Many a day has come and gone
Since I wandered from my home
In those Oklahoma hills
Where I was born
Growing up in small-town Oklahoma provided an education far beyond academics that most of my big-city friends never experienced. It was a far cry from the streets where my children currently roam. In the summer, I’d leave home in the morning with my two older brothers and we’d make ourselves scarce until we were eventually driven home by hunger.
Much of our time was wiled away with a fishing pole and the worms we’d dig up in the backyard. If worms were too hard to find, we’d use grasshoppers. If the fish weren’t biting, we’d help ourselves to a dip in the pond. More often than not, we’d share our swim with the likes of turtles and water snakes, but it made no difference to us whipper-snappers.
Although I’ve swum in my share of murky ponds and threaded my share of hooks with giant night crawlers, the one type of fishing that never caught my fancy is the one fondly referred to by Okies as…Noodling. If you’ve never heard of Noodling, it’s described in Wikipedia as “the practice and sport of fishing for catfish using only one's bare hands.” Thank goodness the Noodling gene skipped a couple of generations (must have been the prayers of my mother). My great-uncle Clarence, former game warden and avid Noodler, once held the state record for wrestling in one of the largest catfish in the state. We used to marvel at the scars on his forearms and the fact that he only had nine-and-one-half fingers. I don’t recall that he ever told us it was snapped off by a catfish, but I think we just assumed it to be so.
If you’ve never had the privilege of watching a pack of Noodlers combing the snake-infested creeks and rivers of Oklahoma, well, I guess you haven’t lived. It just so happens that Pauls Valley, my home-away-from-home, still hosts the Annual Okie Noodling Tournament every July, followed by a fish fry at Bob’s Pig Shop. Unfortunately, the tournament was hosted on July 8th, so you’ll have to wait until next year if you’ve got the itch to Noodle for prize-money and a free fish fry.
Till then, I’ll just tide you over by telling you why I think Noodlers would make great recruiters:
Noodlers are fearless (they would make great cold-callers, Maureen!).
Noodlers are not afraid to get their hands dirty (or their fingers bitten off).
Noodlers are persistent (the understatement of the century).
Noodlers are not swayed by the opinions of others (obviously).
Noodlers have a knack for finding other great noodlers.
Noodlers know how to celebrate their victories (and it has something to do with good food and good beverage).
Noodlers are networking gurus, using their extensive contact list to find the best fishing holes.
Noodlers make their own fun.
And finally, you just have to love the Noodler’s Creed: No Hooks, No Bait, No Fear.
While we recruiters regularly succumb to hooks and bait (and rightly so), you’ve got to hand it to the guy who throws himself with reckless abandon in to his passion.
So here’s to my new Recruiting Creed, fashioned after the likes of my great-uncle Clarence:
No Hooks (at least not the sharp kind), No Bait (except the truth), No Fear (ever).
If you made it all the way to the end of this post and you still have no clue what Noodling is, then I’ve got a treat for you. Click this link to see some real-live Noodling action.
Long live Noodling Recruiting,