Dik's Ravings

Dik Saalfeld '80
Washington correspondent

Alas! Alumni Corporation treasurer Steve Amador has yet to pay me the $1000 he owes me from an intemperate bet he made on Election Day in 1984, in which he wagered that no Democrat would be elected President during the rest of the century! Perhaps other Republicans in the reading audience can chip in to ease his burden; if Steve ever makes good, I will donate the money to the Hugh Gibbs Memorial Scholarship Fund. Incidentally, I no longer bet on elections because it's unAmerican, plus, I took a thrashing in '94 and my heinie still hurts.

Later this fall I hope to join some of our brethren at the 75th Annual Pike Deercamp. For those of you opposed to hunting, I should state that we have a good reason for doing so: we like to kill. Last year upon arriving at camp Nate Rudgers '82 opened his footlocker and shrieked. We thought he had forgotten something important, like his share of the beer and drugs, but he had merely neglected to bring his anti-psychotic medication. He brought plenty of ammunition, though. His wife hates it when he bags a deer because it takes him so long to drive home afterwards. He ties the gutted deer to his fender, then pulls into every school yard on the way back. If the weather is unseasonably warm, well, perish the thought. So to speak.

During a recent trip to Macedonia I did some more paragliding. I learned why "sink to glide" calculations are so important. This lesson was an epiphany born of an encounter with a grove of pine trees that was a little too far above sea level for my comfort level. I like my pines further down, especially when I am trying to clear their tops, which in this case I didn't. As a result of the accident I suffered a grievous injury to my pride. Plus, I had to spend 2 hours extricating the paraglider. A paraglider, for those unhip members of the reading audience, is very similar to a parachute. Getting them out of trees is challenging. You either have to cut tree branches, cut paraglider lines, or laboriously pick the canopy and each line out of the tree without ripping or severing anything. Please note that the latter option involves a great deal of work, the middle option involves great personal expense, and the first option involves using my handy pocket tool, which I carry with me at all times. If you start madly sawing down trees in American national parks you get tossed in the can, whereas in Macedonia you get back to the hotel in time for lunch.

Dik's largemouth I caught a 5½ pound bass during my annual Canadian vacation. In Florida and other parts such bass are common, but in Canada the bass growing season is about 9 minutes, or, in metric, a hectare, depending on how you do the metric conversion. Metric was never my strong suit. My strong suit was a 3-piece tan polyester number which was indestructible and had a shine that diverted passing aircraft. I finally used it for fill in a sidewalk I poured in 1981 when I ran out of gravel. The Department of Public Works tore up the sidewalk years later to widen the road, and police investigators spent 3 days trying to figure out what happened to the bones. This is why you should turn to a life of crime: the money's easy, and cops are not exactly rocket scientists. But I seemed to have been going on about my catching a huge bass. I recount this tale not to boast, but instead to shamelessly point out what a great fisherman I am. Okay, I lied. I do say this to boast. Have you ever caught a 5½ pound largemouth bass in Canada? I thought not. You probably couldn't catch a 5½ pound bass if it was contagious. I have. Caught a 5½ pound bass in Canada, I mean. I think all the time. Well, not ALL the time. Most of the time, though, when I'm not scratching or eating, that is. I have pictures. Of the bass, I mean. I don't think I have pictures of me thinking. I do have a picture of me and the bass, the latter of whom is looking rather perturbed at being caught by somebody who spends so little time thinking. The bass was set free to ponder his remarkable good fortune at being caught by one so full of mercy, yet possessed of a deadly white Jitterbug® with extremely sharp treble hooks, using 6-pound test monofilament line. I think I could have nailed him with 4-pound, but there are a lot of lily pads on that lake. If you don't intuitively grasp the connection, it is because you are not a fisherman capable of reeling in a perturbed, jumping, fighting, hard-thinking 5½ pound bass at night using a surface lure attached to 6-pound test line. We eat fish between about one and 3 pounds as they are large enough to make the fish cleaning process productive and small enough not to be tasteless. Most omnivores and carnivores intuitively know that meat from young, fit animals is preferable to that from old, tired and flabby animals, which is why now is as safe a time as any for you to take that safari.

Yow! Lunch time! Enough of this self-absorbed twaddle! Best to the family! If you are a pathetic loner, best to your inflatable doll collection! Whatever! If you voted for Bob Dole, in the spirit of brotherhood and democratic republicanism and all the other junk that made our country great, I just want to say hahahahahaha!