It’s important to take time to ponder the eternal questions of life. I’m lucky that my job often gives me a great amount of time to think, like take for instance last week when I was chopping tree stumps and roots with a hatchet. I discovered that bewildering thoughts go through a person’s mind when they’re swinging a hatchet for a couple of hours.

BY: Noah Regan

If you think swinging a hatchet is similar to swinging a hammer, you’d be wrong. There is something intrinsically unsettling when you’re kneeling on the cold ground viciously chopping at things. The first thoughts I entertained were fairly innocuous. I thought about George Washington chopping down a cherry tree as a child even though he wasn’t supposed to, and how he admitted that he did it to his father…George H. W. Washington, I guess. I thought about how one must have a certain level physical strength and endurance to accomplish such a feat. Then I reminded myself that George Washington never chopped down a cherry tree because that story is completely fabricated, and yet it is told to us as children in the public school system. Much like how Lincoln could never tell a lie. Of course that isn’t true. Really they should tell kids about how Abraham Lincoln had his dead son, Willie, exhumed twice so that he could look at and hold him one more time. Now that is interesting stuff.

Then after some time of bludgeoning tree stumps and roots, I began to feel fatigued. That is when the weird thoughts started creeping to the front of my mind. Thoughts like: I bet it’s really taxing to chop up a body. People probably underestimate how tough and sinewy the human body is. And the bones! I bet a femur is a bitch to chop through. A saw or serrated knife would probably work best. People don’t know how much work it is to dismember a body because anybody that does it isn’t going to go around complaining to friends and family about how much work it is. They’re never to going to grit their teeth while rotating their shoulder and complain that their arm’s a bit tender from hacking a teenage runaway to bits last night. You’d need a certain amount of endurance to completely dismember a body. Although, I recall reading that while Jeffery Dahmer dismembered his first victim he stopped twice to masturbate atop the corpse. So obviously he had much more excess energy than me.

It was Chuck Palahniuk that suggested parenthood was the opiate of the masses. To a certain extent I think he’s right. If one fulfills their biological obligation to the human civilization then you have at least that laurel to rest upon. Also, you have much less free time to think about yourself. Your mental priorities completely shift to your offspring, and your thoughts are less about “Why am I here? What is the meaning of it all?” And are more like, “I need to find a good daycare for my child.” or “I’m pretty sure my son is gay.”

With my bachelor lifestyle, I have far too much time to center upon myself and where I fit in the grand scheme, and the series of accidents that occurred in the past that made all of our existences possible. Having too much time to think can be a dangerous thing if done incorrectly…

One of the reasons I enjoy drinking whiskey is the fact that it allows me to center my thoughts intensely on individual things. It impairs my mind to the point where I mentally delve deeply into any topic without being distracted by any outside influence or unwanted, random thoughts. I recommend you try it. It’s akin to immersing yourself into a sensory deprivation chamber, except this is just a bottle of whiskey, a recliner, and a dark, empty room. It’s a brilliant experience. You’d be amazed at what you’ll think about. Just be sure not to drink too much. When that happens, my evening is less about sitting in silence entertaining cerebral musings, and more like the intro of Apocalypse Now when Martin Sheen is doing underwear Tai Chi with The Doors’ This is the End playing in the background.

First, I consider the concept of finding pleasure in restraint, and the law of diminishing returns. I convince myself that I’ll have just two drinks, achieving the perfect buzz, and then cut myself off.

A half a bottle later I feel a bit cramped and decide to stretch out my limbs.

I then stare intensely into my mirror and convince myself that I can actually see myself age before my eyes.

…and then act accordingly.

Then I have one more drink before calling it a night.

And just before I bed, I come to terms with the futility of life, and how there is no point to anything.

One isn’t supposed to spend too much time pondering the big questions of life. If you spend too much time simply thinking about life, you’re not living it. So put down your proverbial hatchet, and stop sinking in the quicksand of your thought. Instead, relax and enjoy the ride. Assume that all of life’s questions will eventually be answered.

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