Keys To Reality
It’s kind of funny how you can go from walking around with nothing but lint in you pocket and being totally stoked, to walking around with a pocket full of keys and being totally bummed.
It starts out simply and seductively. I’ll just get this car so I can fly fish more. Wrong. Anything that let’s you fly fish more is a scam. It won’t let you fly fish more because you ride every day and a car can’t add days to the week.
“I’ll just get this little night job so I can buy gas,” you hear yourself saying. There’s another key. Then your job starts making you miss sleep, so you can’t fly fish as hard or as long as you used to. And you need stuff to wear to work. You need a place to change and store your stuff. Now you have an address, that’s another key. Soon you have to get a day job because you’re not making enough money at night. The keys start adding up.
Now that you have a job, girls know you’re not a total loss and you end up with a girlfriend. She wants you to hang with her once in a while instead of going fly fishing all the time. First, she gives you the key to her heart, and then the key to her apartment. That’s two more. You can’t give her the key to your heart because snowboarding put a combination lock on it and only your fly rod knows the number.
Now you have a bunch of keys in your pocket. They’re high-maintenance items. You have to take care of them. They’re weighing you down. fly fishing is slowly slipping away, and you don’t even notice.
One day, cruising to your full-time office job that you had to get a few years back to make payments on all your keys, you drive past a guy on the corner with his thumb out and a fly rod under his arm. While speeding by you start thinking about the guy you just passed. He looked like you used to—fly fishing and nothing else. As you pull into the parking lot at work, you can’t get the hitchhiker out of your head. Your mind keeps wandering back. Pulling all the keys out of you pocket and jingling them, you think about what you really want from life.
Running back to your car, you reverse out of the parking lot and squeal a Rockford in the middle of the four-lane highway. You’ve got to get away from your keys. You begin throwing them out the window as you blow down the highway. First to go is the key to the door at work. Then you backhand your girlfriend’s apartment key out the passenger window. Flick, there goes the key to the storage unit, then the key to her car. Flick, flick, flick. You feel better each time a key flies out the window and goes bouncing down the pavement at 100 mph. You don’t even slow down for the tollbooth, paying instead with the tossed key to your office and the executive washroom.
You only have two keys left. You unlock your house, run in, grab your fly rod, and dash out of the house. You leave the key to your house sitting in the lock to the front door. Whoever finds the house open can take it, and all your stuff. You don’t need it anymore. You jump back into the car and start burning rubber through all four gears back to the highway where you saw the hitcher.
He’s still there. You slam on the brakes. When he opens the car door, you look into his eyes. It’s you. It’s the life you left behind when you sold out.
*(Ken wrote this about snowboarding. We edited it to fly fishing to fit our audience. fitting just the same)