SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Catastrophic conjunctions



April 25, 2017
Tuesday PM

jpg Jeff Lund 

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - The motor sputtered and stopped, but I had two gallons of gas in reserve. 

I added them, but none of the 70 horses would start. 

The weather was pretty calm, but the wind was pushing us away from land. 

I told my buddy to start paddling, but we only had one oar. 

My emergency locator was out of power, but we had cell phone reception. 

I texted a buddy, but he was at work. 

We got to shore, but the motor still wouldn’t start. 

We flagged down a boat and got towed back to the dock. 

We filled the tank and the motor started right up, so we headed back out. 

Disaster is a combination of conjunctions like “and” and “but.” Cause and effect. Do enough right and it might balance a wrong, depending on what that wrong is. 

In my case, had I enough gas, I wouldn’t have had to worry about adding more fuel and risk the motor not starting because of air in the fuel line. Simple. Really, really, really simple. But as I told my buddy Kurt from California who was with me at the time, “People die because of stupid stuff like this.” I was not worried at all since we were in cell range, the weather was great and there were cabins within hiking distance but it was just a little dark humor even though things weren’t close to grim. 

It’s hard to do everything right all the time, especially when things are familiar. We weren’t going far. We had filed a plan complete with times and specific locations to a trustworthy person who wouldn’t do something like forget or accept the role casually. We had life jackets, flares, had checked the weather etc. The end result was a four-hour delay in getting to where we intended. We still caught fish. The experience was nothing but a minor glitch, a story to tell. 

No one really cares, though. Well, no, they do, but this sort of thing happens, and if you make it back, all is good. People have been towed before. People have run out of gas before. People have used, “turned around” as a euphemism for “got lost” before. 

Going outside is inherently dangerous. This, if course, is the source of the reward. The fish, deer, bear, snow, summits, trails, everything worth seeing is away from the couch which is nothing more than a front row seat to watch fiction, or watch doers do, as you don’t. 

The more you are out there the more likely you are to encounter something that wasn’t expected even if it was planned for. You can only hope that you’re prepared and the right combination of variables to go your way if something really simple goes wrong.

Jeff Lund ©2017

Jeff Lund is a Teacher, Freelance Writer, living in Ketchikan, Alaska
Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @alaskalund
Contact Jeff at Email –


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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