Of course I say that having been, as a kid of 21, self-centered and fairly idiotic. And I say it after losing
That's Krakauer's point -- a lot of feckless and reckless boys grow up to be good, even wise, men. Others die young and leave shattered hearts. The difference between dying from bad choices like Alex McCandless, and surviving equally bad choices like young Jon Krakauer, is often mere chance.
The true tragedy is not, in the end, the young life cut short. For these men that, at least, was a choice. The tragedy is all the broken hearts left behind. I feel for Alex's parents and loved ones.
 It's unfair to claim Brian was less sensible than me, since we really don't know what happened to him after he left the Whistler Youth Hostel in the summer of 2002. Maybe he did fall in a crevasse atop the Rainbow Mountain glacier. Maybe not. We don't know.