I was outside this afternoon chopping some hardwood into firewood size chunks when Wendy came to the door of the camp and said, “You’re doing great, soon you’ll have it all split.”
“Yes” I said, “Well you know me, I’m a worker....” I raised the splitting maul over my head like Mel Gibson raised his sword in Bravehart.
I turned back to the next big piece of future maple firewood waiting to be split before Wendy had a chance to roll her eyes on my comment, but not before hearing her say, “Just don’t overdo it.”
I addressed the chunk of wood with the axe, much like Tiger Woods addresses a
woman golf ball. I gave a combination karate-ju-jit-su cry and swung the axe over my head, “iii-eeeeeeeee-yahhhhh-ghitz-a-goomie-wow-wow“!!!
I smacked the splitting maul into the top of the next chunk of hardwood, it split apart quickly and one piece bounced out and smacked me in the right shin, forcing a slight grimace to my otherwise stoic, manly countenance. In other words I swore and a big tear dribbled down my cheek.
But I continued with my task, swinging the maul with the vigor of a man in his 50’s and thinking about Wendy’s advice, “Don’t overdo it.”
When you really consider those words, you realize that is one of those things that is easy to say, easy to agree to, but when it comes right down to it, quite difficult to actually put into practice.
I swung the genuine hickory handled splitting maul again, delighting in the smack! and crack! as another big chunk of maple divided and fell apart in two pieces. I jumped back just in time to avoid getting hit in the shin again and almost tripped over another piece that was laying on the ground behind me.
Despite the delight I was taking in seeing the wood split into nice burn-able pieces, I couldn’t help but hear Wendy’s words of warning, “Don’t overdo it.”
How, I wondered, can I not overdo it? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that might be impossible because I really wouldn’t know I had over-done it, until…well, I had over done it.
Otherwise, in order to avoid over-doing it…well…I’d really have to stop right now, just after getting started. In fact, I’d be better not to have started at all, that way I could be sure that I wouldn’t overdo it. Looking at the big pile of hardwood waiting to be split, stopping now seemed like a good idea.
I briefly considered putting the splitting maul back in the shed and sitting down on one of the adirondack chairs to watch the waves on the lake. That would be one way to avoid the consequences of over-doing it.
But, I mused, it’s entirely possible that I have already over-done it, and…well…it was too late to sit down and watch the waves break over the big rock off Lonesome Larry’s point. I might be better to go in the camp and get rubbed down in Rub-A5-35 and take a couple drags off the bottle of nitroglycerin spray that my father used to use 20 years ago.
See the problem with trying to avoid over doing anything, is that you really don’t know you have overdone something. Those kinds of things don’t usually become apparent until you collapse in the yard, splitting maul in hand, drool coming off your tongue which lolly-gags out of your mouth grotesquely as you experience a massive coronary arrest.
Failing a coronary, which I admit is quicker, albeit a little messy with the drool and all, it might not be until later when you realize you pulled all the muscles in your body, later on in the evening, when they tighten up like the springs in an old Rolex.
Sometimes it’s not until the next day that you realize you “over-did it” the day before, when you wake up unable to move without pain, wondering if that dream was real and you did get hit by a freight train.
Eventually my mind turned to other things, more important things, like what we were having for supper….if it was supper time yet…if the rain was going to finally start so I could knock off the wood splitting and go inside….I wondered if a Labrador Retriever really can be trained to read lips….I even briefly thought about getting myself a model train set for the shed….don’t know where that idea came from….
I wrestled another chunk of maple up on the chopping block, hesitating a little before I grabbed the maul again, trying to not over-do it.
In fact, I put the maul back down and just stood there for awhile, watching a @#$#@@ squirrel eating all the birdseed out of the bird feeder.
As I stared at the little bugger busy chowing down on sunflower seeds and mixed nuts, I said out loud, “Don’t let Wendy see you, or that might be your last meal, get a tummy full and then get going…………Don’t overdo it….”
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