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The dream of living dangerously

April in Glenwood
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I met a former king crab fisherman the other day.

Obviously I don’t make it to Alaska much, as this former king crab fisherman is the first former king crab fisherman I’ve met in my life. I also don’t know a current king crab fisherman, so my knowledge about the occupation is limited to what’s shown on The Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch.”

If it helps, I get sea sick just watching.



This former king crab fisherman took on the world’s deadliest of occupations at a young age. Like 14 young. At that age, I was more worried about Bon Jovi than capsizing crab boats.

Maybe that’s what “Livin’ on a Prayer” is really based on.



By 18 or 19, Former King Crab Fisherman could purchase a Trans Am with cash. A $5,000 bar tab was chump change. The work was hard, and even more difficult to turn down when a call came to join a crew shipping out the next morning.

Much like dangling crab legs in front of me.

What Former King Crab Fisherman made in four months takes me three years to earn. And that’s 1980s versus 2010 wages.

I still can’t buy a Trans Am with cash.

Although he shared stories of dismemberment (not his own, thank goodness) and nausea, Former King Crab Fisherman’s story intrigued me. Mostly I’m amazed at the fear factor involved with Alaskan king crab fishing. Have you seen the size of the waves? I need Dramamine just to handle the commercials for “Deadliest Catch.” I couldn’t handle a quick deep-sea fishing excursion in the Florida Keys without becoming best friends with the head. I’d be as worthless as skinny jeans on Fat Tuesday if I tried to become an Alaskan king crab fisherwoman. Now there’s a reality TV show. Unfortunately the season would only include three episodes.

At 15 minutes each.

With commercial breaks, that provides me with my 15 minutes of fame.

I’m not exactly into living dangerously. I once lived in an old house in college for $150 a month that my mom swore smelled like a gas leak every time she left the place. I just thought all moms said that kind of stuff. Luckily no one lit a cigarette near the gas oven.

I bet 100 king crabs my mom won’t find the humor in that.

I could follow in my grandfather’s footsteps and work another one of the world’s deadliest jobs.

Truck driving.

I imagine myself in a cowboy hat with feathers and tight Wrangler jeans.

Except on Fat Tuesday.

My theme song, “East Bound and Down” by Jerry Reed, would be blasting from the tape deck. I’d honk my horn at all the kids I see on the interstate who do that hey-trucker-honk-your-horn signal with their arms. I’d be OK with the truck stop food and showers because I’d know my sweetie would be at home with a home-cooked meal and aqua-jet foot massager waiting.

Something tells me I’m not tough enough for that occupation, either.

I’m not the greatest at staying awake while driving all night. Add another 14 wheels to what I’m used to and I’d be sent packing with my cowboy hat and Jerry Reed tape. My dad can attest that my driving skills aren’t up to par like Smokey’s. And definitely not as stellar as my grandfather’s. I never knew he lived so dangerously.

Maybe it was his Corvette, and not a Trans Am, that threw me off.

April E. Clark is two degrees of living dangerously by eating crab legs tonight. She can be reached at aclark@postindependent.com.


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