Yes, I know that Catfish are freshwater fish and don’t usually live in the sea. But we’re talking metaphor here, smarty pants, so don’t get so literal on me. If you can hold your horses long enough for me to explain, you will see why catfish are, in fact, the most important fish in the sea.
First, it’s important to know the other meaning of Catfish.
The Term Catfish
You may be too old to know this on your own, but Catfish is a term that means to pose as someone else online to lure someone into a relationship with you. It comes from the MTV show called Catfish, where they expose people who post phony profiles of themselves in order to trick people into online relationships.
Nev Schulman and his sidekick Max investigate these cases, and expose the Catfish, who are often lovesick individuals who lack the confidence or good looks to attract the ones they desire.
The Origin Story
We’re 6 seasons into this show, but most people don’t know the origin of the term “Catfish.”
It comes from Nev’s own personal experience of being “Catfished.” He had entered into a relationship with a woman who approached him online. But she was not who she claimed to be, and he made a documentary film about the experience. The film, a hit at Sundance and the impetus for the TV series, unraveled the woman’s deceptions, until finally uncovering the bizarre truth.
Angela, the woman who “Catfished” Nev, went to great lengths to hide her true identity from him, telling lie after lie. A married woman, she was somehow living out a fantasy at Nev’s expense.
When the documentary team uncovers the scheme, Angela’s husband Ronald learns about his wife’s deceptions. The most understanding husband in America, Ronald is not angry. He does not express feelings of betrayal. Instead, he explains his wife’s behavior by saying the most brilliant thing I’ve ever heard on TV.
Why Catfish Are Valuable
Ronald explains that when Cod fish are caught in Alaska and shipped to China, they lose their freshness in the hold of the ship. Their flesh becomes mushy before they reach market.
So they put some Catfish in the vats with the Cod. The Catfish chase the Cod around, keep them agile, and preserve their freshness.
Ronald explains that his wife Angela is like a Catfish.
“There are those people who are Catfish in life, and they keep you on your toes. They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh.”
“I thank God for the Catfish, because we’d be droll, boring and dull if we didn’t have somebody nipping at our fin.” Ronald is brilliant, and this is how the TV show got its name.
The Dark Side Of Catfish In Social Media
Catfishing has become a common phenomenon in our Social Media driven culture. But I’m not suggesting that this practice is good. I think it’s rotten. Even Crappie (see what I did there? Rimshot).
It ruins people emotionally, and often, financially. Manti Te’o, an All-American linebacker at Notre Dame, was Catfished during his senior year, just before the NFL draft. A projected first-round pick, Manti dropped to the second round, due to the cloud of controversy over him when his Catfish story became public. Though he recovered and went on to play in the NFL, his Catfish experience cost him a lucrative first-round contract.
Despite all that, I do think there are good and honest Catfish among us that keep the Cod agile, keep them thinking, and keep them fresh.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about you.
Why Manic Impressives Are Valuable
Yes, you Manic Impressives play a vital role in society. You challenge cultural norms, you speak truth to power, and you make people think.
You dream up outrageous schemes and try to influence your organizations to swing for the fences instead of laying down bunts. You challenge others to innovate, and to stop doing things the way they’ve always been done. You are a positive force for change.
Manic Impressives do more to realize mission statements than the administrators who write them up and post them on office walls. You keep everyone around you agile. You innovate, you challenge, then you make folks laugh.
You are the Catfish among the Cod, and we desperately need you to keep things fresh.
Yes, your spontaneity may come across as impulsiveness, and your extroversion may challenge the introverts. Your risk-taking may make the conservative thinkers uncomfortable at times. But we need you.
You keep us all healthy and fresh, so we fetch a better price at market. Don’t stop. Keep up the good work. Keep chasing the Cod around the tank and know you’re making the world a better place.