Understanding the Alaskan way, mind, and soul
Dedicated to Alaskan husbands and their endeavors
If you give your husband a hunting rifle for Christmas, then he’ll need new ammo to go with it. When he goes to the store to buy ammo, the display of scopes will catch his eye. If he buys ammo and a scope, he’s sure to bump into an old friend, fishing buddy, coworker, or random acquaintance. This person will admire the scope, learn about the new rifle, and mention that he knows just where to find moose.
If your husband doesn’t completely detest this person, he’ll come home with ammo, the scope, a stack of hunting regs, and the news that he’s planning a major moose hunt with his long-lost hunting buddy. If he’s going to be ready, he’ll need to spend the winter sighting in his rifle at the shooting range and reading hunting articles at home. He’ll also need a surprisingly complicated set of topographical maps, GPS coordinates, and satellite images of the hunting area. If your husband looks closely at the maps, he’ll notice that the hunt boundary falls on the wrong side of a major river, with no bridges handy. If he discusses this problem with his hunting buddy, they’ll remember another old friend (or random acquaintance) who has a boat. They’ll invite their friend to join the hunt and suggest he bring his boat (just in case).
If your husband fantasizes about all the moose meat he’s going to get, he’ll visualize hauling it out of the woods on foot. He’ll remember that old backache that bothers him sometimes and decide to buy a newer four-wheeler. If your husband buys a four-wheeler, he’ll take it out many times throughout the spring and summer “to work the kinks out.” When the kinks show up, he’ll order better parts and spend a few weekends tinkering with it, adding “sweat equity” to its value. If the four-wheeler is running “good enough” then he’ll get the rest of his gear assembled. This means summer is already over and he’s leaving in the morning with his hunting buddies to set up camp before opening day.
If your husband tells you it will be a week-long trip, he might also remember to mention that there will be no cell phone service. So you will patiently wait out the week, expecting to hear news at the end of the last day. If he and his buddies are over 24 hours late, with no word whatsoever, you’ll have to figure out when you’re going to call the state troopers and how to not cry on the phone when you do. Then you will get a vague text from one of your husband’s buddies. They’re headed back, but your husband’s phone isn’t working. If you find out that your husband’s phone doesn’t work because it got wet when he and the four-wheeler fell in the river, you’ll want to clobber him with the giant moose rack sitting in the back of his pickup. If your husband senses your fury, he’ll spend the next few nights in the garage processing moose meat with his buddies and you won’t even be asked to clean the meat grinder.
After several months, if in the spirit of Christmas you decide to forgive your husband for everything he put you through in the past year, while you’ll never again make the mistake of giving him a new gun, you might give him a nice fishing rod for Christmas instead!