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My View: Bucket list, itchy feet have taken me all over

By John R. Lang

Mischief energizes me in a weird way.

When I was a mere lad, in the 10th grade at Royalton-Hartland High School in Middleport, I got into some trouble. I will leave it at that, though I will say that the principal, Mr. Sanderson, even took a ride out to my folks’ house. So, yes, I was in trouble. We had a woodshed on Hollenbeck Road and I should have ended up behind it.

But after the dust settled, my mother told me to make up a list of things I wanted to accomplish in my life. It was a bucket list before there were bucket lists.

I wish I still had a copy of that thing, but here are the things I can remember being on there:

Climb Mount Marcy.

Run a marathon.

Sky dive.

Scuba dive.

Be rich.

Compete as an athlete on a winning team at a high level.

Marry a beautiful woman.

Own my own business.

Be famous.

Run for and hold a public office.

Figure out a way to travel all 50 United States and actually get paid to do it.

OK, I will admit it’s mostly juvenile stuff. But hey, I was in 10th grade.

I like to think, however, that if there’s one asset I have, it’s that I am not afraid of much, and when I want something, I will attempt it with everything I’ve got.

Having turned 55 last month, I realized I’ve done just about everything on my list. And I am kind of working on the public office thing. I can see myself as the mayor of a small town in Montana someday.

In 1980, I started my DJ business to see where it could take me. I loved music, being the center of attention, meeting people and traveling. Not being afraid of self-promotion and a lack of sleep, it worked. I have traveled and gotten paid to travel all over the country, and even out of the country, as a DJ.

With that being said, I always tried to attain the next step and politely ask for what I really wanted. Had I not sent out tapes and resumes back in those days, I never would have gotten the great jobs I had as an entertainer for two different cruise lines.

As a U.S. rugby referee, I have been privileged to work at a bunch of other great destinations. So, as of now, I have traveled through and to 47 states. Working in most of them, I have gotten paid to travel. The only three states remaining are Alaska, Maine and Rhode Island.

I know my mother thought I was crazy with most of the items on my bucket list. But like I said, when I want something, I really want something.

Now don’t get me wrong; I love my home in the Town of Lockport and feel very blessed to have almost 20 acres on the escarpment. I also truly love Buffalo and Western New York because of the hardiness of most of the people. I believe that a less-than-stellar climate and economy can make for better people with better character. But I still have  incredibly itchy feet.

So, after being asked to referee at a rugby tournament in Alaska, I will begin putting that together within the next couple of years.

But first, my beautiful wife and I will soon start planning for a weekend of seafood and chowder. A road trip to Maine and Rhode Island sounds great to me. Maybe I’ll bring my sound system or maybe I’ll call around and get a rugby game together.

Who knows what kind of mischief I can get into next?

John R. Lang, owner and president of Gothic Hill Entertainment, splits his time between Lockport and Missoula, Mont.
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