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October 16, 2012


Tough luck, dumb luck, hard luck, good and bad lucks, rotten luck, beginner’s luck, luck of the draw, stroke of luck, to luck out …

I am talking to Barney at Mazama Village near Crater Lake, and he gets excited like he’s discovered the secret in our conversation:

“Luck, that’s it! We’re here because of luck. We are lucky to get to do this. That’s the key word right there. The big why.”

I agree with Barney. We are privileged to walk this great trail, this beautiful earth. I told him that several of my friends were sick or had died recently so that I felt sad and lucky to have good health and express it by walking in the mountains. I don’t want to just sit around waiting for my turn to go south. I’m northward bound, deeper into the forest, where fear is a friend and luck is your password.

Then I met Scott (you know which one) at Timothy Lake just as he was giving up his historic trek, and he said, "Oh well, what counts is being out here, right? So many people at this moment stuck in traffic, and we get to be here on the trail in the middle of this." And he waved his arms around, and it wasn't corny at all.

If you see me this morning, you might think I’m on a zombie diet. I’ve been staying up all night almost every night to watch the baseball games live from the United States. This year I can not only get them on the computer but also on the tv, at least some of the games. I suppose I could watch the recording the next day, like I usually do, but it's the pennant, man! And after the Giants have done their best all the way to the end, I’ll go back and watch all the games I missed while I was in the mountains in August.

A few years ago all this was a dream. The only way to get a game was to go to Candlestick or tune into KNBR. And when I was young, after we moved away from San Francisco, we didn’t even get games on the radio. Only box scores in the newspaper. That made it pretty hard for a kid to be a fan.

Now what I mean by these two examples—the intense aliveness of hiking for weeks alone and the thrill of good baseball from clear around the world—is not that they are equals. When I leave the unnatural world for the natural, I’m quite happy to renounce silly old baseball. The mountains are real intense life (did I tell you I was the last one to see that guy alive?); the other’s just a game. But when I want some entertainment that’s not about the end of the world or killer monsters, disgraceful news and eco-disasters, I can check out a Giants game anytime. Even from out here on Danger Island. Uh oh, Chongo!

That makes me feel lucky. You plug in your own examples and feel it too.

Happy trials and good luck, Martin


Mutt: Did you see that obscene photo the boss put up? Like his post was merely an excuse to objectify a woman’s body.
Jeff: Yeah, I object.
Mutt: Me too, so sexist I didn’t look.
Jeff: Me neither.
Mutt: She did ask me if I wanted to get lucky though.
Jeff: Yeah, me too. I said that I had already been lucky yesterday at the track.
Mutt: Yesterday I read a story about a pony on the pampas called "Little Horse on the Prairie".
Jeff: You can read?
Mutt: Did you know … hands are like bells, especially when they're wrung?
Jeff: I always say: addition in a dark Chinese restaurant is "dim sum".
Mutt: Really, you always say that?
Jeff: Sure. And an expert farmer is outstanding in her field.
Mutt: Oh, nice gender-inclusive touch. Check this out: cannibals like to meat people.
Jeff: Camels live in Camelfornia.
Mutt: An economist: A discount fog.
Jeff: Come again? How about the bear that was hit by an 18-wheeler and splattered all over the place? They said it was a grizzly accident.
Mutt: How about the time the wind stopped blowing in Chicago and everyone fell down.
Jeff: How about if you plug a pizza in the socket and get a pizza delight.
Mutt: Okay, but in San Francisco fog will never be mist.
Jeff: Ha. Look out. Never give your uncle an anteater.
Mutt: Wasn’t going to. And, just for your information, I can read too. I read recently a history of electronics of Biblical proportions: Solomon and Toshiba!
Jeff: Oowah. You know what I call one who does magic tricks with bandages? A wizard of gauze.
Mutt: Oh brother, that’s weak. Here’s the topper: If life is like a bowl of cherries, what's the raisin for living?
Jeff: Okay, what is it?
Mutt: Shut up.
Jeff: What?