Sunday, September 30, 2012

Halfway, Part 2

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50, and MAKE it to 60. You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing.  - George Carlin

                              Photo by and courtesy of Michael Manke
I can't speak for an entire generation but when it comes to baby boomers I have to believe they'd agree, some things are better left a mystery. Case in point: determining the exact distance of the hike from the parking area to my "new" campsite on the (Donner und) Blitzen River. For the past 15+ seasons it's been about 2-1/2 miles - my best estimate - and that's always been good enough for me. But this particular weekend my calculations were obsolete because I was joined by my two 20-something nephews, Michael (L) and Adam Manke, and their ever-present personal electronic devices - complete with GPS systems I might add - so the trek had to be measured. This had me wondering about our generations and their differences . . . and how this all relates to fly fishing.

According to the research, my generation - the baby boomers or those born between 1946 and 1964 - values success, focuses on relationships and results, and views technology as an acquired skill. On the other hand, my nephew's generation - the millenials or those born between 1981 and 2000 - values individuality, focuses on being global and networked, and views technology as an integral part of their lives. Understanding it can be dangerous to generalize specific attributes and values across an entire population - especially when we're talking about 80 million people - I felt obligated to investigate generational differences more thoroughly to see just how accurately they apply to each of us.

Browsing a laundry list of core values, two entries for each generation immediately caught my eye -- for baby boomers: "anything is possible" and "question everything"; and for millenials: "extremely techno savvy" and "Now". Moreover, boomers are supposed to be ambitious, competitive, ethical, and optimistic, while millenials are at ease in teams but fiercely independent, focus on change using technology, plus they're open to new ideas and they're innovative -- they like to think outside the creel . . . I mean box. For the sake of this story we're going to concentrate on the core values.

I rely on the notion that "anything is possible" so that's why I bet Michael a dollar I'd catch us a trout for dinner in 6 casts or less at one of my favorite holes. Sure enough, after the third try much to Michael's amazement, he saw a chunky redband rainbow flopping at my feet . . . and we weren't through wagering yet. Next I bet him double or nothing that he would catch a trout from this same spot in 6 casts or less too and what do you know, after his fourth shot, he had one for the frying pan as well. Anything IS Possible!

And speaking of dinner, I learned firsthand the millenial meaning of "Now" after returning to camp late the next evening with 2 hungry young men to feed. I planned to prepare ramen - a quick and simple dish - for all we needed per serving was 2 cups of boiling water and 3 minutes time. Apparently that wasn't fast enough. "Why can't you make two at a time?" I was asked. Well, for starters, our pot only holds 3 cups of water and next, there's only enough space in there for one block of noodles. "You can use less water and break up the blocks," I was told. Boy that ramen was good.

Fly fishing has been around since the Roman Empire - the 2nd century to be exact - and I'm sure younger generations of anglers were driving older generations of anglers nuts even way back then. But at least their nephews didn't own GPS systems or the gumption to use them. So I was off by a mile, does that really make a difference? I wonder how accurate those contraptions are anyway. Question everything, I do.

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened.  -Unknown


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