Amy Roberts: Axe throwing could bridge the divide
There’s an old English proverb that claims necessity is the mother of all invention. While the author is unknown, this adage dates back to the 1600s — when “necessity” had a more primitive meaning. In the early centuries of our developing world, necessity birthed real life or death creations like a method for blood transfusions, vaccines and champagne.
Then came the industrial revolution, when humans started adding convenience to the equation. Necessity shifted a bit from survival to a better, more comfortable way to survive. Inventions included things like cement, steam engines, typewriters, tin cans, the telegraph, and sewing machines.
Fast forward to today, and the meaning of necessity remains, at best, untethered to its dictionary definition. Aside from food, shelter, and water, nearly everything most of us own is far more of a luxury than a necessity. And personally, I’m not entirely sure owning a television, computer, or smartphone even qualifies as a luxury anymore. Lately, they all kind of seem to be a bit more like a burden.
Together, these ‘necessities’ essentially mandate constant connection to the news of the hour, constant exposure to trolls commenting on the news of the hour, and as a result, constant aggravation.
Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, there’s a good chance you’re currently pissed off. One side can’t believe the level of corruption and dishonesty coming out of Washington, the other side simply doesn’t actually believe it’s happening — because it is all a set up.
I mostly read the news on my phone or computer, which usually exposes me to the comment section. As such, over the past couple of years there’s been more than a few times I’ve had an overwhelming urge to reach through the internet and shake someone. And I’m definitely not alone.
Therapists around the country have reported an increase in patients with what they call “political anxiety.” Last year the online healthcare site CareDash.com commissioned a survey regarding the toll the country’s political divide has taken on our mental health. Participants reported symptoms like depression, weight gain, suicidal thoughts, trouble sleeping, relationship distress, resentment, anger and feelings of nervousness. Half of those surveyed admitted to looking for ways to cope with the negative environment.
Which brings me back to the idea of invention and necessity.
A local company has “invented” a service to help us relieve our angst — one that is cheaper than therapy and more accessible than a Xanax prescription. For those of us who have an axe to grind, Heber Hatchets might be just what we need.
Their business model is pretty simple. For $12 customers can fling an axe through the air, attempting to lodge it in a wooden target. Over the course of an hour, you can do this again and again, until the stress is gone, the blade is dull, or your arm muscles are too weak to lift the axe.
Though Heber Hatchets doesn’t actively promote the business as a treatment for depression or anxiety (political or otherwise), I can’t help but think they opened at just the right time given the headlines lately. At what other time in our history would paying someone to throw an axe seem like a wise investment in your mental stability? Under normal circumstances, playing lumberjack for a day would qualify more as a tourist attraction. Now it feels like a solid plan for preventing a screaming match.
While I know throwing an axe is not likely to narrow the divide across the country, perhaps it can help those of us who live here. Because if nothing else, there is a necessity to finding a productive way to relieve our anxiety, regardless of where it stems from.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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Tom Clyde was not impressed with Jeff Bezos’ recent trip to “space,” though it does make him wonder if space tourism should be in Park City’s future.