The written word
Greetings dickheads. What? You're offended? How about some modern vernacular? Greetings cockwombles. Howdy asshats. Still getting the wrong idea? How about if you imagine you have just come around my house or you've bumped into me on the bank and I greet you in the same manner but you can see me.............
You calmed down now? Of course you have, you can see me, I'm joking. My face and body language are communicating with you. The great thing about this is you don't even need to see the hand gesture. You can tell purely by my face. How about if I looked like this........
This changes the whole situation entirely. Maybe I do think you're a bunch of asshats and want to punch you up the bracket (I don't but how can you tell?). I hope you're getting the gist so far. Communicating with just words, no matter how articulate you are is a minefield of crossed wires, umbridges taken and friendships ruined.
Know it all
Kinesics, proxemics, paralanguage, haptics, chronemics and oculesics. Ever heard of them? Nope, me neither and I was subjected to a series of non verbal communication lectures at university (when I wasn't busy fishing). The beauty is you employ every single one of those techniques every day. I'm not an expert, I googled those terms which is another offence I could be taken around the back of the internet and given a good kicking for. The way we communicate without words is massively complex yet we do it automatically. I'll give you a very basic example, you will all have done this....
A bloke walked into the pub the other day. He trudged in with heavy feet and clambered onto the barstool as if he were ascending Mt Kilimanjaro. He slouched on the stool, head slightly bowed, dishevelled and quite clearly upset about something. His whole demeanour was speaking to me. As I approached him I uttered the immortal line- "Are you alright?".
The answer was of course no, he'd just been dumped by his girlfriend. On a scale of being alright he was fairly low down the league table of alrightness, which I already knew before asking the stupid question.
Speaking with someone on social media gives you none of these clues. We've evolved over thousands of years to read each other physically and now, quite suddenly we are expected to be able to all get along merrily with most of our tools taken away. Little wonder we have so many fallouts. How do you know that person that's wound you up over something inconsequential isn't the guy on the barstool? You don't. They may be experiencing much more devastating life trials.
Take a look at your friend suggestions. How many of them are holding fish or have a similar interest to you? It's a total saturation. Gone are the days when the only fishing pictures you saw were grainy and once a week in Angling Times. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat in our circles are wall to wall, high definition tales of success and glory. Everyone is in on it. Get things into perspective. If forty anglers are on Chew Valley, one might get a thirty pound Pike. It isn't easy, I'm not saying that. It's just a fact. If someone spends a week bivvied up on the Trent and they catch a 12lb Barbel, well done. Given a bit more dexterity and a rod, one of my Labradors could do the same. Sometimes catching big fish isn't hard. The all have tiny brains. What are people jealous of? The capture or the amount of time or opportunity people have in relation to you? Be happy for people. Be nice. Take these posts for what they are.
John Wilson wasn't everyone's cup of tea but you got to see him in action. He absolutely loved every minute of his fishing. You could watch one of his programs with the volume off (some did) and still come to the same conclusion. That's back to non verbal communication again. We're all like that aren't we? Otherwise we'd be playing golf or constructing model railways. Most anglers are happy, let them show off. You know if people are catching the same fish all the time or lying. Walk on by. Everyone knows. Never compare your captures to others. Just enjoy that precious time you have doing what you love. I'm not going to lie, I like taking pics and sharing them. Do I place any value on it other that a bit of harmless showing off? No, its not even really showing off. Catching fish is relatively easy, admit it. We're not splitting atoms or doing stem cell research. Whether you like it or not, modern tackle and social media have made catching big fish easier. Go, plough your own furrow. Just get back out there and have a great time.
Think of the person that knows you better than anyone else in the world. Your partner, your mum or dad or sibling. Have you ever sent a text message or posted something on social media and they've got completely the wrong idea? I have. How on earth are people that don't know you expected to 'get you' all the time? They can't, it isn't possible. Keep that in mind next time you have a negative experience. Also be aware that, yes, there are definately some real bona-fide dickheads out there, people you'll never get on with. Walk on by, block them but remember- most of us are just that slightly embarrassing middle-aged man with a stupid grin on our faces holding a fish.
Till next time...........
P.S New 'proper' blog soon.