This fall was our 4th annual Guys’ Weekend in Canada. We ditched our wives, kids, and jobs for five GLORIOUS days of fishing, drinking, cursing, and many other manly-man activities. We had zero responsibility and only one rule: NO GIRLZ ALLOWED!
Anyway, the vacation gave me a chance to reflect on friends, fishing, getting old, and life in general. Here now are 7 surprising lessons from the weekend.
Fishing Is Hard
On the second day of the trip, the sun shone, the bite was hot, and four of us ventured out for what became the most pathetic attempt at bass fishing in the history of mankind.
For those who don’t know, bass fishing requires an extra dose of skill and precision. You have to maneuver the boat close to rocks, cast accurately, and retrieve skillfully. For a professional angler, it’s an art. For four schmucks from the suburbs, it is fuckin chaos.
I wish I could share more about this almighty excursion, but our “crew” swore an oath of silence in fear that if details ever emerged, we’d be exiled from our social circle for time eternal.
Day Drinking Gets Better With Age
I enjoyed day drinking in my twenties. But since turning 30, I realized to fully appreciate the activity, you have to earn it. To really enjoy being drunk on a random Monday in August, you need to spend the 30 Mondays prior sitting in a cubicle. Then 1PM rolls around and your equilibrium flips upside down when you realize you’re not halfway through a day at the office, you’re on the lake, with the sun on your back and a beer in your hand.
In your thirties, life is packed with obligations: errands, work, housework, parental tasks, etc. You have to be sober to handle this responsibility, because responsibility when you’re drinking is a nightmare. An afternoon buzz really means the rest of your day is free from all the humdrum horseshit. And that freedom is the only buzz I need.
It’s Nice To Express Myself
I rarely get to say what I mean. Take being a parent for example: you can’t tell a toddler how you really feel, no matter how accurate it may be. You can’t just get down, look her square in the eye and be like, “You know what, Norah? Your behavior right now, it’s fuckin bullshit. Okay? Get it together.”
Or at work? How many times a week do you say, “Sounds good, Janet?” When really there are a thousand other things Janet deserves to hear.
This is why whenever I’m free to use my potty mouth, I do, and also why any time you get 10 guys together in a cabin, there’s more profanity than a trucker’s convention.
There Is A Deep Satisfaction In Eating What You Catch
Hunt or die. That was reality for our early ancestors. There weren’t drive-throughs or supermarkets. Your survival and the survival of everyone you loved hinged on your ability to down a buffalo, and I imagine it was deeply satisfying when you did. So satisfying, in fact, that the thrill of eating your catch still exists today, even after thousand of years of evolution and despite the fact that we’ve all gone soft.
Don’t get me wrong, modern-day food distribution is a godsend — if my family’s survival depended on my hunting prowess, it’d be 2 days before we had to harvest the dog for meat. But once in awhile it’s good to exercise that primal instinct and put your own food on the table.
Dinner Is For Gentlemen
Conversation during Guys’ Weekend isn’t always friendly. There’s a lot of trash talk around who’s caught the most fish, who sucked the most at high school sports, who sucks the most at sports currently, etc.
But breaking bread together seems to bring out the manners. And it’s nice to know that for at least 15 minutes everyday we can stop with the dick jokes and the would-you-rathers and act like proper humans.
I Need To Unplug More Often
My cell service extends only 10 miles into Canada, and thank God for that. Apparently, the one thing that can stop me from mindlessly refreshing Twitter every 6 seconds is AT&T’s outrageous data roaming rates. And let me tell you, strolling through the great outdoors and being able to leave my phone at the cabin was downright liberating. On the big list of all the things I needed a break from, my iPhone was number 1.
It’s been 6 years since the inaugural Guys’ Weekend in Canada — we missed a few years because of out-of-state jobs, having kids, and the Summer of 10,000 Weddings — and, man, have things changed.
It’s frightening how fast you go from a spry twenty-something to full blown adult, so be sure to make time for the good stuff. Because while change is inevitable, some things should stay the same.
Editor’s note: If you’re in the Upper Midwest and looking for an awesome summer vacation, you should absolutely check out True North Outposts. It’s a beautiful resort and the fishing is so good that even we can catch our limit.