Because when the moon hangs heavy overhead and the crisp night air tautly pulses with the fierce purity of life and whatever else made Buck think about hulking out and becoming a direwolf, I’m way more likely to let the call of the wild keep ringing.
Went camping a few times in my youth (read: slept outside in a tent, which on one occasion was actually not in my parents’ backyard); didn’t love it. Aside from the potential for frustration with companions who might decide to stay up talking/shake the tent and pretend to be a bear/go out to pee and shriek that they’re being axe-murdered, possibly by wolves (with axes)/snore like they’re trying to drill a hole to the earth’s core, like, for the love of God, Daniel, the nocturnal lullaby of nature can sound distractingly strange to citified ears (or even countrified ears belonging to people who still live in houses), and unless your camping gear involves a box spring and pillowtop mattress, you’re probably going to be looking at a “Civilized Person and the Pea” scenario.* I don’t think I’m the only person whose perfect Sleep Number is not “ground.”
* That was a hell of a sentence right there, wasn’t it? The important thing is that we got through it together.
Went fishing once when I was a kid, accompanied by a peer and a friend of the family from church; wasn’t a fan. Over the course of three hours or so and after a few snarly failures I learned to cast successfully (Ben tied and baited our hooks) and even caught at least one fish that I remember – tiny little crappie, I think – but though we came back conquerors and Chris and I each got filets to take home, my favorite part of the experience by far was watching “Inspector Gadget” (I didn’t have cable at home) while Ben cleaned and fileted the day’s catch for us.
Never been hunting, despite the opportunities for same from an uncle who goes regularly and at one point supplemented his income with a bit of trapping (he actually lost part of his thumb in an encounter with a bobcat trap – true fact). If you restrict the field to anything above spider size, aside from that fish I mentioned above I think I’ve only ever taken the life of that one possum I hit with a car, and possums are vile little creatures anyway. I’ve never fired anything more powerful than a Red Ryder BB gun, and though I used to be a halfway decent shot with it I hung it up without a qualm after the time I aimed a little low and a ricochet hit me in the belt. I wasn’t hurt, but even somebody with my inclination for letters can do that particular bit of math. Did I mention that one of my classmates was actually missing an eye from a BB gun injury?
I can’t remember ever actually hiking up a mountain or anything, but I did grow up surrounded by pasture and woods and creeks and things. On the other hand, whenever it was suggested that we neighborhood kids actually go out among the fields and forests to ramble around for a few hours, I tended to be the one who tried to sound a note of caution about how it might rain later, or the afternoon sun can cause skin damage – because I wanted to sit on the couch and watch "Jeopardy!" instead of getting sweaty and dirty and bug-adjacent.
Basically, what I’m saying is that it’s a good thing humanity invented doors, because I prefer being inside them.
STEVE GILL is unusually tall, has a B.A. in Letters and a minor in Classics from OU, drinks a great deal of coffee and openly delights in writing, editing and catching the occasional typo for Slice – especially since his dream career (millionaire layabout in a P.G. Wodehouse novel) is notoriously difficult to break into. He's probably trying to think of a joke about pirates right now.