By weird I mean interesting and not cut from the same cupcake Mary-Kay suburban lawn-jockey as the rest of your boring ass neighbors. Not weird like that single 40-something neighbor of ours that allegedly has a dungeon-theme bedroom that is pasty white from never going outside.
Having interesting hobbies, doing cool things in your garage and not doing the same dreadmill workout in the globo-gym is now seen as weird and us renaissance men and women should embrace this role and introduce other neighbors to new ways of thinking. One of my good friends turned his garage into part homemade Frankenstein slot-car track (building it from scratch and with Ebay finds) and part motorcycle shop. In the summer his kids are jumping cars off the track while he’s grinding away in the driveway on a new gas tank, sparks flying everywhere. Totally awesome!
For us, we’re a little different as well. Our neighbors give us fruit they can’t use knowing that we make wine (they get a bottle or two for their donation). We’ve converted one of our garage stalls (in suburbia and next to the developer of the neighborhood) into a lifting platform/squat rack/gym. I’m dropping bumpers from overhead (snatch, clean and jerk) which despite the platform makes a huge noise and joggles the house. In the summer, I have the garage open, blasting Pantera or Metallica or Alkaline Trio, squatting or banging weights around. The neighborhood kids think it is great and ask to play on the gymnastic rings or pull kettlebell deadlifts or climb my 15′ rope. And that’s just for starters, things are about to get really fun.
Much to my wife’s and daughter’s chagrin, I’ve started doing heavy kettlebell (55# and 72# odd weighted) farmer’s carries (or farmer’s walk) up and down our block. Something like this:
Farmer carry’s fucking rock working arms, back, core, legs and lungs. The day after heavy farmer’s carries you’ll be feeling it in your triceps, shoulders, forearms and core. For heavy carries I usually wear a belt. I went about 1/3 of a mile in three sets yesterday, but my goal is to walk around our oval neighborhood later this spring or early summer in a single 1-mile carry session. I’m not a strongman competitor, but I have a feeling the twinks and fatties in my neighborhood will see me as such this summer at the pool after seeing me walk past their home like some old school strongman while they’re mowing their lawn for the second time of the week because that is what their life has been reduced to.
The next step to cement my future as the weird neighbor is my procurement of a large tractor tire, which they’ll give you for free at any agriculture implement store (they’ll normally have to pay for disposal). One of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done was something like 100 tire flips for time (450# tire) with 5 tire jumps on the minute. Tire flips are the next best things to prowler pushes. Learn more here.
I hope to be adding a heavy bag to the home gym and expect to be attracting the kids to the home like the weird strong pied piper. You won’t do that by being the best at tending your lawn or being the most “normal” beta dude on your block this summer by grilling hotdogs and hamburgers. Do something awesome instead and get that reputation for being the weird neighbor. Buy a jalopy and rat-rod it in your garage. Learn to play a Salvation Army set of bagpipes or accordion (or better yet a guitar – campfire guitar is the best [hint on songs: Sally MacLennane is three chords and awesome: learn it, Every Rose has its Thorn has four and Green Day’s Time of Your Life has a little picking on four primary chords and you’ll be the hit of the party]). Buy some chickens and raise them in your backyard – make a roost for them to lay eggs and sleep at night. Make a lemoncello for an after dinner summer party (easy-peasy lemon-squeezy). Time to start being weird. Summer’s about to begin and it’s time to start a new chapter. Get busy living (and being a little weird), or get busy dying (a little each day, being like every boring-ass family man out there). The choice is yours.