Jan 15, 2020

Axe Me No Questions

By Ed Goldman

To commemorate the expected spring opening of an axe-throwing bar in the vibrant and, one’s tempted to add, cutting-edge midtown area of California’s capital, we set the mood with a legendary, anonymous poem: 

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks;
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

In a few paragraphs, we’ll conclude today’s column with an updated, non-anonymous poem. But first, a few sentences of what Hollywood calls the “back story” and what you and I might refer to as “before.”

About 10 years and one abbreviated marriage ago, I had a condo in Phoenix, Arizona. I was slightly unnerved to discover that not only can you drive there without pretending you’re not jabbering on your cellphone (by appearing to cough into your hand, which is actually cupping the device), but can also openly carry certain authorized firearms. You can even tote or wear them into your favorite bar. 

Yes, wear them. As fashionistas the world-over know, nothing accessorizes your Bikram Yoga® pants quite as smartly as a Glock 17® Velcroed® to the drawstring.

At least in Sacramento, where I have my principal residence, the only things similar to an axe-throwing bar—for seeming to have not been clearly thought out in advance—include a climbing gym downtown that serves beer and the fact that California legislators don’t have to pass sobriety tests before entering or exiting (in a government car) the State Capitol.  

Anyway, when I read about the forthcoming new watering hole that will feature recreational hatchet tossing, all I could think to say was, “At last! An idea whose idea has come.”

I’m sure it won’t be long before we have online dating sites devoted to axe- throwing (machete.com?)

In fact, it’s past time. Axe-throwing- saloons have been in this state, and a few others, for years. You can even Google this—”Top 10 Best Axe Throwing in Sacramento, CA”—or read the following when you check out the trend on a national basis: 

“There are axe-throwing bars in or near Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit, Austin, Charlotte, Denver, and of course, Brooklyn, among other places. The first axe-throwing bar in North America is believed to have started in Toronto in 2011.”  I love how the entry says, “and, of course, Brooklyn.” It makes you think the borough is an absolute bastion of sling-blades.

Anticipating a barrage of  unforeseen involuntary manslaughter cases, I’m sure it won’t be long before we have online dating sites devoted to axe- throwing aficionados (machete.com, anyone?) and TV competitions (“Leave It To Cleaver”). 

One thing I know for certain: You’ll never want to suggest grabbing a brewski after work with someone you’re not getting along with by saying, “I think it’s time we bury the hatchet.”

Concluding poem, as promised:

In a beer bar, just by chance,
Someone axed his best friend’s pants.
This dilemma always starts
When a bar runs out of darts.


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Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).