Weekly Roundup: Catfish Bottom Edition

I was talking to a friend recently about addictive behaviors and he introduced me to the phrase “catfish bottom”. It’s well-known within the twelve-step programs that an addict needs to hit “rock bottom” before he can truly have the desire to change. (Not everyone agrees with that; here’s an alternate perspective.) What my friend told me about was “catfish bottom”, where you get about as low as you can go but you’re still functioning, albeit imperfectly. A lot of people can spend years at catfish bottom.

Those of you who knew me circa 2011-2012 would have seen the “catfish bottom” me, particularly with respect to both drinking and relationships. I never missed a deadline or lost a job because of it but I was certainly exhibiting some remarkably addictive behaviors. I can distinctly remember a night when I was in my 911, trying to make it from one “hotel date” to another one, doing maybe 110 on a mostly but not entirely empty freeway, and screaming at the windshield because I’d underestimated my travel time and I was about to be caught out in a lie by Date Number Two. Right as I was executing some 6,900-rpm outrageous six-lane swerve pass on a bunch of tractor-trailers, I had this moment of clarity: “I’m not even having any fun doing this. It’s like a job. It’s like working fast food, except I can’t be sullen when I’m serving the customer.”

Luckily for me, my date was running even later than I was… well, either I was lucky or she was being just as bad. I think she blamed it on her husband at the time, which is the Cheating Wife’s Adamantium Excuse and usually just means she had an extra drink before leaving the house. But that’s a discussion for another time.

Anyway 2018 feels like “catfish bottom” for racing addiction here at Casa Baruth. Between endurance racing, SCCA, NASA, PWC, and vintage, I’m on the hook for 24 days under green. Add Time Trials and noncompetitive stuff; that’s maybe another 14 days on track. A whole month in pit lane. As with alcohol, heroin, or sex, the obsessive pursuit of auto racing can force you into some bizarre behaviors and some even more bizarre justifications. The difference is that if you’re doing it right you wind up surrounding yourself with good people and making memories that fill you with satisfaction instead of unsteadiness. But I’d be surprised if we did this much next year.

After the jump I’ll have some photos of those good people, taken at the recent AER event, plus a link to what Bark and I wrote this week.

For TTAC, I considered a bargain LexES. Bark offered some prognostications about the future of Our Ford.

At R&T, I offered a modest proposal for vehicle naming and had a great time driving the BMW M4 GT4 and M4 Competition Pack.

Thanks, everyone!

15 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Catfish Bottom Edition”

  1. Wunsch

    BMW’s nonsense numbering scheme actually seems to be in direct response to the issue you identify from the sales perspective: making sure that the returning customer can ask for the same thing and get the product that’s intended to replace their current car.

    So a 328i might not be a 2.8L I6 anymore, but it *is* a car with similar power that fills the same role in the lineup. And when the power increases a bit, they change the name to 330i so the returning customer understands that he’s moving up a little bit with his new car.

    Whether you agree that the new car is really a good replacement for the old is a more subjective thing. But it’s definitely the car that BMW intends the returning customer to have.

  2. Arbuckle

    “Those of you who knew me circa 2011-2012 would have seen the “catfish bottom” me, particularly with respect to both drinking and relationships. ”

    The bottom is no good, but it can be a fun ride down.

  3. John C.

    Gosh, 2 hotel dates with a 911 at 6900 rpm to get between them. Your cat fish bottom sounds more fun that many of our tops.

    In the buy America vein, or was it Canada?, how would a 2004 CTS be compared to the Lexus in the value/remaining life proposition you posed? Seems it would have to be pretty similar if the USA is to be made great again.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      A 2004 CTS at this point is a worthless piece of junk. Sad to say it because I had high hopes for that car.

      • CJinSD

        A friend of mine has a first generation CTS-V. Water leaked around the huge CHMSL hole that GM cut in the trunk lid and turned his trunk into a swimming pool. The gasket is part of the brake light assembly, so the car would be totaled if he wanted to repair it while maintaining originality. Oh well. It could be worse. His Boxster S did total itself with a 50K mile engine failure. None of the used engines around are worthy of the expense of installation. Fresh ones are several times the value of the best first generation Boxster S. He wants to move the LS6 from the Cadillac into the Boxster, but the result would be a project instead of a car.

  4. S2k Chris

    “The desire to go racing can make heroin addiction look like a vague longing for something salty.” – P. Egan

  5. Eric H

    Before you dial it back too much, we still need to get you into the Racing Fox wagon.
    Our last year has been pretty crappy. The last three races have each taken the engine out after years of zero engine mechanical issues. It has pissed us off so much that we’re actually towing the car five hours each way next weekend to a trackday to shake out any bugs before the last race of the season.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Ironically it’s easier for me to come race with you guys when I’m not handling entries and driver lineups for four different sanctions 🙂

  6. Will

    I think the craziest part of your low point was that you didn’t get pulled over by Ohio police going that fast. Every time I’m in that state, the police are everywhere.

  7. sabotenfighter

    I cant be the only one here who thought “Catfish Bottom” was going to be something about a fake gay man luring suckers online.

  8. tyates

    It’s not rock bottom until Chris Hansen walks out of the next room and says “why don’t you take a seat over there?”


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