Imagine this, a couple of friends. Lets say in their early 20’s both recently married that work together up town at the local machine shop. Okay they aren’t getting rich there, but making enough to pay the bills with thirty or forty dollars extra by the end of the month.
They aren’t complaining that life’s unfair or they deserve more. They made the choice to live in smalltown USA as a life style. Maybe because Mom, Dad, Grandpa and Uncle Jake are still doing everything they can to keep from loosing the farm that’s been in the family for seven generations. It’s been a life consisting of hand-me-downs and leftover meatloaf.
Happy setting up house keeping with the new Wife, but with nothing much to do in the area and no money even if there was, the free time typically ends up hanging out at the buddy’s family farm. Lets say it’s with the pretense of ‘making that little extra’, they spend the week-ends driving around looking for scrap. Digging stuff out from behind barns, in the fence lines and buried in swamps in the area. The weeknights are filled with cutting up and sorting the goodies into different piles, all to get that extra 17˘ for the 12 pounds you spent an hour and a half sorting.
Okay, now we’re talking, a trip to the scrap yard and we just scored $218.79. Damn life is good; lets get some beer and build a bonfire. Sitting there poking the fire with your new wife, best buddy and his girlfriend the talk gets around to who has the better truck. This has a tendency to lead to ‘prove it’. The proof maybe dragging the shit spreader through the field and then move up to attempting to pull each other… but inevitable sooner or later it ends up in that useless back 40 that’s to wet to plow.
It doesn’t take long after that our buddies are spending that extra money from the scrap for a used set of over sized mud & snows to give them that extra edge. Sure the new wife may complain sometimes, but she understands, and seeing how it’s the only ‘social event’ that their limited budget can afford, she’ll still agree. Being the person she is, she’ll even make up a pot of baked beans & some coleslaw to go with the hotdogs your buddy is bringing.
Pretty soon, word of mouth gets out and more old high school friends are coming to the ‘events’ you have out on that useless land in the back, sitting around drinking beer around the fire in the early evening breeze. Yelling at Freddy to ‘hit the big hole’ just so someone can jump on the tractor to pull him back out, only for him to try it again in another hour (and maybe another beer). OK now we got a larger group, and being the responsible host, you talk people into bringing tents so they can ‘crash’ right there afterward instead of crashing on the way home.
As time passes, it’s no longer just a bunch of high school buddies; they told their cousins and friends, who told theirs etc… Soon, between the food and fuel to run the tractors it leads to an expense that has snowballed. The answer: everybody pitches in a couple bucks. Seems simple, A safe place to get together with others and have some fun.
Somewhere along about this point is where it goes sour. There was that time when bob hit the Johnson’s mailbox, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. The next day he went to their house and told them, brought a new post, his post hole diggers and fixed it, then offered to hump bales for them the next week-end for the trouble (Of course Mr. Johnson, told him not to worry about it, after all the mailbox was fixed). But today we seem to be getting a whole new group of ‘kids’ (only because our original buddies are now in there 30’s and doing a lot better with the wife and kids, but still just managing to make it). These kids are driving out from the suburbs mostly and are simply looking for something to do. I’m not categorizing, most of these kids are no trouble, but it only takes ‘one bad apple’.
So now we have a lot of extra traffic. Between the people coming in from out of town and the fact that as time has passed our original friends have a more stable income and over time have spent time and money building a truck (or two) specialized for these events. Their trucks now have tractor tires and military axles and are no longer road legal, and even if they were there is no desire to take them on the road. So they get loaded up on trailers, so when they are pushed beyond the breaking point, they can be drug back home to get fixed for the next time.
Of course add to that, the ones that aren’t responsible enough to have a designated driver that isn’t drinking or the sense to camp out till morning, leaving after dark, fishtailing down the road, engine screaming at 1:00AM. Or the ones that think it’d be so much fun to try to ride the cow in the field down the road from the bog. Now we start having issues. Seems the locals tolerate it better because they grew up with it and understand, but typically it’s not the long time resident that is the most trouble. It’s Mrs. Mary Bicthalot that bought the property next to the Swartzendruber’s milk farm two years ago and attempted to get a law passed to shut down the farm due to the smell.
You know the one who complained to the Road commission to move the deer crossing sign because having the deer cross there was screwing up her lawn. So she’s down at town hall bending the township officers ear about the terrible things going on back there (do you know people are actually peeing on trees?). Of course they say they’ll look into it. At first they try to brush her off, but she’s not going to let up, my God, they are having fun, we can’t let that happen (of course, she’s the kind of person that couldn’t be pleased with a whole case of size “D” cells).
As things escalate, the township solicitor gets called in to ‘see what can be done’. Let’s see, we’re going to have a lawyer check to see if there is anything he can get hired to do, seems like a conflict of interest to me, but I digress. So even though there are actually no laws on the books, we have a lawyer trying to bend the existing laws to ‘fit’. I know, noise ordnance, nope the noise levels are well within the limits (if any are actually given a value not just ‘excessive noise’, something that my decibel meter doesn’t have on it’s scale). Oh. Food sales without a license, aw crap, what do you mean it’s a potluck and they aren’t “selling” food.
WAIT. Remember back when you started taking donations to pay for the time/fuel for getting the pits dug out, pumping water in and recovery. Doesn’t matter that you don’t make profit or have any ‘books’ accounting for the monies, you’re running a business, and we’re shutting you down.
Moral of the story: there is none, fukit…. We all know the story, it's the same all across the country.
(Disclaimer: Any similarity between events in this fictional story and your personal experiences, probably lends creditability to the story)