By Todd Lancaster
There comes a time in every man’s life when he takes stock in what was hopefully a life well-lived.
At that point, the ledgers are opened, the coins are collected and the books are balanced, not necessarily from a financial standpoint, but as a collective survey of the “who and why” of what we are.
So once we have figured out there is just a fine line between success and failure, one needs to find a way to organize and display “that life well-lived.” Some would say that a young girlfriend, a speedboat and a little red Corvette would satisfy whatever itch that needed to be scratched, but I am thinking my wife would disagree with all of those choices and not necessarily in that order.
So now that the kids are gone, and the girlfriend is off the table, I thought I would move on to the man cave scenario as “the hill I was willing to die on.”
There are plenty of different versions of a man cave and each can be as unique as the individual bear that resides in that particular cave.
I have a friend who collects sports jerseys and baseball memorabilia which he proudly displays around his hand-built bar with stadium seating. He has been a Yankee fan since before I met him in the fifth grade and this is the place he is able to get his “pinstripes” on. This cave would seem sensible enough until one walks into the storage room behind the bar, filled with hundreds of other game-worn, autographed jerseys worth more than the entire house.
I have another friend who is extremely proud of where his parents paid for him to go to school and graduate with a low “C” average in about six years. However, one would think that he had been awarded an honorary “Doctorate of Hoosier-ology” as he spends time matching crimson swatches and paint samples, with framed red V-neck sweaters and a handmade bar built with meticulous measurements taken from Nick’s English Hut (throw-able plastic chairs for seating are a must).
And then there is a friend from my Navy days, whose four-year naval career must have been vastly different from the way I remember it, as his man-cave comes complete with model ships, unused ordnance, nautical flags and antique diving helmets, which tell the tale of a career where sunset drinks with Admiral Halsey overlooking Pearl must have been commonplace. Personally, he might have been more accurate displaying a broom, mop and tube of anti-bacterial cream. Nevertheless, thank you for your service, and may I say those decks never looked cleaner during your hitch.
However, I went in another direction; I chose to create my own “Beat Lab.” What was formally my son’s bedroom/fast food refuse storage facility, is now a sound-proof enclave of awesomeness, where guitars and basses live in harmony, with a small recording facility, high-end stereo components and a big screen hooked into about 23 streaming services. I could go into details on acoustic treatments, bass dampeners, completed sonic wave forms, AND both lava and Himalayan salt lamps guaranteed to channel positive energy and salt the rim of a margarita in an emergency,
I recently posted pictures of my nearly completed project online and my friend Tom responded with, “So you are saying it’s a man cave?”
My response was terse and somewhat condescending, but accurate.
“Tom, the difference between my Beat Lab and a standard fare ‘Man Cave’ is purely philosophical.
“A man cave is a place of benevolent xenophobia. It is meant to absorb the body blows of our daily interactions with the machine — and avoid those people who work to maintain that machine. In a man cave, one surrounds themselves with framed jerseys, collectible beer steins, and matriculation-based artifacts, meant to celebrate a linear representation of your ‘Tom-ness.’
“The Beat Lab does not absorb outside energy; it reflects, focuses and defines it, like an organic, breathing version of the Dark Side of the Moon album cover. Anywhere creativity is a basic tenet, a ‘lab’ moniker is more appropriate.
“The Beat Lab respects the philosophical stylings of St. Peter, Peter Brady and Peter Frampton; however, you can still drink Pabst, eat nachos and watch basketball while maintaining your own personal safety zone of Randian Objectivism. So yes, it’s kind of a man cave.”
The more I think about, I think my wife may be beginning to warm up to the idea of me getting a girlfriend and a sports car.