Throwing Axes and Hatchets Proves Popular During the Pandemic

Which makes sense when you think about it

Hatchet throwing
A man throws a hatchet at the Stumpy's House in Eatontown, New Jersey, on October 6, 2017.
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

Many Americans have spent the last year in varying stages of quarantine, and have the prospect of more months like this to come. It can certainly inspire feelings of delirium, but it’s also left plenty of people with copious amounts of stress to work out of their systems. All of which goes a long way to explain why some are venting their frustration in a time-honored way: by throwing axes and hatchets at inanimate objects.

A new article by Justin Peters at Slate chronicles the unlikely success story of hatchet-throwing chain Stumpy’s Hatchet House. (Full disclosure: the original Stumpy’s is located a stone’s throw from my hometown.) Early on in the pandemic, the chain temporarily closed its locations. Now, those are back open, along with some new locations that opened their doors in the midst of the pandemic.

Peters attributes the success that Stumpy’s and other similar businesses have had in the last year to a few simple factors. One is that running a hatchet-throwing space doesn’t require a lot of expenses. The other? The venting alluded to earlier. Throwing a hatchet at a target might not spark a return to normalcy, but it’s an understandable way to get frustration out of your system.

That we live in a world where throwing hatchets is a relatively safe activity during the pandemic can feel surreal at times. But it’s less strange than it initially seems — and in some ways, tossing a hatchet or axe at a target might be one of the healthier coping mechanisms out there right now.

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