Decisions continued

Thomas L. Petty, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, 
University of Colorado

Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)


National Lung Health Education Program
A collaborative project with



HealthOne Center
1850 High Street
Denver, CO 80218
Phone: 303 839 6755
Fax: 303 832 8137

Decisions Continued

May 1996
PEP Pioneers
Second Wind
Torrance, California

Dear Friends;

Last month I presented the pros and cons of doing something that I should do, i.e., attend an annual black tie dinner, a requirement of continued membership in a small but esteemed scientific society in Denver, or the alternative which was to go trout fishing for the first time this year in a beautiful front range stream known as the South Platte River with two of my favorite fishing companions.  Attending the dinner was a requirement; going fishing on a sunny spring day was an imperative.

Naturally I chose fishing, throwing propriety to the winds.  We had a very nice picnic alongside the stream and prepared to string up our fly rods, then the winds got their revenge.  Dark clouds gathered and thunder and lightening appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.  Just after setting up and getting my boots on, I walked over to the stream edge as the rain hit.  Quickly the rain turned to heavy snow as the temperature dropped more than 25 degrees.  Several casts into the snowy river yielded not one strike.  Was I being punished?  Of course not!  It has wisely been said that the gods of time do not subtract from man’s existence time spent fishing.

Later, the clouds parted and the sun appeared again.  More casts to the shadows I could make out with glare proof glasses which represented trout feeding on the bottom also produced nothing.  My friend, Dave, caught a nice native rainbow in full spawning colors.  It was released, of course.

Although we could have cut the trip short because of the weather and I could have rushed home to change into evening attire thus meeting my obligation, I elected to stay on the stream a few more hours.  It has been wisely said that the worst day fishing is better than the best day working, and I began to feel that attending the dinner obligation was more like work, than fishing.

The message of this story is as follows.  Whenever possible, do what you want to do rather than what you should do.  This may require the risk of taking chances, but so what.  Fishing is always worth it.

I will be in touch next month.

     Sincerely yours,

    Thomas Petty, MD

Last update:
9 April 2002