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Making the most of life’s experiences

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POSTED May 4, 2011 1:12 a.m.

I won’t waste your time with a top list of anecdotes since Monday was my birthday, or break into a ‘Best of’, because authentic existence has little to do with embellishment-laced highlights. A life is a non-stop series in reactions. So for those wondering what the life of an outdoor columnist is really like, here’s what has highlighted my journey to 30.

I broke my hand doing math homework in middle school. Well, I broke my hand punching the couch, but the math made me do it.

As a freshman, I tossed a form on the desk of my teacher and said, “Sign this.” That evening Dad drove me to his house to apologize for my rudeness.

I once hit guy in the clavicle with a fastball during Little League. I later got beaned in the head. I never dunked in a basketball game, but I never air-balled a free throw. I snagged a 14-pound chum salmon in the tail, and hooked my brother just below the eye. I can make a fire with damp wood and one dry match, better yet, I’ve never put myself in a position where I’ve had to.

I once dropped my sun glasses in a truck stop toilet. Yes, I washed my hands.

I’ve always thought XtraTuf neoprene boots can, and should be worn at graduations, weddings, bar mitzvah’s, prom etc.

I ran a marathon, but the best part was passing out under a table next to the medical station at the finish line. After a half hour my friends who were eating right next to me the whole time, tapped me awake and asked if I was ready to leave.

I went sky-diving, but only because the pastor at my church in Stockton found out I was afraid of heights and offered to pay for the jump if he could film it and use it at church.

I told a girl in college she was, “the reason love songs are made.” I promptly ran away. Later we went on two dates after which I stopped letting looks be my lone guide.

One of my best dates was in Washington, D.C., when I bet the girl I could spot more rats than she could as we toured the monuments at night. The loser had to buy the brownie sundae at a place near the George Washington University campus. I won, but paid anyway. It goes to show that life is less about where you are, and more who you are with.

When I was in New York City, I ate at Chilis. Yeah, I know, but it wasn’t my fault.

I’ve driven from Tucson to Albuquerque. I’ll never do it again.

I hit a deer with Mom’s Explorer a few summers ago, but it was suicidal, and again, not my fault.

I’ve flown over the handle bars of my mountain bike twice. Once when I hit a rock, the other when I hit the brakes. I also had my back tire fall off as a rounded a turn.

I’ll never make American Idol, though I did sing Country Roads on a karaoke stage, eight miles from the West Virginia border during coaches night at a basketball camp I worked.

I’ve never had a steak at Morton’s, but I did have one at a coffee joint in Tucson during Finals.

Last summer when my buddy Steve was fighting a sockeye salmon on 6x tippet (about 3-pound test), I asked him, “Are you going to keep it?” before it was in the net. He lost it seconds later.

I’ll never win a teaching award but I did help my buddy Brian catch his first fish, a 6-pound salmon.

If in the next 30 years I have to choose between tickets to the NBA Finals and the Gold Medal Curling Match, bring on those icy shoots and funny brooms. If I win a new car on The Price is Right, I’ll sell it, buy a premium graphite rod and drive to British Columbia for the steelhead run. When I get back, I’ll drive to Montana, buy a bamboo rod, then fish the Yellowstone River.

If they ask me, I’ll go on Jersey Shore, only if it’s moved to uninhabited Noyes Island in southeast Alaska.

Since this is a spot usually reserved for outdoorsy type things, I’ll close with at least a little something of substance.

My secret to catching fish is talking to them, telling them what to do. I’d say 50 percent of the time it works half the time.

Now you know why I punched the couch.

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail

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