Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just Hangin' Out, Noodling With The Boys

Noodling. Grabbling, graveling, hogging, dogging, gurgling, tickling, stumping ... catfisting? If you're wondering what these words have in common, it's not about last Saturday night. Apparently, all of these strange epithets refer to a very dangerous and barely legal fishing practice. You may not be able to marry the person of your choice, but the government had better not try to stop you from noodling a catfish.

Noodling is only legal in eleven states and is, for the most part, a subversive and guerilla practice. Allow us to explain further: a manly pack of shirtless, well-toned lads strip down to their jorts and submerge themselves in a shallow body of water (read: "crick"). Once the testosterone-heavy group is in the water, the alpha male finds the best "hidey-hole" in which to bury the better part of his arm. If he is lucky, his arm will be partially devoured by a catfish. Unlucky noodlers become a feast for beavers, alligators, snakes, or the worst kind of muskrat love. Once bitten, the noodler (lucky or not) triumphantly raises his trophy above his head like some kind of terrifying reverse-puppet for all the world to see: catfish, rodent, or bloody stub of an arm.

Although this is a highly dangerous, unsanitary and inhumane practice, pro-noodling states got it right: people should be able to stick their body down any dark hole and damn the consequences. This is America! So go out there and start punching through the gills of every unsuspecting catfish for the red, white and blue.

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