I Say “Potato”, You Say “Idiot”

Apparently the Emmys are on tonight. My apologies if you are one of those who find the autoerotic narcissism of Hollywood awards shows interesting, but I personally would rather remove my own spleen with a sharp rock than watch…

Not that I don’t do self-indulgence or narcissism, I just try to make it make it less…pathetic.

So I’m gonna sit here, instead, and plan my final hike of the year. The hike that caused the backcountry rangers to tell me, very emphatically, “Don’t be an idiot.” The hike that caused my friend to preemptively put up “Missing” posters with my picture. “Just getting a head start,” he explained.


But it’s such a cool hike! So what if 15 of the 20 miles are through the most dangerous “Bear Management” region in Yellowstone? So what if there is no longer a trail of any sort? So what if it really only exists on old maps from the early 90s?

Yeah, yeah, I know…the rather large odds of a disastrous ending are not a good idea, but…well…c’mon…no one has done it in almost twenty years!

Wait, what was that I was saying about self-indulgence?


Now, if I was the protagonist of a story, this hike would kick off all kinds of danger and adventure. Kind of a “Into Thin Air”…although preferably with a happier outcome.

But, no, I’m not a protagonist. I’m not the lens through which adventures and lessons come. I’m just a guy who looks remarkably like a Happy Meal to a pre-hibernation grizzly.

Our characters make bad choices so we can advance the plot, so we can have conflict and tension, and so we can – frankly – experience a bit of repeated schadenfreude at their expense.

And, even when they die, they live on…

That won’t work so well for me. There’s a popular book up here called “Death in Yellowstone”. One of my cashiers took great delight in explaining to me, in great detail, just how many of the screw ups in that book I am repeating every time I take off on my solo, off-trail hikes.

I’ll still plan the damned hike – oh, will I plan it! – but instead of doing it before I leave here in a few weeks, I am going to return this winter and do it when everything is sleepin’ the winter away.

How’s that for a compromise?

Hey, I said I wasn’t a protagonist, I didn’t say I was smart!

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