It was a sign to make you stop the car. “Adult Beverages and Ax Throwing.” A natural combination if ever there was one.
I have thrown an ax once or twice. It’s harder than it looks. And I have indulged in adult beverages on many occasions. It’s easier than it looks. What I have never done is both these things at the same time. Before I saw the sign, it never occurred to me this might be a good or even an acceptable idea. Now it seemed irresistible.
As an aside, let me explain this sign was not in the Miami Valley. It was in a tourist spot southeast of here … a spot many people visit on vacation. People on vacation do odd things, things they would not dream of doing when at their own homes. They parasail, for instance. Folks who normally are fairly adamant about keeping both feet on the ground will go on vacation and immediately have an epiphany such as “Do you know what would be great? It would be great if we had total strangers, most of whom speak a language with which we are not conversant, strap us to a giant parachute and then launch us from a boat of uncertain provenance out over a very large ocean. And we could pay them to do this and then give them a tip at the end. That’s what would be great. After parasailing, we can board a huge, unstable-looking vessel with the words ‘Zip Boat’ painted on the side and we can let someone who appears to be twelve years old drive us at full throttle around the same ocean, making wild 360 degree turns at approximately Mach 3. Sure there are 7 foot waves and sure they ran out of crash helmets an hour ago, but we’re on vacation and are obligated to act like this.”
As I entered the bar/potential blood-letting venue, I could see other people inquiring about throwing an ax. A woman who looked as though she explained this every hour of every day of every week related with all the enthusiasm you might expect that “They’re not really axes. They’re hatchets.” She said this as though it made a huge difference in the outcome. They guy at the counter doing the asking looked at the instruments on hand and opined, “They’re not hatchets. They’re tomahawks.” I swear I am not making this up. Not being an aficionado of airborne lethal weapons I was not inclined to argue with him but this guy needed no encouragement at all. Apparently it has something to do with the length or the curvature of the handle.
Because I am a total neophyte I did what writers have always done when faced with either an unknown subject, a desire to be completely accurate, or a need to compose at least eight hundred words; I Googled ax throwing. The rules are simple enough. But because Google never just Googles, I also found these helpful sidebar questions: How much do you tip for an ax throwing session? How many calories do you burn while ax throwing? And, my personal favorite … Is ax throwing safe?
The website I Googled, and therefore the world authority, indicated most ax throwing establishment owners think it is a bad idea to drink and throw. Why, that wouldn’t be safe. That wouldn’t be following the guidelines of the World Ax Throwing League. This does not, however, preclude at least one of them from posting the sign that impelled me to stop the car.
Speaking of the guidelines of the World Ax Throwing League, I’d like to share a few of the most important ones with you. The best one is one that should be adopted by every sport in the universe, starting with Little League: Non-players do not have the right to argue or challenge any calls made by the league coach or referee. The rules include a very lengthy explanation of the names for different parts of the ax/hatchet/tomahawk, nearly all of which are human body parts. Irony lives. The second best part is where it is explained that if the referee holds up one finger, that means one. If he/she holds up two fingers, that means two. If three … three. If four, guess what? Four. The detail was agonizing but as a non-player I didn’t feel qualified to question it.
The final section of the rules addresses injuries. If an injury occurs in ax throwing my feeling is it’s going to be a doozy, possibly involving limb reattachment surgery. The thrower and league official have two minutes to decide if an injury is too severe for the thrower to continue, assuming the heads of both these people are still attached.
So, for an exciting and memorable night out, try ax throwing. Bring your friends. Or, better yet, your enemies.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for Miami Valley Today.