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Two Idiots and a Chain saw
Returning to Los Angeles after ten days in Yosemite, a good friend and I decided to "go west", to move from the big city to the land where men are made. In this case it was slightly north, but, for the two of us, it was a world away from civilization. Two weeks later and high in the Sierras, we were in man country. Despite the insistence of our bewildered wives to have our heads examined, we settled in to settling down. Keep in mind, that in order to live and be accepted in man country, you are expected to do the things which the men who came before you did. At the very least, you had better look like you belong because in man country, men have by-passed the process of evolution. They may not crawl on all fours, but they will eat anything that does.
Fearful of being eaten by anyone, we bought plaid shirts and jeans with no name. We wore suspenders that didn't do anything and big belt buckles that did even less. We bought steal toed, all leather, testosterone impregnated, kick your ass boots. We grew beards. Not the little manicured beards, or some night at the opera kind of beard. We grew man beards. The kind that froze in the winter and dressed themselves in icicles that didn't melt until Spring. Beards that could survive in the wilderness on their own. Of course, we also needed man tools like a chain saw. In man country you need a chain saw so that you can slay the trees that you will burn in the great fireplaces made of timber and stone. Then you can have your women on great bear skins spread before great fires which burn the slayed timber you have retrieved from the wild.
Well, we left early one morning and headed for the big trees. With "man saw" in hand we confronted the shivering wild to bag a tree that would authenticate our manhood. We had borrowed a 1948, two ton, flatbed dodge with side rails from a new friend to bring the wood home. After meandering, aimlessly on forgotten logging roads for hours, we met our tree. The biggest damn tree either one of us had ever seen. It was as wide as the Grand Canyon and to appreciate its height, we had to lay on our backs to see where it met the sky. This was a tree worthy of an assault by two idiots, who until now, had never seen wood bigger than a 2 x 4.
The saw roared, the teeth spun and we began to separate the tree from the wilderness. About half way through the girth, however, the big tree leaned forward, binding the saw between the top and the bottom of the cut. The "man saw" now belonged to the tree. We drove iron wedges into the cut to free the bar, but the big tree would not give them back either. After considerable discussion and no head way, we retreated to the bed of the truck. We sat there and stared, hopelessly, at the tree which had confiscated our man saw and the wedges made of iron.
If you stare at something long enough, your going to get an idea, even a stupid one and we were about to define, with great understatement, how stupid an idea could be. The wilderness, mind you, is smarter than the average man and unfortunately for the two of us, average was a still a distant dream.
" Why don't we tie this end of the rope to the bumper and I'll shimmy up the tree and tie the other end around that rascals throat and we'll pull it back just enough to free the saw ? " I suggested.
Doing stupid things is part of growing up, but, this one was going to delay such hope for a long time.
The rope was fixed and the truck inched forward and the tree came tumbling down. If you've never seen a truck try to out run the tree to which its tied, it can't be done. When the dust had settled, the top of the tree resided in the cab of the borrowed truck! The center of the cab was creased so that the passenger side and the driver side was modified by a permanent partition negating any possibility for discussion between driver and passenger. As a matter of fact, you could drive cross country and never see each other.
The modifications imposed by the big tree upon the truck crushed any dreams of our authentication, not to mention, the hope of any celebration on bear skins spread before the fire that wasn't there!
We confronted the wild together for another twelve years, but our assaults on the great outdoors were usually repelled with similar consequences. Our endeavors to master the outdoors gave way to simply appreciating it for what it was; Wild, beautiful and unafraid of two idiots with a chain saw.
The rustic cabin in the wild has given way to a split level in suburbia, complete with a non wood burning gas fireplace. As for having our women on bear skin rugs? Well, our man cave is decorated in soft, yellow, flowered prints with matching spread and twenty seven frilly pillows. The great fireplace built from stone and timber? Surplanted by the flicker of little aromatic candles. And what of the great saw? We each have an electric carving knife and twice a year we are allowed to slay the turkey.