"I was one screwed up man when I got out of the Marines. I...finally discovered compassion, love, and a genuine deep interest in all of us."

The author begins his story trolling—which is a difficult method of fishing that controls the quality of fish caught and kept—in Southeast Alaska. Throughout his life, he suffers various setbacks including having an alcoholic and abusive father, struggling with poverty, hiding a painful hernia to stay active in the Marines, experiencing rejection as a Marine pilot due to insufficient lung capacity and bad teeth, and contracting malaria in Korea.

Realizing he is a romantic realist and wanting to escape the military life, he travels to British Columbia. His adventures there include building a camper, getting sick from a mosquito bite, holding various manual labor jobs, and making new friends. After these events he goes back to school to become an engineer. Further travels take him to Alaska to work with the Federal Bureau of Mines as a driller, where he ruptures a disk, goes into a coma, and is subsequently left unemployed. While in the hospital someone suggests jigging halibut for a career, and the story progresses to trolling in Alaska and meeting his wife.

The theme which resonates throughout Hood’s story is the struggle of a man overcoming obstacles to find satisfaction in his life’s work. Relationships in the author’s life are clearly important and imperative to his life’s choices, as evidenced by the detailed descriptions of friends like Oscar, Dave, Jack, Frasier, and Janelle. The author acquires compassion, love, and a deep interest in other people throughout his journey, and this helps him truly discover the best way to live his life.

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