Everyone knows there’s ‘normal’ and then there’s ‘Alaskan.’ In fact, just before I unleashed my Alaskan in the middle of Tokyo, I once had a Colorado friend (who’s married to an Alaskan) say to me, “That’s it! I know that look! All of you Alaskans get that look in your eye right before you’re about to do something crazy.” Truer words about the heart of being an Alaskan through and through have never been said. Here’s some important things to know about friendship with one of the world’s rarer breeds:

1.

A normal friend will order the “fresh catch-of-the-day” crab dish excited it’s the daily special menu item.
An Alaskan friend will conduct a full on inquisition into exactly which species of crab and from whence it came before ordering something else because it’s not ‘Alaskan King Crab’.

2.

A normal friend will have a cookout and use pre-made 100% ground beef burger patties and Oscar Meyer or Ball Park packaged hot dogs.
An Alaskan friend will serve up ground moose meat burgers and spicy reindeer sausage― that they hunted themselves.

3.

A normal friend will cancel life if there’s an inch of snow on the ground.
An Alaskan friend will plan a full day out in a snow storm and wonder what the big deal is.

4.

A normal friend will get stuck, assess the situation, call a towing service and cry afterwards about how expensive it was.
An Alaskan friend will assess the situation, call their closest fellow Alaskan and say, “Bring the two ton, the chain, a bag of gravel and a couple of shovels. Oh―and don’t forget the head lamps this time.”

5.

A normal friend will go on a trail hike with a walking stick and bear bell tied to the top to scare away bears and other big animals.
An Alaskan friend won’t step foot into the trail without at least one can of bear spray (and preferably a gun) in anticipation things could go extremely south while they’re out.

6.

A normal friend reschedules if the weather forecast on a camping trip weekend is cold and crappy.
An Alaskan friend will pack an extra tarp, spare wool socks and go anyway because they know they’ll have the whole place to themselves and it will be glorious.

7.

A normal friend calls the repair man, plumber, electrician, or painter to do a job around the house.
An Alaskan friend walks into their garage, pulls out all the tools and supplies then, gets busy doing the job themselves.

8.

A normal friend spends an afternoon drinking beer in a boat, watching bobbers float on the surface of the lake and calls that ‘fishing.’
An Alaskan friend ties their own flies, drives hours to get to their favorite river, hoofs it back to the best fishing hole, sets up shop and stays there till they can walk away with their quota of world class ‘wild Alaskan salmon.’

9.

A normal friend takes their dogs for a walk around the block.
An Alaskan friend hitches their dogs to a sled and has the dogs pull them for miles into the middle of nowhere.

10.

In summer, a normal friend rises to daylight in the morning and sleeps to dark at night.
An Alaskan friend rises to daylight and sleeps to daylight. That is if they bother to sleep at all because, “Hey! Summer’s way too short to miss so much as a second of it.”

11.

In summer, a normal friend grows a garden of nicely sized vegetables and herbs for their family.
An Alaskan friend wonders whether or not their vegetables will grow large enough to win any state or Guinness Book of World Records.

12.

A normal friend walks, bikes or uses public transportation to get places leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible.
An Alaskan friend leaves their vehicle running the whole time when doing errands during the coldest parts of winter so they’ll return home without stalling-out or their battery dying.

13.

A normal friend walks into a coffee shop or cafe to sit for a few and enjoy their cuppa Joe.
An Alaskan friend insists on using the drive through― parking is so last century.

14.

A normal friend gets super excited about warm weather fireworks displays.
An Alaskan friend gets super excited about campfires, smores and DIY sparklers.

15.

A normal friend helps if they happen to have free time.
An Alaskan friend helps regardless of whether or not it’s convenient. They know the day will come when they’ll need help, too and they’re paying it forward in advance.

16.

A normal friend is good fun to hang with for movie and pizza night.
An Alaskan friend is good to hang with in an apocalypse because they are walking Swiss Army Knives and self-sufficiency machines.

17.

A normal friend thinks twice before doing something potentially life threatening and just says, “No.”
An Alaskan friend says, “Nah… should be fine.” Does it anyway and becomes their own first responder when the blood starts gushing.

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