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When friends become cooler than you
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I write this like the bitter kid picked last in red salmon rover, or the one that stuck the wall while playing pin-the-antler-on-the-caribou, that everyone else gets to tease.

Two friends were “unfriended” Saturday, because, well, they’re mean.

Craig and I played Little League together, basketball against each other and went to the same church growing up.

John and I ran cross country and played basketball together in high school. As we used bush stems to hoist ourselves up alpine shelves toward the summit of the Klawock Mountains one summer, a rock slipped and almost brained him. We later laughed.

We will chuckle together no more.

Both he and Craig have evoked an emotion too strong to overcome in a modern day friendship - jealousy.

Craig drove up from Portland, flashed his passport at the border, paid $80 and watched Olympic curling in person. Since a half dozen of us formed a fake curling team at school (iron-on t-shirts and everything) four years ago, I have been moderately obsessed with Olympic curling.

It’s Canadian bowling, barbarian pool, caveman darts and makes me feel like I have the chance to be an Olympian. I’d unload lunch and pass out before I even started down the ski jump ramp and tear a hamstring clear out of the back of my leg trying to ski uphill.

Snowboard cross would land me in a tree, and I’d prefer not think about the required reconstructive surgery that would follow the half-pipe.

But curling, curling could be fun. Even to watch live, like Craig did.

He stood strong in the Canadian-dominated curling arena and supported The States in an overtime win over Sweden. Apparently the home-country Canucks have two favorite teams, Canada, and any nation that keeps the Star Spangled Banner out of the medal ceremonies.

Surrounded by cowbells, cheers (very few jeers) and patriotism galore, he watched spectators take in stone sliding while eating clean, green concessions like granola, yogurt and salad.

There were hot dogs sold for all the Yankees in attendance who need such snacks to sit more snugly as spectators and bring raunchy Americanisms that can be, as Craig put it, “embarrassing” at times. He didn’t go into detail, but I’ve been to pro sporting events.

As for John, Google maps told me he is seven minutes from intersecting a river so famous in the fly-fishing world there is a type of cast named after it.

Yet, he has never fished it. He believes being a husband and father trumps poking that river with little hooks.

If he thinks he will get away with that non-sense when I stop by his house on my drive to Alaska this summer (this is me inviting myself) then, well, we will probably still discuss resource conservation, regional politics, high school cross country trips, curling and faith as usual, I’ll crash on the couch, but still want to fish the Skagit River.

I think my disapproval with his fishing apathy rekindled a bit of the outdoorsman that dwells within any kid that preferred a river to a mall growing up. He’ll probably fish it soon, and my attitude toward him will change to be much more like how I feel about Craig telling me stories about something I’ve always wanted to do to which I can only combat with:

“Yeah, well, I had a chicken sandwich at Chili’s, watched the Olympics on TV then bought a gallon of milk on sale at Save Mart, so why don’t you sweep that into the house for a point.”

(Google “curling scoring” if that didn’t make sense).

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail