I like to think that I’m mature enough to make decisions for myself. Maybe it is prideful, but between my age, my education, and my intelligence, my actions shouldn’t be so easily swayed.
Then I get a text message with a picture of a fish.
My day takes a little bit of a right turn. Sometimes, it is a pull-the-emergency brake, 180-degree spin towards the closest body of water.
Someone with a different worldview might say that it is my selfish primate brain realizing that someone else is catching food and therefore is depriving me and those who carry my genetics from sustenance. I say that is nonsense. It is silly in principle, but also because I know what truly lies behind my compulsion.
In my head there is a little biological “X many days since a fish has been caught” sign. Whenever I land a trout, my happy little serotonin run up, wipe off the embarrassingly large number, and scrawl a big “0.” Out of joy, synapses fire their little electrical impulses to the point where it might be dangerous to be wet wading. The dopamine is all in on the party, but then they see a rise upstream and get all antsy.
So really, those little pleasure/incentive neurotransmitters are to blame for the obsessive nature of the habit. They are to blame for the greedy “oh, just one more cast” after catching a nice smallmouth… or being distracted by that aforementioned upstream rise… or justifying another ten minutes, you know, since it is so nice out.