You would figure that as a purebred and proud son of the South, I would know all there is to know about catfish. I have caught them, been poked in the thumb by their barbs and have eaten copious amounts of them, usually with hushpuppies (Note to newly arrived Yankees: We aren’t talking footwear here. We are talking about cornmeal batter rolled into a little ball and deep-fried, preferably in lard. By the way, if you intend to live amongst us, you had better get used to lard. It is one of our major food groups, along with pecans and sweet tea.)
So, you can imagine my surprise when I read that former NBA star Ray Allen went to court in Orlando recently, asking for a motion to dismiss claims that he was stalking another man. In fact, Allen said he was the victim and was being catfished by this man, who says, no, Allen was stalking him. When the subject is catfish, it is hard to know who to believe.
Of course, I immediately called my buddies, Barney Funk and Porter Wagnalls to see if they knew what this was all about. They said catfishing is a term for someone who uses social media and pretends to be someone they’re not. How they know this stuff never ceases to amaze me.
While I had them on the line, I asked if they knew what drivel means. I mentioned that a reader had commented on my drivel in a Letter to the Editor. I assumed he was talking about my skill with a basketball. I’ll admit that I didn’t shoot well and I couldn’t guard a tree stump but I could drivel like a son of a gun.
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“Hogwash,” Porter Wagnalls said.
“How do you know,” I retorted, “you weren’t even there.”
“No,” Porter said, “‘drivel’ means ‘hogwash.’ The reader thinks your columns are hogwash. It has nothing to do with basketball.”
I wished now I hadn’t asked.
I am sorry for what Ray Allen is going through, but somewhat relieved that I am likely not to be catfished anytime soon since I have never quite understood how social media works and, therefore, am not likely to fall for someone who isn’t who they say they are. Not that they don’t try.
Back in my days at Southern Bell, obscene phone calls were a major issue. Caller ID pretty much shot that in the head. Now the people seriously in need of a life resort to all kinds of ways to get their jollies. If we spent our time and creative skills in a positive way, we could cure cancer and maybe get our federal government functioning again. (OK, I admit that last one is a stretch, but it’s worth a try.)
Instead, what we have are sinister types trying to catch us hook, line and sinker. In the past week, I have had two major banks threatening to close my account if they didn’t hear back from me immediately. The problem is that I’ve never done business with either bank.
My BellSouth account is always in jeopardy, as are Yahoo and Outlook and other Internet stuff I don’t understand. I guess I could ask my confidential contact in Nigeria whose father was a big-shot minister of something and is trying to get money out of the country (with my help, of course.) While I wait, maybe I should take advantage of the numerous opportunities I have to become a mystery shopper. How I am constantly selected for this plum assignment is a mystery to me.
I can always use the money. Twice in the past couple of weeks, my grandson has called me from jail — once in Florida and once in Alabama — needing me to post some serious bail money for him. This was obviously a traumatic experience for him because when I asked if he was my oldest or youngest grandson, he couldn’t remember. I offered to send our private jet to wherever he was and deliver the bail money in person. He hung up on me. Grandsons can be real ingrates at times.
The bottom line is to be very careful about these nefarious schemes. It’s a jungle out there. Now, if you will excuse me, I must sign off. I just got an invitation from a beautiful lady on Facebook who wants us to get naked and go catch some catfish. That’s an offer I can’t refuse. I will even provide the hushpuppies.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.