As an avid fisherman I’m quite familiar with the “Fishermen’s Tale”, which of course can be told in the same manner as I’m going to lay out in any sport, hobby or recreation.
The story evolves over time, and generally flows in the following manner:
1.) A person we’ll call Joe catches a fish and comes home to tell about it.
A.) In his retelling of this magnificent event that just transpired, he is theatrical; he’s playing the motion of the rod and reel in his hands as if it’s happening in real time. His eyes are wide open, he’s exited, he’s yelling, screaming, he’s quite frantic. You’re being pulled through every last detail of the struggle until finally this monster is pulled into the boat (it’s almost as if you’re there with him and you’re hanging on his every last word).
B.) He then proceeds to tell you the size of the fish, which in this case was 5 pounds and 22 inches long (or you may also get the hands apart gesture, "it was this big").
Now this is a rather nice Walleye, of course nothing to write home about, and not a catch of life time, but a good story to cap off a trip.
2.) Without beating around the bush; months transpire and Joe finds himself in an appropriate discussion that reminds him of his earlier catch.
A.) Something is different this time however. The excitement and theatrics that held the first telling are now gone. Somehow the thrill of the moment is now lost, it seems so long ago; and now a funy thing has ahppened. Joe’s fish…. Got bigger.
B.) What did he say it was, 5 pounds and 22 inches, and how far apart were his hands again? Hm, suddenly this thing has grown a inch or so and gained a pound.
3.) As the years pass, so does the size of the fish grow…..
So what’s happening here, is he purposely trying to lie about the fish’s size, is this simply some cheap white lie? Does he really want you to believe this crap?
The funny thing is about tales such as these(or one thing to keep in mind about them), is that the further away from an event you get the less emotionally attached you are to it. Furthermore, the harder it is to remember all those mundane details, and the less excitement remains regarding the event. As a result of this, the fish gets bigger. This subconscious phenomenon compensates for the fact that Joe is unable to convey to you the “feeling of the moment”, and by increasing the size the listener is left to imagine himself in this position, surely understanding this now 8 pound 26 inch fish is quite catch indeed.
So this begs the question, what in reality is actually important? When we tell a story and convey ideas, is truth all that essential? I say no. What is important when we tell stories like these is the way the event made us feel, this is what we’re trying to convey to the interested party. Size and reality in general are completely meaningless. When horror author Stephen King for example, spins a tale of suspense and horror, the fact that the objects in his story are completely unfathomable are beside the point. He wants you to feel fear, that’s the point.
Is Joe a liar? No. He is conveying to you the reality of the situation as he now see’s it.
Jesus, I feel, is this same big fish………
More to come.