Some men or women have a simple philosophy on life. Basically, they murder it.
There are those who amble along, calmly and happily going with the flow. Others make seismic waves and plenty of them.
Peter Bush may be 83, but the positive energy that exudes from this extraordinary man reminds me of lava flowing from an active volcano. I know plenty of 50 year-olds without half his zest for life.
Bush long since carved out a reputation as one of New Zealand's most eminent photographers. But to label this unique character merely "a snapper", as we know them in our trade, is wholly misleading.
Ask yourself if you have in your memory locker even one of the exploits he has in his.
He once climbed Japan's Fujiyama mountain. Why?
"Well, it was there and I wanted to take some good pictures. We stayed at a lovely little inn by a small lake down from the mountain. It could have been 100 or 200 years ago - some kids scrubbed our backs in a house 3-400 years old in which not a single nail had been used."
By way of complete contradiction, he once had the striking experience of going on patrol with the British Army on the seething streets of Belfast during the Northern Ireland Troubles of the 1970s. "Those sour, stinking streets" he called them.
Then there was Malaya, where he went in the second half of the 1950s after signing up for military service at the age of 25 in 1956. Why on earth did he do that?
"I had wandered the world already by then and I was bored in the Department of Agriculture back at home." Fair enough.
He arrived in Malaya with the Emergency in full swing and, in typically rumbustious manner, Bush climbed in, officially as PRO for the New Zealand 1st Battalion in support, as he puts it, "of forces trying to stop the red tide".
Mind you, that didn't always mean doing what the military authorities demanded. There came the day when Bush and his fellow squaddies were lined up by the Colonel on parade. Trouble was, an incredible sight suddenly caught Bush's eye. Down the road came a motor car with a huge, dead tiger strapped to the back of it.
"Not a sight you see every day in Lambton Quay, Wellington" said Bush, with his trademark deadpan humour.
Ignoring military protocol, Bush grabbed his camera and ran after the car. The fact that the only sound in his ears was the outraged cries of his Colonel, demanding "Bush, Bush, come back here this minute" was an irrelevance. Bush got close enough for an extraordinary picture - nothing else mattered.
In the jungle, one night, a tiger crashed through the thatched roof of a shack, seized a woman villager and disappeared into the darkness.
Bush heard about it only later but the next time a tiger struck, he was a lot closer. Radio operator Frank Burdett had his headphones clamped to his ears one night in camp when he felt something on his shoulder. Turning around, he found himself confronting a tiger.
The animal bit him through the shoulder, slung Burdett over its back and headed off, as its victim screamed the place down. Colleagues grabbed their weapons and set off in pursuit into the undergrowth.
By the time they found Burdett, abandoned by the animal because of the firing and also because part of his clothing had caught on a tree stump, he had also been bitten through the hand and a paw had torn most of the scalp off the New Zealander's head.
Burdett was airlifted out by helicopter to the large military base at Kuala Lumpur. Yet before he was flown out, Burdett had made an extraordinary call to HQ.
"We have a man here badly mauled by a tiger" was the message.
"How badly" was the response.
"He is dying" said the caller.
"How do you know" HQ inquired?
"Because it's me" Burdett said.
But this being Malaya, the chopper couldn't land in the jungle. So saws were dropped and with Burdett sedated by morphine, his fellow squaddies set to, hacking a clearing. Eventually, the chopper got in and he was taken out.
At times of crisis such as this, you could generally rely on the cool, accurate judgment of British officers. One of them on the scene spoke to Bush. "A bad job this, Bush, eh what? He'll be dead by dawn; the shock will kill him. The European is not made to withstand this shock. With the filth in the tiger's claws, he has probably got gangrene already."
But when Bush next saw Burdett, he was sitting up in bed, chatting. He survived the experience. But Bush nearly didn't.
"I took a picture of him all chewed up by this tiger and sent it to the Asian newspapers who published it. But I was on the carpet when it appeared. The Colonel said to me 'What the devil are people we want to recruit going to think when they see this?'
"I could see where he was coming from."
Bush went everywhere ... to Malaya, to Canada (by ship) and then to America where he found adventures at every turn in all sorts of places from California to Chicago, Virginia to Vermont. You see, he's that sort of guy, and still is.
In the US, where for a time he wrapped newspapers for the Chicago Tribune and cooked waffles in a restaurant, he caught pneumonia and found himself being treated by a man who had once been physician to the US World War II General, George S. Patton. He paid the man's hefty fees by agreeing to a deal - the physician's daughter wanted to become a photographer and Bush gave her lessons. "Teach her the job and we'll skip the fees," he drawled. Bush accepted with alacrity.
Although he recalls fondly hiking and tramping over the Sierra Nevada mountain range and still cites San Francisco as the city of his dreams, perhaps he realised America wasn't quite the place for him after one day when he helped a black maid clean the windows at a home where he was staying and the neighbours complained about it. This, remember, was America in 1952.
When he left the army and returned to New Zealand, he went to work on the Gisborne Herald and a whole future career as a newspaper photographer opened up for him.
To some, he became the nation's No 1 rugby photographer, but Bush's career has covered a vastly wider canvas than just a sporting element.
He has photographed Prime Ministers and protesters as well as prop forwards, travelled with the Pope (John Paul II) and taken shots as diverse as marooned, dying ships and golden sunsets. His genius has been the mix of aesthetic beauty, poignancy and sheer unorthodoxy in his work. A Peter Bush photograph is never less than captivating.
"I started on the New Zealand Herald as a cadet photographer when I was 17, after working at the freezing works in Auckland.
"But before that, I bought a Box Brownie for 12s 6d one day, and began looking through it to see images. That feeling of excitement has never left me. I will never stop taking pictures."
His favourite venue nowadays is a school sports field where he can watch what he calls "good, honest wholesome rugby being played by young people filled with an enthusiasm and love for the game".
"To me, that says everything about youth for they are full of courage and imagination," he says.
"They haven't yet been contaminated by coaches, they haven't been taught all the dirty, short tricks."
You can't accuse Peter Bush, undeniably one of the great men of his profession and a huge credit to this country, of being lost in the melancholic mists of time. He's too busy living in the present for all that nostalgia guff. Yet he does lament the decline of one particular tribe: the characters. One, to whom he was especially close, was the former British sports writer Chris Lander, who died a few years back.
"Most people I know nowadays want to work in banks," he says, incredulity in his voice. "Someone once advised me to work in a bank or a shoe shop, when I was young. I'm glad I wasn't listening at the time."