Last weekend, I was doing chores around the house, when I heard laughter coming from the tv. I stopped to listen, and whatever was going on sounded like a whole lot of fun, so I walked over to see what the kids were watching. I've already got a smile on my face, as I wander over, curious.
So the image on tv is this: a group of people standing in muddy water, watching one guy who appears to be crouching low to feel something under the water's surface. He's got a huge smile on his face, and periodically, he screams, then cackles, and says ouwwww, ouwwww, ouwwww. He doesn't really look like he's enjoying it, the laughter is more nervous than anything else. But the rest of the folks....they are laughing like it's the funniest thing they've ever seen.
Here's a link to what I'm talking about
It's called Hillbilly Handfishin'. If you've never seen this show, and are easily amused, this show deserves at least one viewing. The premise is pretty straightforward: vacationers pay these two guys, Skipper and Jackson to take them noodling in what looks to be the muddiest lakes, rivers, and streams Oklahoma has to offer. What is noodling? Not sure why it's called that, but it involves sticking your arms or legs into the cracks and crevices caused by rocks and trees and whatever else that might make a nice home for catfish. The goal is to tick off the catfish enough so that they bite you, get strung up, and pulled out of the water. That's noodling folks.
These fish can be huge. 12-15 pounds seems to be pretty common, but I saw one guy pull out a 42 pounder. Tell me again, why would anyone want to stick their foot into the home of a forty-two pound catfish? Oh right, for the fun of it. To add to the thrill, there are snapping turtles, snakes, and alligators to keep an eye out for. But no one seems to ever get hurt, except for some broken skin from the repeated biting.
Being the fraidy-cat that I am, I'd never go for this type of vacation, but that doesn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying watching others do it. The one episode with all the cackling has to be the best of them all. These guys had me laughing for days. I was laughing so much, just from watching them (and the other noodlers) laugh, it made me feel like those babies that laugh when they see other people laugh and cry when they see other people cry. I guess I pretty much have the emotional maturity of a child. Sounds about right.
As a bonus enticement, Skipper is perhaps the hairiest man I've ever seen. Most episodes, the female noodlers end up wrapped around him in their efforts to get a fish to bite. Which usually makes me stop to ponder which is more uncomfortable: sticking your foot in catfish mouth or bear hugging that wet rug?
Animal Planet's Hillbilly Handfishin' is on Sunday nights.