Men and Stuff


There’s a special brand of speculation that arises when two or more guys gather around a loaded trailer with a couple of ratchet straps — a shared, unquestioned assertion that while the knowledge of a single individual could suffice for mere transport safety, the collective wisdom of the group opens possibilities for the creation of a masterpiece. On Saturday evening, in this precise state of being, Justin, Logan, Danny W. and I coalesced around the trailer; tapping into this group consciousness for the sake of the load, and for our very existence as men.

“Well if we stand the hoops up, there’s going to be nowhere to strap, but we do want them resting on the wheel well, right..?”

“Hmm, yeah… so if they hang off the back they’re too low? We don’t want them pushing against the truck cab either though I wouldn’t think…”

“No, the left turn should be fine; I’m just worried about the torque on the right turn…”

“Yeah, the torque is definitely the issue…”

The torque was definitely the issue, and I could imagine that phone conversation all too well.

Hey, Oren.. So… remember that third hoop house we used to have? Let’s just say it didn’t make it…

So we speculated as the shadows grew around us. Finally settling on a plan, we marched the rest of the hoops up the hill, strapped them down and set out at a turtle crawl.  Three turns and an only moderate hoop-slide later, we parked alongside the Rising Sand driveway and scurried the massive hoops across the road and into the field. In spite of our adrenal zeal, we knew better than to pit the rest of the precarious task against the threat of darkness, and settled on a man-date for Monday morning; tacking on a convoy for good measure.

The specifics for said convoy were discussed at said man-date as we muscled the last two sets of hoops up the hill Monday morning.


“Yeah, Oren doesn’t think we should move The Ray even if it does start. He thinks it’s too icy and close to the buildings, and that we’re better off to just take The Shadow and the truck.”

“Well that’s dumb.”

“I know. We’ll get ‘er fired up and moved.”

Circumstances, however, dictated the availability of only two insured drivers, so Justin and I hit the road in our formidable truck/trailer combo, followed closely by Asher in the menacing Shadow, en route to the promised land of BTI for some shop work with the shop guys.


Upon arrival, Asher and Justin took in the impressive scene with shared surprise. “Yeah, so you weren’t kidding when you said this was a shop.” Surrounded by air compressors, presses, massive jacks and quad-axle tankers, we found our tools and got to business – three overeager dudes fumbling enthusiastically around one glorious black van; basking in the warm, trouble-light glow of manliness.

The truck was next, and we amassed uncertainly around the frayed belts under the hood, silent but for the scratching of our heads.

“Uhh, BL?” I called to the renowned shop guy across the shop.


“Could you come take a look at this quick?”


He came over and provided a graciously appropriate amount of consultation as we navigated the bolts and pulleys, eventually tightening our brand new belts in their proper places. Satisfied, we set off towards our farm once more; a little greasier and significantly manlier than we’d been that morning.

About halfway home, however, no choice remained but to acknowledge the squeal. I turned to Justin. “You hear that squeal?”

“Yeah dude.”

“Was that like that on the way here this morning?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Maybe we’re just paranoid now so we’re noticing it, huh?”

“Yeah, or maybe the truck is just getting used to the new belts.”

“Yeah, that’s probably it…”

Convenient as this assumption was for the preservation of manliness, it lasted only until the following night when my phone rang.

“Hey Oren.”

“Hey, uhh, I’m in my house and I could hear Kelly coming in the truck from like a block away.”

“Hmm, that must have gotten worse… We checked the belts again dude; they were tight.”

“Think they could be too tight?”


“Wanna take a look with me tomorrow?”



I hung up, torn between amusement and excitement — amusement at the spectacle of our massive old farm truck squealing obnoxiously through the city, and excitement about the prospect of another day of manliness and speculation. Yeah, me and Oren would take a look…