If I can’t blame greedheads, then who else?
September 15, 2006
Every fall I like to pretend I’m Paul Bunyan, trudging off into the woods with my faithful friend to cut up some timber.Being the modern man that I am, I use a chain saw rather than a monstrous ax, and my faithful friend is a buddy with some pine-laden land up near Gunnison rather than a huge blue ox named Babe. The weekend does double duty each year, giving the two of us a little male-bonding time in the woods without spousal interference and me a sufficient load of firewood to last the winter.Sometimes, if the mood seems right and I’ve had enough Scotch whiskey after a hard day in the woods, I’ll break into a rousing rendition of that famous song from Monty Python, “I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay.” My memory being the modern and bad one that it is, I can only remember the chorus of the song, and I can hear my friend muttering in the corner, giving his deep thanks to the cosmos when I finally tire of that. I’m sure the deer, the coyotes and the bears are thankful, too.Anyway, I’d been getting ready for my weekend warrior stint in the woods and took my trusty chain saw in for servicing last week, thinking something along the lines of, “Why didn’t I do this a month ago, before all the other weekend lumberjacks decided it was time to do the same thing?”My self-chastisement turned to bitter loathing, however, as I approached my favorite repair joint and read a sign saying they were only accepting two brands of saw for repairs, and mine is not one of them.It seems the shop is moving, since the property is being sold and they have to clear things out. This news triggered alarms in my poor, forgetful and overburdened brain, and with all that screeching in my head I didn’t really hear or understand much of what the proprietor said. I just stumbled out the door clutching a slip of paper bearing the name of another repair shop in Glenwood Springs, 13 miles away. It was a thoughtful thing for the proprietor to do, given my pathetic state of mind.A quick call revealed, however, that the proprietor of that shop is away for a family emergency until the middle of next year or something, so he wasn’t any help either.That meant the nearest repair shop was somewhere near Rifle, 45 miles away in what might as well be another hemisphere, since I was due to hit the woods this weekend and wouldn’t have time to get to Rifle twice.This state of affairs was entirely unacceptable: It meant I’d have to have to do the maintenance, sharpening and such work myself once I got to the cabin with its workbench and tools. This would necessarily take time away from my chores, because we all know full well that nothing would be allowed to detract from our ritual Scotch-drinking, howling at the moon and other foolishness.I don’t need to be reminded that if I’d done the work some weekend last summer, when I had plenty of time and long twilight evenings, I would not be in this pickle. So don’t waste your breath or my time.My first thought, of course, was to blame my predicament on all the rampant development that is chasing away the small businesses and basic services that have made Carbondale such a haven in recent years. When in doubt, blame the greedheads and the dirt pimps, at least you’ll feel better momentarily.But then reality reasserted itself, and my next thought was a return to my first thought about why I didn’t do this earlier. That began the cascade of self-criticism all over again, with a brief respite to direct nasty thoughts at the valley’s growth juggernaut.This is a mental loop I’m very familiar with, and the only cure is to kick my brain off that track and onto another, which usually involves a trip to a bar, a short jog on the bike path, or turning on the television to watch old movies.Humphrey Bogart, here I come.John Colson can be reached at email@example.com