Jen Jeffrey: I Wish I Were A Fish

Sunday, November 17, 2013 - by Jen Jeffrey
Jen Jeffrey
Jen Jeffrey

When I was a girl, I remember watching a delightful, partly animated movie called “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” starring Don Knotts.  Henry Limpet thought fish lived a more swimmingly life and he had wished that he were a fish.

Our peers will sometimes use a common phrase after we have experienced a break up or we make bad dating choices, “There are plenty of fish in the sea,” they’ll say. My friend Myra recently commented on a Facebook status that I had posted about dating and she used that phrase as she encouraged me to wait for ‘the right one’.

Our friends want to see us happy. They root for us when we are dating someone and they encourage us when we experience failure.

I have heard the ‘plenty of fish’ phrase since I was a teenager. It basically was advice given after one of two things happened to me. If I had a crush on someone who didn’t know I was alive and I was encouraged that there were ‘plenty of fish out there who would just love someone like me’ (that just made me feel that I was an odd fish). And, if I had experienced a break up I was cheered on that there would always be another fish to come along.

I realized how many fish were in the sea as I would be in love with a new fish every two weeks. When I was old enough to be more committed, I had never thought more about fish unless I was going to eat one and, after recently hearing that phrase as a single middle-aged woman, I have revisited the fish metaphors.

Some days, I think I have become a ‘reel’ expert who can ‘tackle’ anything that seems fishy and to know when to ‘catch and release’.

Bait is one of the first things to consider, I guess. I have never really used bait to attract a fish metaphorically speaking. I think that is called ‘snagging’ (which is illegal in some states) but it seems more honest than using artificial bait.

When I tried fishing with my Harrison friends last year, the girls who were trying to teach me to fish used live bait. It wasn’t pretty. Yes, they had to bait my hook because of my fear of worms.

After casting a few times and not catching anything, my worm was a soggy lifeless mess and it seemed it was a ‘waste of bait’. The only ‘bait’ I can think of that I may use when dating would simply be to put on make-up and take a little more time on my hair. If the date turns out bad, I feel like that soggy old wasted worm.

For someone who doesn’t fish, I don’t have any idea where the good spots to cast are.

I have learned that ‘blind-casting’ just does not work for me and especially in dating.

A bobber is used to show when you ‘have a bite’. I think I need one of those for dating - I can’t always tell if someone is really interested in me.

The girls I accompanied fishing had caught fish that day, and they were both married. They seemed to know what they were doing in the whole fishing game. I don’t know much about fishing and I only went for the Halibut.

I don’t know if I will ever be skilled in the dating arena to know the right hook, line and sinker, but I don’t really worry about it. I honestly think the only way I will ever catch a fish is if someone throws it at me.

Every person who plays ‘go fish’  may also have a story about ‘the one that got away’ but if they got away – it is de-bait-able whether or not they really were ‘the one’.

There is a learning curve in ‘fishing’. One of the things I have learned over the years is that even the best line gets weak when it is used a lot and that fish just get into trouble when they open their mouth. Fishing was easier when I was younger and now the ‘plenty of fish in the sea’ have pretty much been caught, but those who have been released are leery. Middle-aged fishing is much harder than you think.

That’s why I don’t think I am good at fishing - I don’t know a thing about bait or lures. I just have my net ready. If a fish doesn’t want to be caught and doesn’t just hop into my net, I don’t think I really want it. I wouldn’t want any fish flopping around to get off the hook, so I am in no hurry. Like my friend Myra told me, there are plenty of fish in the sea and I should wait for the right one (and I hear with fishing - good things come to those who wade).

Out of the fish I have tried Salmon, Flounder, Tuna (sushi) and Trout, my favorite has to be Salmon so far. The problem with having Salmon is trying to swim upstream. I have heard that shark is not very tender but holy Mackerel is divine. I guess there are plenty of fish in the sea that I have yet to explore.

Fish seem harmless enough, but it is important to learn about them even if you just stick your toe in the water.

Whether I have stuck my toe in the water or jumped in with waders, I have seen a nibble, a bite and even a whopper. So, I came up with a few nicknames that help me identify some of ‘the fish’ I have met which resulted in a quick ‘catch and release’. Sometimes you know right away what to throw back.

“Nemo” is just a clown who is too immature.

“Dory”  is the one that I just would just want to forget.

“Betta” is the one who is trying to bait me and nothing more than a showoff.

“Eel” is the one who is as poisonous as a snake.

“Rockfish” is the toxic one who pretends to be something he’s not.

“Kingfish” is the one who thinks he is ‘all that’ and has too many rules.

“Flounder” is the middle-aged one who hasn’t yet found a direction in life.

“Ruffe” is the one that has no manners and doesn’t shave.

“Stingray” is the one who is beautiful to look at, but don’t touch or your heart will get stung.

“Swordfish” is the one with the NRA bumper sticker, has a heavy arsenal in his basement and doesn’t like people.

“Yellow fin” is the one who is afraid to initiate anything or use his man card.

“Snapper goes overboard with his man card and is irritable and disrespectful.

“Piranha” is the one who talks about their last divorce and prenupts and will eat you alive.

“Perch” is the one who is content to just hang out and perch on your porch never taking you on an actual ‘date’.

I am not an angler or hooked on fishing and …I have yet to catch a fish that I want to mount on the wall, but there are some days that I feel I have ‘caught my limit’ and I just don’t want to fish anymore. I have been learning a lot about fishing but I am still in school.

I think the only way to find a great catch… would be to actually become a fish. I wish I were a fish.

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