I also scared myself a lot as a kid with a book called Take Care of Yourself (pre-WebMD relic!) that had really simple step-by-step instructions for dealing with minor to major ailments. I read over and over again the entries about fishing hooks lodging themselves into your body and the standard treatments for different types of fish hook-related injuries (flesh – push it through! clip off the barb! nbd!; eyeball – SEE A DOCTOR). I’m very uninterested in the sorts of injuries that require another injury in order to relieve them: jarred bones that need to be rebroken or set back into place, bites from poisonous animals that must be bled or suctioned in order to prevent toxins from spreading, Goddamn fish hooks in my skin and eyeballs.
I also don’t like bait.
Still, I have been fishing a lot, usually when a boy I like invites me, and I’ve actually dedicated a great deal of my life to pretend fishing. I present to you, A History of Fake Fishing.
My family lived on an Air Force base in Nevada for a while, which is a desert FYI, so there is not much fishing. Someone had a great idea to put a bunch of fish in the pool, though, and we all got t-shirts for it. I wish I still had that shirt. My brother had his for about half of a century. (It says "MONSTERS IN OUR POOL" btw)
This game actually sucks, so if a baby asks you to play say no, but I liked it because I liked the mechanical sound of the inner workings and the clomping sound the fish made as they opened and shut their mouths, plus I loved the tiny, doll-sized fishing rods. My Barbies got a lot of use out of those.
A lot of my peers (old ass millenials) are really nostalgic about the classic PC game The Oregon Trail, which I did play and die a lot in, but my heart really belongs to its later follow-up The Amazon Trail because obviously The Amazon Goddamn Rainforest > Oregon. You could spear fish and catch fish to eat or sell or whatever, but mostly you would catch dumb logs and electric eels and skates which would electrocute and kill you! Way cooler than dysentery.
In addition to doing boring outdoors things for boys (like fishing) hoping that they will like me more for it, I also played World of Warcraft as a teen. I actually sort of liked it, but the thing that turns me off to video games is that you often actually have to try. Games are designed to challenge you in order to earn rewards, and that challenge is why people like them. That shit does not work on me, though. I don’t care enough about fake rewards to try. Instead of questing and grinding, I’d always get into my level 20’s and then just goof off. This included a lot of disrobing in public places, trolling Barrens General, and fishing.
I was introduced to Mario Party a few years ago, which is easily one of the funnest things on the planet, and it instantly became one of my favorite kinds of parties. I used to play Mario Party BY MYSELF. Party of ONE. My favorite mini-games were the ones that didn't require skill, because I'm lucky and lazy. JUST DUMP COINS ON ME DONKEY KONG. The best mini-games involved fishing.
My current favorite time-suck is Animal Crossing. Again, this is a game that requires no skill and no challenge. You can do whatever you want because there are no points and there are no consequences. I think my love for this game says a lot about me as a person, but also there is something genuinely peaceful about Animal Crossing, and I'm not the only one who's noticed. There is a lot you can do and collect in Animal Crossing (bugs, bones, mixtapes), but I prefer fish.