Type I Fun – true fun, enjoyable while it’s happening. Good food, good sex, 5.8 hand cracks, sport climbing, powder skiing. Margaritas.
Type II Fun – fun only in retrospect, hateful while it’s happening. Things like working out ‘till you puke, and usually ice and alpine climbing. After climbing the West Face Couloir on Huntington, Scotty and I both swore that we hated alpine climbing. The final 1,000′ was horrific – swimming up sugar snow that collapsed beneath us, roped together without protection – and took nearly as long as the initial 3,000′ from camp. On the summit, Scotty turned to me and said, in complete seriousness, “I want my mom so bad right now.” By the time we reached Talkeetna our talk of Huntington turned to, “Ya know, that wasn’t so bad. What should we try next time?”
Type III Fun – not fun at all, not even in retrospect. As in, “What the hell was I thinking? If I ever even consider doing that again, somebody slap some sense into me.” The final 1,000′ of Huntington, when I stop and think about it…but, then again, a friend climbed it the next year and had perfect conditions.
Man, can I relate. This actually helps explain my love of backpacking, travel and other unscripted activities: things can and do go wrong, but the results are often more fun than if things had gone right. Sure, it might be Type II fun, but it's fun none the less.
All this brings back a smattering of memories I had as Boy Scout nearly 25+ years ago. We had a leader named Doc Ernesey*. As far as we boys were concerned, he was Chuck Norris before we knew who Chuck Norris was. If Doc had an encounter with a bear, you feared for the safety of the bear. One summer at Camp Massawepie my older brother did have a bear encounter. Story goes, he walked into our camp and found the bear noshing on a package of raw hot dogs. After stuttering the phrase "bbbbbear!" he ran for his life. I recall Doc offering some sage wisdom along the lines: the times when you're most afraid in your life, you'll look back at as the most fun and exciting. He was definitely referring to Type II fun there.
Doc was right then, and he's right now. Join me in the woods where things will almost always go as unplanned, and I'll promise you one heck of a good time!
[Any of my Troop 3 bretheran want to correct / enhance the above story? Josh, want to set the record straight? I'd love to hear from y'all.]
*Oy, how can I not know how to spell his name!? As a kid, I never had any reason to write it down, I suppose.