Welcome To The Thunderdome
The town where I live is somewhat touristy, especially now that the leaves are turning and the crisp autumn scent of the upcoming primaries hangs in the air. Because of the season my town puts a lot of effort into making itself visitor friendly, which is why I make a lot of effort to get the hell out of here whenever I can.
One of my favorite places to go is a secluded pond behind where I work. My kids and I used to ride our bikes there during the summer to go fishing and to have cookouts and campfires. And even though the pond is great and the fishing is amazing, what makes this place truly spectacular is what lies beyond the pond. It’s a place I like to call…The Thunderdome.
Now, The Thunderdome isn’t for everyone. In fact, I’m fairly certain I’m the only person who hangs out there. Half brush yard, half quarry; The Thunderdome is a vast, open expanse of churned up dirt, rocks and dumped debris from God only knows where. But I love this place with a passion that I can only describe as, “spread my ashes here” will-worthy. For someone as solitary as I am The Thunderdome is a close to Heaven on earth as it gets.
Before today the last time I was there was almost two years ago. Out of nowhere I developed problems with my joints that made it almost impossible for me to move, so any activity that wasn’t absolutely necessary to function was abandoned. Without knowing what an ultra active person I am in real life, I don’t think I can adequately describe how devastating this was to me. The one good thing to come out of that time was my book, a project I knew was necessary to keep me from coming mentally unhinged.
As time went on I managed to get some sort of control over my health to the point that now I’m nearly back to normal. Naturally the very first thing I did was head out into The Thunderdome, specifically to the tire pile I walked past for years, and started stacking tires. In the BEFORE picture you’ll see two tire piles; the pile to the right contains tires with rims, the pile to left are rimless. In the AFTER picture you’ll see what I did with the rimless tires. I’d also like you to notice how it looks like there are more tires in the finished pile than what you initially see. That’s because they were buried, people.
I’m going to describe New Hampshire soil in one word. SLOP. It’s a mixture of wet sand and desiccated granite that acts like quick sand when trying to lift a half-sunk hundred pound tire out of it. So remembering everything I could about levers and fulcrums and Archimedes I grabbed some rocks and downed branches and managed to manuever all the tires out of the mire fairly easily. All except for one. Out of the two hours and seven minutes (yes, I timed it) I spent stacking tires, over an hour and forty minutes was dedicated to one tire alone. I threw everything I could think of at it but it wouldn’t budge. As I stood in the rain (yes, it was raining) staring down at a 12ply, 40 inch tire sunk in the slop, the words I’d said to my kids for years came back to haunt me.
“If you’ve got a job to do, just do it.”
So I gathered my Italian compulsion to conquer, my Irish bull-headedness, borrowed some Greek ingenuity and with German music on my ipod for inspiration I dug down under the tire and finally lifted it straight up to standing. That’s when a HUGE spider crawled across the back of my hand, and remembering something I read about moving rocks and spider bites I freaked out and dropped the tire. On my foot.
Even though my hands are raw and I have bruises everywhere and probably a few broken toes it was the best day ever, because I did a job I set out to do. I was so proud of myself in fact that when I got home I dug out the book my kid Prince Charming keeps to jot down quotes and sayings he hears that influence him to add my two cents worth. As I flipped to the page that had his last quote; a recent one from Theodore Roosevelt, something caught my eye. On the top of the page before my kid had written:
“If you’ve got a job to do, just do it.” – Mom
BEST. DAY. EVER.