Crossfire has always been a favorite show of mine, largely because grown men get paid big money to argue with each other, and without interruption from kids, pets, or distractions from such inconsequential things as grease fires and overflowing toilets.
I’ve often wondered what would happen if Crossfire were modified to reflect the concerns and interests of rural life, instead of its ordinary fare of national politics and cultural issues. Here’s an absurd but altogether ludicrous illustration of what I had in mind.
JONES: From the Left, I’m Scooter Jones, and tonight I’m joined by Red Clark from the Right, sitting in for our friend Lefty Anderson, who’s off judging the Lower Alabama Prize Heifer and Abandoned Washing Machine Toss Competition. Our topic for discussion is “Worms vs. Crickets: What’s the best general purpose fish bait.” Stay tuned.
[Fade to advertisement for Catfish Paste, a noxious compound resembling spackle but which is particularly attractive to bottom-feeding scavenger fish.]
JONES: Joining us in the studio is Cooter Smith, self-described fish expert and tractor mechanic. Welcome, Cooter.
SMITH: Much obliged. Can I set this ratchet wrench somewheres?
CLARK: Cooter, you’ve written a book entitled You and Your Worm: How to Hold Your Mouth Right While Spittin’ Chew. In it, you take the position that there is nothing to compare with worms for fish bait. Are you serious?
SMITH: Darn tootin’. Wigglers, earthworms, nigh crawlers…worms is where it’s at.
JONES: You’re pullin’ our collective leg, Cooter. You also write, and I quote, that “the amount of worm gunk you collect under your fingernails bears a direct relationship to the quantity, girth, and flavor of the fish you catch.” You don’t have any scientific basis for that, do you?
SMITH: Scooter, you’ve been amongst the slickers too long. You Washington boys can’t help but lost your connection with nature when the only thing you’d catch in the Potomac is a skeleton that fell out of the Clintons’ closet.
JONES: Well, if your worm gunk theory is true, why aren’t Catawba worms good fish bait?
SMITH: Catawba worms, for one, are mighty scarce these days, probably even on the Endangered Bait List. Second, you almost always have to break a Catawba worm to get him to fit on the hook, and Catawba worms exude a green worm gunk, which is demonstrably inferior to the brown gunk of all other worm species. Besides, all those little suction cup feet make ’em hard to handle.
CLARK: Crickets are considerably cleaner and more efficient than worms. Why don’t you like them?
SMITH: I’ll admit that, for fish, crickets are much more bite-sized than worms. But you have to hook ’em just right, or they come slap off the hook. Here, lemme show ya’…you have to put the hook right here in the cricket posterior, thrust it up through that mushy interior, and anchor it in that cricket noggin. Any slight misstep in the hookin’ process, and you’re fishin’ with a bare hook. You can wrap a worm on there any ol’ way.
Besides, if the cricket isn’t all wet when he hits the water, he’ll float on top and make all sorts of cricket commotion.Then you have to sink ’em with a rock or sump’m, and by then all the fish are plum scared off. Worms sink like little ol’ rocks.
JONES: Is it necessary to use live bait? Doesn’t that cause worms, crickets, even minnows, some sort of ante mortem pain and suff’rin’?
SMITH: I don’t know nothin’ ’bout no Aunt Morten, but fish don’t cotton to no cold cuts, if you know what I mean.
CLARK: Cooter, we know exactly what you mean, but the sentiments of fish bait has always been the Left’s favorite red herring, pardon the pun.
SMITH: Red, looks like a cricket crawled in your ear. You might want to get that out before you sit down to dinner tonight…
JONES: And we’re out of time. For Red and Cooter, I’m Scooter sayin’ goodnight for Crossfire. Whether you bait your hook with worms or crickets, always spit outside the boat.
Y’all come back tomorrow.