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Getting Rid of the Box

An Adirondack Outlaw Survivor Approach

To Living Life Forward

     We’ve all heard the phrase “Think outside the box.”  It’s all too frequently offered as a euphemism for innovative thinking or creative problem solving.  It’s even been used by many “experts” as a foundation philosophy for a long list of bestselling books.  

      In the current moment, humankind finds itself facing a daunting array of existential challenges.  From pollution, poverty, climate change, violence, racism, to political extremism, raging wildfires, the ever-present threat of armed conflict, famine, and yes, even COVID.  No matter the issue, we clearly struggle to find innovative solutions that help us forge a unified path forward.

     I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m long past tired of elected “leaders” and self- proclaimed “experts” who continue to offer “solutions” that fail miserably to solve any problems.  It’s the blind leading the blind.  It’s a point man on patrol with no map and no compass. As the old saying goes; “Those who can’t do, teach.”  The problem lately to me seems to be, the rest of us follow. Solutions governed by greed, ignorance, intolerance, self-interest and politics, leading us all off the cliff, like hungry herds of shorn sheep.

     This frustrates me to no end, as I watch my children and grandchildren’s path towards the future being mapped out by morons.

    I’ve survived cancer three times, living life through it all battling multiple sclerosis. My cancer docs say I beat long odds.  I’ve been labeled an “MS anomaly” by my neurologist. Other folks can put any label on me that they choose. These life battles have taught me who I truly am; an Adirondack Outlaw survivor.

     I won’t lie, accomplishing this anew every day has been no simple feat.  I must continually assess, learn, adapt, depend on the support of others to face everchanging realities. Through it all, I’ve realized that survival doesn’t come in a “box.”  Life’s not a “Happy Meal.”

     Here’s an example; cancer took my tongue. As a result, for the past fifteen years, I’ve survived amongst humans without consuming their food. Stop and contemplate that for one moment.   Suddenly, I had a problem; living life forward in a world devoid of food everything; bacon and egg breakfasts, family dinners, restaurants, taverns, mom’s apple pie, fast-food restaurants, grocery stores, hamburgers, steaks on the grill, a thirst-quenching beer or Coke.  I had to reconstruct life with no “Happy Meal.”

     So, instead of focusing on FOOD, on the things I could NOT have, I turned my life’s path forward to embracing the things that I COULD.

     I COULD embrace life with my wife and our children. I COULD fill that black hole food void with other things. With the support of those around me, I COULD fill life’s void with camping, hunting, fishing, collecting baseball cards, tail wagging fur ball Paw Patrol expeditions, planting trees, hand digging ponds on my land, writing stories about all of it.

  Cancer forced me to think differently. I had to get beyond thinking “outside the box”. Cancer forced me to realize; LIFE HAS NO “BOX”.  So, I discarded mine. My very survival hinged on it.

     As humankind faces ongoing existential challenges, I urge everyone to adopt that philosophy.  Instead of trying to salvage life’s “Happy Meal”, ditch the free toy, redefine the menu. Above all else:


Our survival depends on it.


Until Our Trails Cross Again: