Throw Axes Into Plywood
The pursuit of unproductive fun
In college, I ordered a set of throwing knives and axes. Why? Obviously they were absolutely critical to my education. What else would my friends and I do while drinking in my apartment? It seemed only natural to compete by throwing them into the spare piece of plywood in the corner. What, did you go to college for four whole years and NOT get a throwing knife stuck in your foot? What a waste of your time and money.
Buying them was the patriotic thing to do. Impulse buying items of dubious actual utility has got to be like 80% of our economic activity. I know that sounds right because I took an economics course in that same college and it seems like something they probably said. Really, an alternative slogan for America might look like: “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Buying Pointless Shit.”
They were a great investment. I was ahead of my time. If I was really smart, I would have foreseen the axe-throwing as a nighttime activity craze. I’d probably be a millionaire or something. Instead I got too focused on boring things like having a career and figuring out what the word deductible means. By now I have (mostly) come to terms with my entrepreneurial miss.
Frankly, throwing axes into plywood is just a fun thing to do. Hell, I was also pretty decent at it. It just didn’t need to be a huge part of my life. So often though, this is the exact opposite of how we interact with fun hobbies. Enter this tweet:
I’ll ask again for the people in the back: Why is everything in this fucking country a skill that has to be mastered?
Did you get your recommended 10,000 steps today? Drink 8 glasses of premium filtered water? Log every single one of your calories? Are your REM, light, and deep sleep numbers in the proper ratio? If you’re not sure, you might just be a bad American.
Hobbies don’t just stay hobbies. They become work. Optimization of everything, including ‘hacking your calendar’ to fill every possible minute, is recommended and encouraged. Americans aren’t programmed for anything else. Hell, most of us are paid so damn poorly that we feel obligated to turn our interests into side hustles, just to feel like we aren’t wasting a moment or missing something.
I don’t think it’s always been this way. A brief investigation (using my memory of history class) shows that there’s no mention of George Washington spending time obsessively monitoring his step count while chasing the British. Lincoln had unoptimized naps and STILL managed to win the Civil War. Kennedy did his best to keep Marilyn Monroe and his bevy of ladies on the side - he knew the dangers of letting your hobbies creep up and consume you.
Maybe it’s written in a secret portion of the Constitution they forgot to tell me about in school. It’s probably the same section where the current crop of phony Supreme Court Justices find justification for their awful rulings.
I find it more likely that they’re just shitty people and we’ve all forgotten how to just enjoy the world around us due to our fast-paced lifestyles.
I’m guilty of it too. Yesterday I burned 509 of the 350 calories my Oura ring asked me for. I can produce years worth of blood tests and urinalysis results on command. Pages of Excel sheets that paint a picture of someone with pretty good, not perfect, health. Of course the biggest example is taking something that I really enjoyed doing, videography and editing, and turning it into my entire career.
Blame smartphones, social media, violence on TV, or whatever else. It’s trendy: that’s what everyone else is blaming. And sure, they’re probably part of the problem. All the smartphones reading this should definitely feel bad about themselves.
The people reading shouldn’t feel bad though. It’s happening to all of us and, at least in my school, there was no class named Avoiding the Pitfalls of Modern American Consumerism 101. If anything, the curriculum was geared toward the opposite outcome. The best we can probably do is to recognize it’s happening and slowly instill new habits in ourselves.
Habits are slow though, and in the meantime, I’ve been doing my part to continue ordering pointless objects. A few years ago, it was time for a harmonica. I remembered playing one as a kid, felt nostalgic, and figured it’d be easy to learn. It turns out, playing an instrument is uhhh kinda difficult. Who knew? I bought a book to help me learn: Harmonica for Dummies. Seriously. I quickly gave up. Learning the harmonica riff in Piano Man just isn’t in the cards for me. What I CAN do with it is belt out something that sounds half-decent:
At least, I think it sounds good. I’ve had friends say the same, so I’m just going to keep blissfully assuming they weren’t lying. So sometimes, I just play the harmonica. Even when it’s just me listening. Because that’s all a hobby really needs to be.
3 Funny Things
1 - NFL + Bedroom Talk
The NFL regular season is right around the corner. What better way to start getting back in the mood than some bawdy bedroom talk from the announcers? Kick back and enjoy yourself some fun innuendo.
2 - Bentley vs Zastava
The weird sexualization thing continues as I present this parody of a Bentley ad. I don’t know if it’s really an ad or just this woman’s favorite hobby. I do know the dude’s ‘stache and beleaguered pick-up truck make this a fun contrast.
3 - Chiropractor Content
For the uninitiated, there is an entire world online where chiropractors just post videos of themselves cracking people’s joints. I have been sucked into this world before because I am definitely strange and enjoy the sound/feeling of my own joints popping. These chiros go WAY overboard though in the quest for views and today, we watch this guy mock them instead.
Hope you enjoyed this edition of FWE and have a great week. Also, FWE is a weird acronym….
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