KARENS and NEALS!!! by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: April 4, 2024

It’s tough to find fishing and hunting buddies. There are many reasons for avoiding certain names but… I don’t know if it’s a millennial, GenZ, or some other cultural label, but we tend to have friends that fit their names. 

My parents named me “Grant” after a Civil War General. My middle name is “Douglas” after the airplane manufacturer that made the B-17, that my dad flew as a WW2 bombardier in. My Mom was a Civil War historian. I like my name. I have only met a few other Grants in my life. Most of them have been in Montana. After 40 years in education, I never taught a “Grant”. I did have to teach plenty of Karens, Neals, and….

What makes a great hunting/fishing buddy and friend? Great friends come in all shapes, sizes, and names. They are great company, laugh at our jokes, generous, trustworthy, and thoughtful. You can have open conversations and opinions. Time spent together is memorable and fun. Tagging a critter or netting a huge fish is a precious and intimate experience. 

Some of my friends have had names that fit the “Karen, Neal “category. That’s why I give my hunting and fishing friends nicknames. Their sporting names relate to their quirks, habits, skills, or characteristics.” Meatstick Dave” brings jerky and meat sticks when we fish. “Handy Randy” can fix just about anything. My buddy Frank was an awesome camp cook, so his name was “Cookie”. My buddy Darryl is a master with a black powder gun, so his name is” Hot Nipple”. My brother Curt always must be in charge, so I call him “King Curt”.  “Amanda Montana” is simply a beautiful and wonderful Montana girl that loves life. It’s easier to remember nicknames. I have never guided or fished/ hunted with a Karen or Neal. 

Karens and Neals are a rare and annoying breed. They tend to be obnoxious, middle aged, pushy, demanding, needy, judgy, critical, and whiny. I am sure that there are Karens and Neals that are not in this category, but we all know a few for sure. To be friends with them, you need to adapt, adjust, ignore, and accommodate, or not have them as friends. 

There are also Jeff’s, Kyles, Nancys, Terrys, Gregs, Kevins, Roy’s, Steves, Chads, and Richards!

I am no expert when it comes to names. When my son was born, I wanted to name him “Forrest.” A quaint Civil War, old school name. Different and unique. This was before Forrest Gump and the dethroning of Gen. Forrest from Civil War history. Imagine the grief he would have had. Instead, I named him “Kyle”. Thank God, I didn’t name him Hanky! 

Some of our quirky friends are fine except our spouse, or other friends, don’t like them. To save a marriage or keep a camp/home happy we need to pick and choose. Be patient, and open minded. It’s always easy to find flaws or criticize others. This fails to make friends and is just what Karen’s and Neals do. 

To have a friend, you need to be a friend. Otherwise, you will not have many friends. If you don’t like their birth name, brand them with a nickname. Model the attitude and behavior that you like and prefer. Everyone can learn something new, especially when we fish and hunt. 

I am sure there are a few Karens and Neals that hunt, fish, and can be fun!

Montana Grant

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