I live for good stories. I enjoy telling them, I get a kick out of hearing them, but above all I love living them. So long as it makes a good story, I regret nothing. Sometimes I feel it’s a cruel limitation of biology that the stories of our ancestors don’t get passed down through blood.
I’d love to know what my grandfather did when he was 24 years old, what inspired him to become a man of the woods. I’d love to hear more stories about Old Uncle Vermond, the family wanderer. I’d like to see my great-grandparents board the ship to America, to feel their excitement and apprehension about starting a new life in a new land. I’d like to see their parents, and their parents parents, earning a living in the rolling hills of Denmark.
I’d like to reach even further back. Am I descended from any line of Danish royalty? …well, given the size of Denmark, it turns out that just about anyone Danish is probably descended from royalty. More importantly, what kind of royalty were they? Did we have gilded thrones? Did we fling wine glasses at servants? Did we gamble and lose it all in a single night at the local tavern?
What about Vikings? Did anyone in my lineage do any pillaging or plundering? Did a Petersen ancestor sack England, or explore Greenland with Erik the Red? I mean, this is looking so far back that there’s no guarantee my ancestors were even Danish at the time. Or maybe they were. Could I be descended from Gorm den Gamle or Harald Bluetooth? Hah. Bluetooth. I wonder if he knew that his name would be used for a short-range wireless connectivity protocol?
And even before that, what drove the Petersens to Scandanavia in the first place? I’m fascinated by stories and I would love to hear the tales of my ancestors, the wild experiences and journeys that coalesced into the family we have today. In looking back, what more could we learn about ourselves today?
Anyways. I talked Ryan today, and he was trying to figure out what he wanted to do in life. Ryan’s a good friend from college, and the two of us did some incredibly stupid stuff together. He graduated the same year I did, and has been doing some heavy-duty computer stuff over the last two years that has proved lucrative.
And yet, he misses the hijinx. I don’t blame him. The two of us were really good at hijinx, so good in fact that we started an official club at UMD to give us more room to play. At first we were going to name it The Dane and Ryan Fan Club, but we couldn’t find anyone else willing to fill the officer positions. We had a president and vice-president (obviously), but we still needed a secretary and treasurer. When we suggested naming the club The Coolest Club Ever we had no shortage of applicants for officers.
Ryan and I were so good at hijinx, there’s no doubt in my mind that we could pursue it professionally. We’ve blown stuff up with dry ice, raced shopping carts, caught air in sleds, discovered stuffed animal burial grounds, and explored tunnels and caves beneath Minneapolis. One time Ryan helped drop a tree on my head in the Porcupine Mountains, giving me a concussion and a trip to the emergency room.
If Ryan can’t figure out what he wants to do, and I can’t figure out what I want to do, I’d say we need to get our own TV show. Above anything else, I believe that would make my ancestors proud.