I thought "catfishing" was a Friday night feast in Mississippi. Until the absolutely weird news story about Notre Dame's All-American football star, reportedly falling in love with a girl who wasn't there.
To be sure, Manti Te'o's moving story of the death of the woman he loved on the eve of a critical late-season game is raising tons of questions. He claims that she turned out to be only an Internet invention. And that's why "catfishing" is suddenly in the news.
It's defined as "building a fake online person and trapping others." And apparently, it's happening more and more.
Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Convincingly portraying a "person" that isn't really there at all. It's actually not all that new. Humans have been doing it for a long time.
We date and sell ourselves as someone we're not - which is why so many people are shocked to discover they unknowingly married a stranger. We write "creative" resumes to get a job...we put on a great "church me," concealing the truth that we're really "Sunday saint, Monday ain't."
Happy-go-lucky on the outside, bleeding on the inside. All friendly to their face, all backstabbing when they're not around. Claiming to love the person you married while your eyes and your passion are on roam. Acting like you've got it all together when inside you're coming apart.
Most of us are pretty good at giving folks the person they want us to be. Teenagers fool their parents...employees fool their boss...students con their teacher...husbands deceive their wife and wives their husband...guys and gals scam each other with lies to land a catch.
Yeah, there are a lot of people out there who don't really exist. Like the sets for Hollywood movies - impressive on the outside, but only a front. There's nothing on the inside.
And then there are the people with integrity - rare...therefore, really valuable. In math class, we learned that an "integer" is one whole number. Integrity means you are one whole person. There's only one you. You're the same person at home, at work, at the gym, at the store, in the classroom, in public, and all alone.
Real all the way through. A light in a sea of fake.