Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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On Wanting Everything

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pp. 3-22

I thought I was as happy as I had any reason to expect to be. I was living in Alaska, teaching college English, making more money than I’d ever dreamed of making. I was just sitting in my office minding my own business. If anybody had asked me I might have said I was free of want, free of desire. ...

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The Age of Imperfection

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pp. 23-34

In the middle of the winter, between midnight and one-thirty in the morning, I have gone to my basement, taken up my brush and varnish, and done a piss-poor job of renishing my bamboo fly rod. It’s not just the varnish. In fact, the varnish itself comes out looking fairly good. ...

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Useful Tools

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pp. 35-46

It seems like every Sunday there’s a Sears sale flier stuck in the newspaper. On the back page, past the ads for polyester clothing, kitchen appliances, and snow tires come the Craftsman tools. There are always a few specialty tools, vise-grips, torque wrenches and such, with their own individual pictures. ...

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On His Slowness

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pp. 47-60

When I started shoveling, I thought I could get all that snow up in an hour. Soon it would be two hours, and I was not nished yet. Why was this? Why have I always thought I should be able to do everything I do faster: run faster, ski faster, even read and write faster? ...

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Obituary With Bamboo Fly Rod

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pp. 61-72

Here’s a story Dave Stark told me. Once he and another guy drove over Murphy Dome to do some fishing on the lower Chatanika. On the west side of the dome the road drops down into a permafrost bog. That’s where they got balled up in the mud on that one-lane road too skinny to turn around in. ...