It’s called the game of One-Upmanship:
“I caught more fish than you.”
“So what? I caught the biggest fish.”
When I was writing The Flyfisher’s Guide to Northwest Montana’s Mountain Lakes the pressure was on to catch fish. I even prayed to catch fish. After all, I was supposed to be the expert: what if I didn’t catch any fish?
I was asked this question by a campground host at a drive-in campground while researching the book. I’d chosen this campground as it was central to a few lakes in the area that I wanted to investigate, lakes with short day hikes. The idea was to car-camp while doing a few day hikes to check things out. While chatting with the campground host, I shared why I was there. That’s when the question came: “What if you don’t catch anything?” Of course, the question comes in different forms depending on the outdoor activity –
“Did you get your buck?”
“How was your turkey hunt last season?”
“How many geocaches did you find over the weekend?”
So when I was asked by the campground host what I’d do if I didn’t catch any fish, I paused for a moment, looked at my shoes, and said, “I’ll tell the truth.” Not that I’m bragging. I’ve succumbed to the game of One-Upmanship more often than I like to admit. Maybe I should join a support group where everyone sits in a circle and bares their soul: “Hello, my name is Mike and I’m a One-Upmanship-Aholic. My confession is I didn’t get my buck last season.”
Related to the game of One-Upmanship is the game of Making Excuses such as –
“I woulda got that monster wall hanger if my hunting partner hadn’t bumped my arm just as I shot.”
“I woulda got my gobbler but the hens kept getting in the way.”
“I woulda found a ton of ’caches but my GPS broke.”
What makes us throw in our chips to play the games of One-Upmanship and Making Excuses? Why are we tempted to exaggerate, lie, or justify? Why can’t we just enjoy the experience of _________? (You fill in the blanks).
So I’ve made a decision. I’m gonna tell the truth. Even if it hurts. By the way, speaking of truth, I didn’t get my buck last season. Or my elk. Or my bear. Or my gobbler. Of course, I have good excuses . . .