Jim E. (friend of Chi Wulff, part-time college professor / part-time fishing guide, probably our favorite silver-tongue commenter) fired over a thought-provoking email late yesterday afternoon with a snap of this tweet:
With a live-broadcast technological dexterity that should have made NASA green with envy (at least the old NASA that actually used to lift men and women into space atop flaming rockets) I watched along with who knows how many others around the world today the highlights of this crazy bastard (Felix Baumgartner) riding his balloon into space and free-falling back to earth.
Impressive as hell for a private group; an aeronautical engineer / fishing buddy back home tells me their work might actually have genuine utility for very high altitude pilots and even astronauts (an endangered species in the free world these days). And some said it was just to sell more Red Bull.
Later over dinner tonight a friend said she’d run across this tweet from the ‘audacious Austrian’ today; we all laughed about it and then more somberly reflected (this was after several beers) how seemingly little we’ve accomplished in our lives of late and how day to day life was, compared to jumping out of a capsule at 128K feet, somewhat humdrum.
The wisest member of our cadre (for the record, an attractive woman fisher from Missoula and professorial colleague) pondered who was the most courageous, Felix B. making his jump or the single mother putting her 8 year old on the school bus in gangland Chicago or Philadelphia every day? Or the poor bastard commuting an hour each way to drown in a cubicle job he hates year after year to feed and cloth the family?
She winked at me and said that all things considered, she’d rather spend her days doing what we (she and I) did today.
More than one eyebrow raised before she could explain that we spent the day with a group of school kids on a small river today, teaching them how to cast a fly rod, wade and even tie a simple fly or two.
No world records were set; we didn’t have corporate sponsors or a single media person in the group. And yet my friend artfully noted that at least of few of those kids will remember how to mend and roll cast far longer than they’ll remember today’s jump.
Proof once again that, all things considered, I’d just rather go fishing, thank you very much, and that we should all be teaching the art whenever we can.