Not to be confused with catfish: the fish.
A couple of years ago some photographers from New York made a movie about themselves called Catfish. One of the photographers had had one of his photos published in a syndicated newspaper and an 8-year-old girl in Michigan saw his photo, painted it and sent it to him. The photographer and the little girl struck up a friendship over e-mail, real mail and Facebook. The photographer, named Nev (pronounced Neev), also became internet friends with the little girl’s parents and 19-year-old sister. This sister, Megan, just happened to be Nev’s dream girl. She was a dancer, singer, musician, veterinarian, and total hottie (who isn’t?). Her Facebook pictures looked like a modeling portfolio.
“I took this picture after I delivered a baby calf at midnight during a tornado.”
Megan and Nev talked on the phone all the time, texted, Facebooked, etc., until eventually Nev decided to meet this dream girl in person. Well guess what. She didn’t exist. Turns out there WAS an 8-year-old girl, but she didn’t paint – her 40-something-year-old mother did.
“You were expecting something different?”
The mother had created an entire cast of characters on Facebook stealing pictures she found on other people’s pages. Poor Nev was disappointed, but still excited to be friends with this crazy woman – Angela – because obviously they had a lot in common and needed each other. Riiiiiiight. That’s what I look for in friends. People who deliberately deceive me for extended periods of time. This documentary describes itself as a cautionary tale for our digital age, but also a sort of “see-past-the-surface” type of lesson. See, Nev was still able to keep a friend out of the entire debacle since he and Angela had become so close. What did it matter that she was twice as old as she claimed, married, and a totally different person altogether? Apparently it doesn’t matter at all. Friendship. Based on lies, but still, friendship. Obviously there’s been tons of speculation as to whether this film was actually a documentary at all. There are many arguments on both sides, and I’ve already spent many precious hours away from Pinterest reading all about it, but that’s not what’s important to us today. The important thing is: Nev sold out to MTV and made us a reality show! He’s going to help other people track down their cyber lovers! You see, Nev’s been through it. He’s also a photographer and has friends with cameras, so the show has practically created itself. I have a feeling that we’re going to learn a lot about being friends with everyone. Even when they trick us on the interwebs. Those are the people who need us the most, after all.
Oh, one last thing. The name “Catfish,” came from a brilliant story that Angela’s oblivious husband told to Nev’s brother while Angela was upstairs with her new bff Nev talking to him in her sexy “Megan” voice and drawing a picture of him. Clueless husband told how when cod are shipped from Asia to America they arrive all mushy due to inactivity. So catfish are placed in the tanks with the cod because the catfish nip at the cod and chase them around, keeping them on their toes and helping them to arrive in a healthy, desirable state. Awesome insight and perfect film metaphor from a guy who had less than zero clue what his wife had been up to for the past several months, wouldn’t you say?