Friday, December 30, 2022

An Axe to Wind Up and Throw

So we spent the afternoon throwing axes.

Not at each other.

We’ve been in a generally slow-motion pattern since Christmas. Lauren went up to her apartment to serve out her Covid isolation, which ended today, since she had more freedom to move about there. Kim, Oliver, and I have been at home working on the Christmas letter, watching various things on television (Glass Onion: thumbs up!) and trying to solve the 1000-piece puzzle of the Sistine Chapel that I got Kim for her birthday, which may or may not have been a kind thing to have done.

But with Lauren coming home today and the afternoon open for Plans, well, hanging around the place just wasn’t an option.

Fortunately, Kim knew of a place that would let you release your Inner Lumberjack for a small fee. It’s a barn-like sports-pub that has three big-screen televisions over a bar that’s roughly twenty paces long. The ceiling is a good thirty feet overhead, and at one end there are two of those digital golf driving range things where you can take real golf clubs and whack at a ping pong ball and the mainsail-sized screen in front of you reacts as if you’re at St. Andrews. You get used to the whacks eventually. There are a couple of dart boards off to one side, and in the back there are several mostly enclosed spaces where the general public is encouraged to try throwing forestry equipment at a wooden target.

They make you watch a ten-minute video before you can actually start the mayhem. It’s long on technique tips and rather short on safety information, which I thought was a bit odd, though given that my performance ended up looking a lot like like this perhaps that was more on the ball than I gave it credit for.

Also, you have to sign a Release From Liability that absolves the bar from any responsibility for any injury you might sustain at any point in this process, up to and including the bartender sneaking up behind you and stabbing you with a harpoon.

So we signed.

We also chose names for ourselves to go on the electronic scoreboard. You can choose any of the axe-related names that they offer (“Polearm”) or make up one of your own (I went with “Axl Rosacia”), or you can go with more prosaic options (“Beast 1” or “Beast 2”). You get your choice of target images, which are projected onto the wooden target, and even if you pick just the Standard Version it alternates between three or four options so it stays interesting.

We spent an hour happily clanking axes off the wall.

Kim has done this before. She has a crew of Science Babes who go out periodically and do Fun Things, and sometime earlier this year they ended up in this place. You could tell which of us had the experience.

I’ve got good aim. I probably hit the bullseye more often than not, in fact – it’s a big bullseye, you’re not all that far from it, and an axe has a lot of surface area to hit it with. But I could never really get the rotation down and it doesn’t count unless the axe sticks in the target. Out of about fifty throws I probably got it to stick maybe half a dozen times. Oliver’s throws were similar. Lauren, it turns out, is rather a natural at this and I will keep this in mind for the future.

But Kim won most of the time, as you would expect.

Go us!

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