There are Other Fish in the Sea:or the lake

I have a confession. It is a hard thing to admit because though I have done nothing wrong, it still feels like a sin.

I don’t really like to fish.fishinggear

I get bored.

I think I have always known, yet it has taken me nearly my whole life to admit. I want to like fishing. Perhaps I keep giving it a chance in hopes that I have simply been doing it wrong this whole time. Maybe I have just never hooked the big one and if I do, I will be hooked too.boatlake

In the fictional story of my youth, the one I have always told myself, I loved going fishing with my Dad. We used to go semi-regularly and I always wanted to go. In retrospect, as I look close enough to sweep the fairy dust away, I realize I never really went fishing all those times.  I went exploring.elibored

Dad would fish in rivers and streams. I would cast my line a couple times, snag the spinner on a rock or branch, then look around and find the highest visible outcropping of rock and shout, “Hey Dad, can I go up there?” He would say yes and I would scramble off.

I have since realized that this is not fishing.perchsage

It took trying to teach my kids to fish to learn this lesson. When you are teaching someone else, you can’t scamper off. You are trapped. And then you just sit there staring at a bobber trying to guess if that was a wave or a bite and so you reel it in to find the fluorescent cheese is gone from your hook so you bait it again and cast out the line. Again. For hours.catchThis admission hurts my own feelings. I shouldn’t feel ashamed but I am. It feels like I have rejected my father and my youth and how I was raised. I would say it is almost a rejection of my religion, but we already have an actual religion so saying that would feel sacrilegious.


But then again… Mom never went fishing with us and Dad still likes her. She always stayed home and read books. I should probably get her a Kindle for Christmas.

Being a Kid

When you are little the world is controlled by giants. Everything is taking directions from someone else whose kneecaps look you in the eye.IMG_8005

When and what to eat. Or not to eat. What to wear. Where to live and to whose family you belong. Everything is decided and dictated by someone else and you have no say in who that is. They decide if you are rich or poor, hungry or overfed, blonde or brown haired. Everything is up to them. They control everything and when you are young, your only hope is to eventually get taller. Getting taller takes time, it takes years, and years are the longest things there are.IMG_3683

When you are little the world is measured out from task to task. School comes right after breakfast which comes after you get dressed right after you wake up. Then you color, then a snack, and then a nap. You play. At the end you clean up and then you wait, and if the worst happens, you wait ten minutes because they forgot about you and you almost died because you knew they weren’t coming. But those horrible minutes are erased by cartoons which lead into dinner. After dinner they like to torture you. Sometimes baths but always bed. Bed, where you lie there in the dark being quiet forever until it all ends. Why do they make us do that? It is boring, it is scary, and most of all it is long.IMG_2059This is a day, and to grow up they want us to wait a year? How many bath-times is that? We all want to grow up faster but they won’t let us. They say it isn’t them, it is just how it is, but however it is, it is still out of our control. Just like everything.IMG_2915

They tell us to enjoy it and be happy. They tell us not to cry. They say they wish they could go back and be where we are, then turn around and give themselves another scoop of ice cream and stay up late watching television. We never got extra ice cream and always had to go to bed. They say they want what we have but they never do it. They stay up all night.

The Day the Music Fell From Heaven

I was in 8th grade. Old enough to have my own opinions but not quite experienced enough for them to be worth much. I was walking down the street, in the gutter. My dad used to hate when packs of teenagers would do this, leaving the sidewalks empty and daring cars to run them over. But I wasn’t a pack, it was just me, and I wasn’t all the way out in the street, just the gutter.sledding

I was on my way home from school, or maybe Kirk’s house, I’m not really sure. I am sure that I was kicking rocks. Little landscaping pebbles that had escaped from a flower bed or a driveway. Off to the side in the gutter I didn’t have to look up to see who was in the minivans as they drove by or which blonde little kids were laughing as they played on swingsets in their back yards. I kicked rocks because they were there and because the rubber soles were coming off my Converse. I was trying to wear them out quicker in hopes for a new pair.icecream

As my shoes made that scuffing sound on the pavement and the little kids laughed on the swings my mind drifted off to wherever it is the minds of bored suburban kids go when they walk. I wandered on in this mindless state for at least another ten years, but on this day I was startled out of my trance by the shallow clacking sound of hard plastic.

I looked down and saw an unmarked cassette tape. It was dirty, scratched up, but the tape was intact. I picked it up and slipped it in the pocket of my Bugle Boys.

Once home I went down to my room, closed the door, and went right for the tape deck. I hit eject and tossed the Thompson Twins off onto a stack of the Cure, Depeche Mode, and Unforgettable Fire.chess

When I closed the deck and pushed down the play button a ray of light burst through my shuttered windows.

Then I saw the angel with the seven seals
Babylon your throne gone down gone down
Babylon your throne gone down

A conduit straight to heaven opened up before me and I was carried away to some celestial world.

I said fly away home to Zion
One bright morning when my work is over
I will fly away home

It was as if the sounds of angels came bursting from the speakers and I was changed.
I was also confused.

I’m sure death and the passage into the next world would be confusing, or should I say will be? One day you are the same you have always been and then bang, hit by a truck, and now everything is different. That is what happened to me when I put that unmarked tape into the deck.
I had no idea what it was. I had never heard anything like it. I did not understand it.

I loved it.

You teach the youth to learn in school
That the dish ran way with the spoon
You teach the youth to learn in school
That the cow jump over moon
So you can’t blame the youth, when they don’t learn
You can’t fool the youth

There was a back beat. It made me smile. It was raw and unpolished. I had no idea what they were singing about but I felt like it mattered. I was convinced they meant whatever it was they were saying and hat I needed to be on board.

It wasn’t just the music. Between every song there was this guy talking. It sounded vaguely like English but I couldn’t make it out. Completely incomprehensible. But I was young and this was love. Love has never needed to make sense. This idea made perfect sense to me. I was in the height of puberty, everything felt big and important and I didn’t understand any of it.

Why should this music be any different?

Then came one song; instantly my favorite.

I went downtown
There I saw miss Brown
She had brown sugar
All over her booga wooga
Kinky reggae
Kinky reggae now

I rewound it over and over. Kinky reggae. I had never touched, never kissed, never seen a naked girl, and my new favorite song was kinky reggae. I knew in some vague way what that word meant, I have no idea how, and I didn’t care. I had my theme song. This one was mine.
It was years before I figured out who the artist was. I played it for my friends and they all just laughed. They couldn’t handle more than one joke and told me to turn that trash off. “That junk is non-sense, put R.E.M. back on.” Because of that one word, kinky, I didn’t play it for my parents. It wouldn’t have helped. I knew it wasn’t Chubby Checker so I knew Dad wouldn’t know who it was.

Every time I hear the crack of a whip
My blood runs cold
I remember on the slave ship
How they brutalized my very soul

Slave driver
The table is turned
Catch a fire
Yer gonna get burned

Decades have passed and I have never smoked a joint. I do not like the Grateful Dead and find tie dye repulsive. I have never owned a pair of Birkenstocks. But to this day Bob is by far my favorite. Writing that just now doesn’t really do it justice.

Every man thinks that his burden is the heaviest
Every man thinks his burden is the heaviest
Who feels it knows it Lord
That’s why yer runnin’ away
But you can’t run away from yourself

I am still in love.02rastaresize

2002 Olympics: Why the Word Brohammas.

Once upon a time, when I was in college, there was a ski resort with a $10 half day pass. It only took 20 minutes to get from my door to the lift. This combination of affordability and accessibility were the perfect combination for poor academic performance. It did however lead to great back-country board performance. Sadly there is no listing for back country on my transcript.

Several years later, still an undergrad, the roommate of a friend says, “dude!” because that was how we talked, “I need some help at work, do you want a job?”

That was how my friend and I became the managers of the official ticketing center for the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics.
olyparadeThis job consisted of my friend and I managing the staff of a box office, saying “no” to angry scalpers or tourists who bought fake tickets, and sitting in the back room with a schedule of events and this magic box that printed out legit tickets to any and all of the Olympic events.

Our conversations went a lot like this: “Dude, one of us has to be here during business hours so lets each list what events we want to see and plan this out. Okay, so hockey is on Thursday, dude, why would anyone want to watch curling, wait… Dude I told you before no refunds! I know they said they flew here all the way from Denmark just to see curling but if they bought their tickets on Ebay there is no way we can guarantee them… Where were we?”

Speaking of Ebay, we all reported to a large warehouse to get our official uniforms. They were color coded by role, one color for volunteers, another for officials, another for employees. My list said our color was mountain blue. When I received my mountain blue coat I said, “Dude, this is purple! I ain’t wearing a purple ski jacket.” Some guy in Atlanta had no qualms with a purple ski coat and paid me $500 cash via Ebay.

We each thought the other a sucker. I used my cash to buy a Dale of Norway commemorative sweater. Dale thinks I’m a sucker.

I scored two tickets to the opening ceremony. Fifty yard line, about half way up, sweet. I rushed triumphantly home to my beautiful bride, because I had a wife already but still no degree, and presented to her my glorious prize. “Uh… there is no way I’m going to that.” was her simple reply. The words did not register. I repeated again, slower this time, what exactly I had just presented.

Same reply.


“It is winter. It is outside. I-HATE- Cold!”

I called her co workers and anyone else she wasn’t married to and they convinced her that wearing three of my boarding outfits at once may just fend off the elements enough for her to enjoy a once in a lifetime event. She listened to people, most anyone, who was not me.

She is wise.

Having conquered cold the two of us commenced to conquering the nightly medal ceremonies followed by live music. We watched Dave Mathews, Nelly Furtado gave me a rose, and being unable to convince the Mrs. to leave the N’Sync concert early; I walked home five miles, uphill, at night, in February, alone. She drove home once Justin Timberlake had satisfied the roaring crowd of 12 year old girls.

I went down to the basement the other day and pulled the old board out of its bag. The edges are rusted out and the foam around my goggles has turned to dust. These days we rarely brave the cold for a concert and I say dude far less than I once did.

Little is left of those years other than some photos, a line on my resume’, and till the other day, my gloves. I just got a text from Boston saying they had found my glove under the seat of the car. Glove. Singular. Now it seams the only thing left of those powder filled years, is the name of this blog.

the Betrayal of Youth


We spent most of the night filling up water balloons. Image

Trent was the quarterback of the sophomore football team, lived about a block away, and was having a backyard party. Normally we would spend Friday night looking for girls-

but they were all at Trent’s party.

He was a year older than us, and no matter how cool you are, you can’t compete with that.Image

As we left my house and rounded the corner a Jeep came screeching to a halt, spilling out its human contents. “Where do you guys think you’re going?” the voice asked from behind the headlights.

It was the Seville brothers;



We could not hide our intentions, our cargo was conspicuous. What I saw next was so inspiring that all these years later I can still picture it, in slow motion of course. One of the Sevilles took a balloon from Johnny’s hand, hopped back up into the back of the Jeep, and proceeded to send said balloon 100 yards down the street from a launcher mounted on the roll bar. I’m sure the brass at the pentagon felt the same way on the stealth’s maiden flight, a mix of awe and giddiness.

We resumed our advance with new confidence. Our numbers were increased and our allies were obviously superior.

The sound of late summer fun could be heard on the other side of the fence as we all took up position. The signal was given and latex grenades took flight up over the roof, over the fence, and out of the best assault vehicle a suburban kid had ever seen. The advantage of balloons over artillery is that there is no loud boom, nor in-flight whistle to warn the targeted of impending doom; just sweet silence.

We could actually hear the first splash, followed by high pitched screams, and low voiced curses.


The plan was to run back to my house; fast.

It started out well but as we turned to bolt, the Sevilles turned on us. They were behind us, still had extra balloons, and shouted, “there they are,” pointing at us. We were trapped. Sophomores from the party in front of us, seniors behind us, time for plan B, the suburban scatter.

It is standard that when being pursued in a residential neighborhood you hop a fence and make your escape through back yards, trusting that you will regroup later. Every man for himself.

Proverbial wisdom says that when being chased by a bear you don’t have to be fast, you just have to be faster than the next guy.

I have never been fast nor have I ever been faster than the next guy.

Brian got to the wall right before the pack of angry football players caught up to us. He didn’t have time to hop over, but he did have time to dive into the bushes, I only had time to put my hands up in surrender.

There they were, a sophomore and senior coalition, holding me hostage with ammunition I had filled myself. They had me, but they wanted more. “Where’s the rest of ‘em?” they demanded, arms cocked, ready to throw.

I may not have been fleet of foot but that night I was quick. They did not know where Brian was, I did. They did not know Brian used to beat me up in elementary school, I did. Brian didn’t know what I was going to do, I did.

From his hiding place in the bushes Brian could not see me. I plead loudly, “I don’t know where they are, I swear!” all the while pointing to the shrubbery.

I was one of the proud few to finish that night with dry clothes. It was strange how all those upperclassmen had seemingly given up the chase and simply discarded their balloons in the bushes. How odd.

The party goers were drenched, my comrades were wet; covered in twigs, and I think the girls all went home in the Jeep. We walked slowly, and sloppily, down the street.

“Ball tomorrow?” Kirk asked. I nodded yes and went home.Image

I Grew Up In a Tipi… No Really, I Did. Part 1

I used to dread that day every year.  We would all be sitting in a classroom, excited to see our friends after a summer’s break and the teacher would ask, “So, what did you do over summer vacation?”

Other kids who knew, would snicker as it came close to my turn.  I had the same answer every year, my answer always caused the most fuss, “this summer I wore buckskins and lived in a tipi.”

Me and my big brother... and home.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of it while it was happening, just not any of the time spent explaining it to the suburban kids at school.  It was different.  Different isn’t cool to suburban fifth graders.  Turns out it isn’t cool to many grown ups either, as I learned in the office the other day.

My family were members of H.U.M.M. the High Uinta Mountain Men.  Every summer since before I was born, my school teacher parents would load up the van with supplies, as well as us kids, and head from rendezvous to rendezvous.  If you have never heard of, or been to one of these events, nothing could fully describe it.

Chores included gathering fire wood... I usually avoided chores.

They would range from what seemed little more than a tourists fair in Fort Bridger, Wyoming, to the strictly primitive “Nationals” at various locations including Glacier National Park in Montana.  Hundreds, or even thousands, of people would set up camp; tipis, lean-tos, and wall tents, dress in buckskins or pioneer garb, and trade, barter, and compete in all sorts of contests of mountain man skills.  That would be the official description.  At a glance it would look more like a bunch of bearded guys and girls drinking moonshine out of tin cups, carrying Bowie knives, and shooting black powder rifles.  Both descriptions together give a pretty good idea of what went on.

Learning to start a fire with flint and steel. Because one should know how to do such things.

My dad, an art teacher in winter, would trade hand crafted powder horns and engraved knife handles.

Some kids made their business debut with a lemonade stand, I made mine trying to barter a woven sash for a cigarette lighter crafted from an antler.  I found it on Traders Row, a dusty road through camp, with booths and blankets set up along side. It was an imaginative child’s treasure trove.  You could find any type of animal fur, beads and broaches, knives in any size, tools, tomahawks, and any variety of clothing most appropriately worn in 1823.

At each new camp my brother and I would seek out old friends, scout new treasures, and find the lay of the land.  The important things to find were: anyone selling candy, anyone selling knives, and where the shooting range was set up.

Once we knew which direction the guns were pointing we would head up the opposite mountainside.


We always set our sights on the highest point and tried to reach it before dinner time.  We would hurdle sage brush, climb under scrub oak, and do our best to out altitude the quakies.  The start of the summer was always a little rough as we did our hiking wearing moccasins.  It would take a couple treks to toughen up our feet.