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.

Trout fly

Read any good books lately? Try mine!

Need Your Advice

Okay, my biggest challenge at the moment is making friends at age 50 when I live in a town where I know no one. And it doesn’t help that my “weekends” fall on Mondays and Tuesdays. That makes socializing complicated at best. I’m also rather shy.

I have a very outgoing friend who never met a stranger. So I asked him for some advice on the subject. He says making friends is like fly fishing. You have to cast your fly upon the waters about a hundred times before you get a hit. It’s really a numbers game.

So friends are like trout. I get it. But how do I catch one? He says men in particular come in two types. The ones that are aggressive and actively hunting (and I don’t think I’d like that type much at all), and the ones that will come part way, but won’t take the final step without some kind of a signal because they’ve been burned before. So you have to meet them part way.

The way he suggests I do that is have a business card, and if I feel a connection with someone I should give them my card, and they can decide whether or not to get in touch. He said that I should order 250 of them and give them all out. As timid as I am, I’ll be lucky to give out 10, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Here’s where you come in, dear reader. I need your advice. What do I put on this card to grab their attention? Here are some ideas:

Simply my name and e-mail. Or should I get creative and include something like:

  • I love pithy commentary, bad puns, and dry humor.
  • My dogs love me. And they’re great judges of character. Really. They are.
  • Did we just have a moment? Because it kind of felt like we had a moment. Hope you’ll be in touch! (This one might be weird if I were to give it to a potential female friend, though.)
  • I’m new to Seattle, and don’t know anyone. You seem nice. Just sayin’.

Any other suggestions? I’m open to them.

Or I could just cut right to the chase and say “Hello, sailor!”

Nah. Probably not.


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