Sunday, June 1, 2008

Okie Noodling

The United States of America is a vast land filled with a myriad of proud traditions and cultural mores. And then there is Noodling. This is a "sport" that involves catching enormous catfish by diving under river banks and trying to get them to bite onto your hand. It's only legal in four states, and Utah isn't one of them. That should tell you something. Luckily though, it is legal in Oklahoma, and is the subject of a fascinating documentary called "Okie Noodling" that Ryan and I Netflixed this weekend.

The people who go noodling are exactly the ones you would expect. There wasn't one lawyer or investment banker in the film talking about taking off his suit after a long week and diving into murky water to intentionally get bitten. These guys work in jobs that allow them to wear tank tops and have pants that fall below the crack line when they bend over. Oh, and there wasn't a single female noodler. In most backwoods documentaries there is at least one female, usually a little butch, ready to show her mettle in the hillbilly spectacle being highlighted. Not here. All of the women featured in "Okie Noodling" talk about how dangerous and stupid it is, and how catfish the size of a Vespa really isn't that tasty anyway.

There really wasn't a plot to the film. Basically it was a punch of guys pulling fish from underneath logs and banks without drowning. Oh, and drinking while doing it. And talking about the "grand tradition" of noodling. They really could have used some writers. Despite that fact Ryan and I found ourselves absolutely riveted. We even tried to make a drinking game out of it. Missing teeth? Drink. Mullet? Drink. Father/son noodling team? Two drinks. Father/son noodling team with the son under the age of 10? Finish your drink. We could really only play for about ten minutes though, we found ourselves getting too hammered.

Eventually Ryan and I will have watched enough of these documentaries to have our own "Backwoods Film Festival." We'll watch "Okie Noodling," and "Dancing Outlaw," with a few episodes of "My Big Redneck Wedding" thrown in for good measure. We'll drink nothing but PBR and eat nothing but foods with "cheez" in the title. And then we'll know we've arrived. Oh, glorious day.


Emily-Ione said...

I actually had to go look this us in Wikipedia and on You Tube.
I now officially have the creeps, and a banjo tune in my head.

Thank You.

Harley King said...

"If you're gonna noodle you can't be a sissy. You just have to git after it."

Amanda said...

Add "Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus" to the film festival - - and you have a festival that could rival Sundance! (Plus Sundance does not have vittles like Opossum and road kill)