I don't want any hair getting in my rum: an appreciation of Ax Men

Last night, while fellow Barrelhouse blogger TMC and I enjoyed a non-erotic sleepover, we caught pretty much the greatest reality show ever: Ax Men.

For those of you who don't watch much of The History Channel, or have "better things to do" on a Thursday night, Ax Men is, in essence, the World's Deadliest Catch of logging.

You might not think logging is complicated or interesting enough to warrant its own reality show, but you would be wrong. The piece of equipment at left, for instance, is what industry insiders call a "yarder," used to pick up heavy felled trees. It's also the source of many, many headaches and frustrations. On last night's show alone, at least two hardhats and a wrench were thrown violently to the ground while one logger or another cursed the gosh-darned uncooperative yarder.

I'm still working on getting all the lingo down: your climbers, your back-cutters, your barber-chairs and kerf-dutchmen (you might think I'm making this last one up, but it's an actual term, for a particular style of tree cutting that, if utilized properly, can make the tree literally jump right off the stump).

And if you don't think logging is dangerous, you haven't seen The History Channel's helpful cartoon reenactments of all the things that could go wrong (all of which basically involve trees falling onto people, though for all sorts of complicated reasons your average "greenhorn" could never imagine).

There's also what folks in the reality-show biz call "interpersonal drama," like the father who, if business doesn't improve, might have to fire his two sons (though, as TMC and I gathered later in the episode, he might also choose to fire his sons because they're ineffective managers and irrational hotheads prone to throwing tantrums and giving up on jobs). Or there's the other father teaching his son to climb trees. Or the son who refuses to work for his father. Or the son who gives his father a "haircut" by dragging clippers through his hair while dad takes swigs from a rum bottle.

Okay, so basically all the interpersonal drama stems from father-son relationships. But this is a logging show, people. What do you expect? Hot tub hookups?


Shelby said...

I, too, am a huge fan of Ax Men. What's not to love about various areas of Portland being ripped apart by chain smoking tough guys who bitch and moan all day about how their dad's won't let them lead the crew! Awesome.
p.s I love Barrelhouse... thanks for living my dream.

JP said...

It's still no "Tribal LIfe: Meet the Namal Tribe" on the Travel Channel. Watch that shit, man. Not only do you get to follow poorly-subtitled grass-skrited and loin-clothed tribespeople around all day (join them as they catch and break their own horses for the big intertribal race! watch them walk barefoot into a volcano! check out how they beat each other for fun at weddings!), you also get to witness their rivalry with the other tribe on the island:

"...the Jon Frum cargo cult, which worships an American World War II soldier as their god." (Wikipedia)

I mean, really. It's like a Disney movie, but with an extra dose of banana-boobs and awesome, huge naked black dudes. Quality television, man.

But yeah, okay. Ax Men's aight, too.

kitty said...

Fishing? Logging? Those are for pussies when compared to farming, especially family run farms. Not for the fainthearted, I'm here to tell you.

Picture grown men playing chicken on their John Deeres while yelling obsenities at each other in their cell phones using language that would make a sailor blush. Y'think I'm kidding, don't you.


TMC said...

Dude, that sleepover was totally erotic, and you know it.

Also, yeah, I completely vouch for the coolness of this show. It alternated between unintentional hilarity and actual informative, somewhat-engaging action. This is more than I can say for most TV shows.

Mike said...

I forgot the best detail of Ax Men, which is that one of the dudes is named Tim Bob.

scoob1458 said...

im a logger myself. im only sixteen but iv been cuting trees for six years. i have buddies that are farmers and they all say that their jobs are more dangerous than mine, they dont have a clue. in the logging industry if your not risking your life with every step, your not making any money. there are so many things that can go wrong that you have to watching not only you but everyone else is doing. because one mistake can be death.