Wednesday, January 11, 2023



OW is a word used most often for the amusement of companions.

It really works best this way, which is a good reason to have friends, or at least one or two random people who have nothing better to do than to go hiking with you. And if that doesn't work, there is probably a cell phone app so you can pay someone to pretend they can stand you for a couple of hours.

Anyhow, OW.

OW is rarely used alone. It's a start, but is usually accompanied by other words like @#$%&!, expressions which convey a special enthusiasm, or by ritual body movements, such as sucking on fingers or shaking one hand wildly in the air while hopping on one foot. (The "OW Hop".)

There is a statistically significant association between these words, these actions, and activities such as removing hot cookware from a fire without a pot gripper (dumb), or using random lumpy rocks as hammers to pound stakes (more dumb).

In this sense OW is sometimes mispronounced as OUCH (or even OWICH), "an interjection that denotes pain", as your high school English teacher might put it, clueless. (Why do we need to study English anyway? For those of us who already speak it? Why don't we have an expression class? Learn to share ideas and think and write? Have fun? OW! There's an idea.)

OW! — Over Weight.

If you've been bitten by the packweight bug then you've entered a new dimension, one in which you are judged by numbers. Random, arbitrary numbers.

If the numbers you choose to associate with are smaller than the next person's numbers, then you are not over weight, they are. (Note: the term "over weight" applies only to pack weight, and size. If you are a big hootin' hollerin' honking doofus, nobody cares, mostly, if you bathe regularly, if you have a pack so small, so tiny, so light that you can only pick it up with the tips of your fingers.)

Over weight is a sin, the first sin, the original sin, the Sin of Infinite Stink for ultralighters.


Because we need a standard to judge you by. Because. Because if we don't judge you then we have to judge ourselves, and OW! — we don't want to do that.

Because if you have a standard to judge other people by, then you can do it and say because. "Because it says so right here on the weight chart. Your base pack weight can't be over 9 pounds (4 kg for metroids), or you're a total dick. We don't talk to dicks. They can't be in our club. OW! So go away. But not so far we can't see you and keep judging you."

Which results in another OW! response for you, a bad one. You go home and wonder "How Far Along Am I, Really?", and you think about life and if it's worth it, and if you'll ever get there even if you take out a second mortgage and buy that three-and-a-half ounce (99 g, eh?) crinkly titanium-foil pack that's too small to actually carry anything in. (So it stays at three and a half ounces forever, right? No matter what? Right?).

And then you think some more and finally have that enlightenment moment when you say "OW!, hey. I'm owl wright just liek I am — I'm gonig to HMOH and ful speed ahead and so on," completely forgetting how to use a spell checker and picking up random acronyms without knowing what they mean but it's all OK now. You have moved beyond OW. You are no longer Over Weight.

You now know everything. Everything that matters anyhow. Because. Because you just know it. And so, by a simple change in attitude you have become Omnisciently Wonderful (OW!). So you start your own dance meditation studio (PrancyDancyMed), but no flapping hands and hopping and howling in pain any more. Now you help others move from a life of bumping into walls and slamming their fingers in car doors to one of grace and light and hip humping and cool booty grooving. (If they purchase the premium plan of 12 easy monthly payments.) Life is good again, such as it is. OW!

Then you die.



Please note that your final life score stands at 3½ out of a possible 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Approximately. (Had to be rounded down a bit to meet our standards.)


Have anything worth adding? Then try
Me? Feeling that way today.



so says eff: sporadic spurts of grade eff distraction
definitions: outdoor terms
fiyh: dave's little guide to ultralight backpacking stoves
boyb: dave's little guide to backpacks
snorpy bits: nibbling away at your sanity
last seen receding: missives from a certain mobile homer
noseyjoe: purposefully poking my proboscis into technicals