We’ve all had that same fantasy.
What would we do if we could do absolutely anything? What would we do if money was no object? What would we be able to build and create? What would we accomplish? How would we fill our time? How would we give back: the our family, to our friends, to the community?
I won’t get into all of that here.
No, this post is about what I would do day-in and day-out for the rest of my life should I ever win the lottery.
By trade, I am a journalism guy. I specialize in the digital and social media world. I’m always locked to a screen: my laptop, my work station with two enormous monitors, my iPhone, everything. It’s the first thing I look at when I wake up to get my morning news. It’s the last thing I look at before I go to bed. Without fail.
The first thing I’d do is smash my iPhone with a hammer.
Into a million pieces.
Gone. Never again.
I’d buy some property. I’d grow a beard. I’d start a business. Well, four businesses.
- A brunch joint
- A high-end butcher shop
- A whiskey and cigar bar
- A lumberjack company
They’d all be housed in the same complex. The lumberjack company, of course, would merely have an office there. We’d be in the forest during the day.
The companies would be housed under GFY Enterprises which, of course, stands for Good For You Enterprises.
Or something like that.
The brunch joint
Brunch is the best meal of the day.
What? You don’t have brunch every day?
Exactly. This meal is so perfect that you can’t possibly have it during the week.
Knock it off, lunch.
No. Brunch is a Saturday, Sunday affair. Brunch is a I got a Wednesday off, eat in peace at your leisure kind of meal. Brunch is a wake up slow, grab your loved ones, head down to the spot kind of meal.
Maybe that’s what I’ll call it: The Spot.
Brunch is a take your time, no where to go, no where to be, get another pitcher of mimosas kind of meal.
Your brunch spot is the place where people recognize you. You’re comfortable there. It’s familiar. It’s home.
The high-end butcher shop
Right next door.
I’ve always admired tradesmen. Electricians. Blacksmiths. Woodworkers.
He knows one thing and one thing alone. Meat.
I don’t understand vegetarians. Not even a little bit. We’re the top of the food chain and we have the privilege of eating literally ANYTHING WE WANT.
Animals are delicious. Butchers bring you this deliciousness with their hands.
You want tender tri-tip? We got it.
You want lamb chops? How many?
You want 12 pounds of prosciutto? Man, me too. We got you covered.
Bacon? Only the finest, thick-cut bacon you’ve ever seen.
There will be blood.
You can get the freshest cuts and the most delicious cured meats you’ve ever tasted. We also have the best homemade BBQ sauces, marinades and pickled peppers in the entire state. And an aged cheese selection that will make your stomach lose its mind.
The whiskey and cigar bar
One of my favorite memories of my last few weeks in Connecticut was a trip to a whiskey and cigar bar in New Haven. I went with two of my very good friends: Jay and Mike. To this day, that was one of the most understated and most amazing evenings of my life.
These types of establishments aren’t for everyone. They draw a very specific type of clientele.
My kind of people.
This wouldn’t be a cocktail bar. High-end cocktail bars are amazing, but that’s not what we’re going for here.
Bourbons. Whiskeys. Scotches.
Two options: neat or on the rocks.
No kitchen, just meat plates. The finest cured meats, from our shop next door, and aged cheese.
Next to the bar area is a humidor. A walk-in humidor. Pick yourself out a smoke.
Grab your glass. Cut off your cigar. Take a sip. Savor it. Light up.
The lumberjack company
I’d help manage the brunch joint, but I’d eventually hand it off to someone passionate about cooking.
I’d enjoy my time in the butcher shop, preparing the meats, mixing the marinades. But I’d let someone else run it.
I’d spend my nights at the whiskey and cigar bar, enjoying the specialties and conversing with the patrons, but I don’t belong behind it. I’d give it to my favorite bartender.
No, I’d spend my days as a lumberjack.
There’s something about wood. Finished wood in a home gives it the right atmosphere. It’s relaxing. It’s raw. It’s real.
My fascination with wood comes from the Boy Scouts. On camping trips, I jumped at every opportunity to swing an axe or a hatchet. Splitting logs into perfect fuel-sized pieces.
Manual labor. Something that is far-too-often overlooked in our tech-centric, ridiculous, futuristic lives today.
You’re outside. You’re in nature. You’re using your hands, your strength.
Your destroying and creating.
I’d grow out a beard. I’d wear my boots, my jeans, flannel shirts and gloves.
I’d drive my truck deep into the woods to our job site. The diesel engine rumbles as I turn the key back and park.
I approach my station. I set the log upright on the post. I reach for the wooden handle. I lift it off the ground and slide my hand down to the sharpest point, thinking about the beautiful destruction it can cause when swung just right.
With my left hand firmly holding the bottom of the handle, my right hand encloses around the middle of the shaft. I lift it high over my head.
My legs straddle the post. Left leg forward, straight. Right leg back, for stability, slightly bent at the knee.
As I bring the axe down from over my head, my left hand stays steady. My right hand slides down the shaft, right down to my left, as all my strength lunges forward.
The wood splits right down the center.
Hours go by. My arms ache, but its the kind of ache you can be proud of. I’ve sweat through my shirt, my forehead beaded with salty drops. The perfect kind of exhausted.
The work day is over. I hop into my truck and head back to the office. The diesel engine roars as I maneuver through the trees back to the back road, miles away from a city.
I pull up to the complex and throw the truck in park. I head into the whiskey bar and take my seat.
Bulleit. Two cubes, three fingers.
Al Capone, cognac dipped. I’ll need the whole box.
Tommy pours the burn and brings out the smoke. A waitress brings out the meat plate, a spread for a king.
Tomorrow, we brunch.
DAY 14: ON CATS AND DOGS DAY 13: ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS (PART 1) DAY 12: MAKING MY WAY BACK TO CLEVELAND DAY 11: ON FIRE DAY 10: ON CONNOTATION AND DENOTATION DAY 9: ON THE TIME I BROKE MY RIBS DAY 8: ON THE FOUR UNDERSTANDINGS FOR A HAPPY LIFE DAY 7: DEAR ERIC DAY 6: ON WHY YOU’RE HAVING TROUBLE DATING IN YOUR 20′S, LADIES DAY 5: ON SUNRISES AND SUNSETS DAY 4: ON PARADISE DAY 3: ON SMOKE AND WHISKEY DAY 2: ON HOW CLOSE I WAS TO NOT EVEN GOING TO COLLEGE DAY 1: WHY I’M WRITING EVERY DAY FOR 40 DAYS