to water. (See what I did there? Sorry. Had to.) He put his slimy fingerprints all over it, and now it is forever tainted for me. I really shouldn’t give him this power.
I thought about trying to take that power back, but then I realized that I always felt bad baiting the hooks and hurting the fish. And forget about killing and cleaning them. No. Not my thing at all.
So maybe I just need to be an UN-fisherman. I could take all those elements I liked about fishing and apply them, and discard the rest. There’s nothing that says I can’t go out into the wilderness and sit on the banks of a river and just… quietly be.