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All Men Should Be Digging Tunnels

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Ever since humans evolved away from living in caves, mostly for reasons listed in this extremely ribald and also likely problematic sketch from Dave Chappelle, men have been trying to get back into them. Initially, this took the form of activities like hiking, hunting, fishing, and camping, but in more recent years has progressed to a much more watered-down version of the rustic, minimalist simplicity we once enjoyed to a more comfortable version: the man cave.

The trend started when Richard “Atouk” Starkey realized in 1992 that he could finish out his basement, add a pool table, mini-fridge, a few posters of his favorite sports teams, a few chairs, and a television and call it done. There were no pointless baubles, like pictures of his family, and especially no throw pillows.

Since that time, the man cave has itself evolved into fancier and fancier iterations with wet bars and surround sound systems, perhaps even a blanket for taking a nap, but a viral tweet this week alerted us to one pioneer who is seeking to take us back to our roots:

So, I know this is a weird question, but my boyfriend likes to spend a lot of his free time digging a tunnel on some property that he inherited. I haven’t seen the full extent of it, but last I saw it was remarkably deep under the surface. He’s spent roughly a year on it, and it’s evident. The front of the thing is deep, wide, well put together. At the front, which is the only part that I’ve seen, he’s got cement beams, electric lights, even chairs and a small table. I haven’t gone into it, but it looked like the quality severely dropped as the tunnel went further, mostly becoming open dirt with some wood beams holding it up.

First, I have some doubts as there are no pictures of the tunnel. How could one ask a question such as this without some sort of visual proof? As most of the Reddit girlfriend’s questions revolve around safety and logistics, it’s impossible to answer them without at least looking at pictures of her boyfriend’s work, though obviously, it would be better to visit it in person and discuss the project, preferably over a few cold ones, particularly as the electric lights suggest a power source that could also supply a mini-fridge.

Second, regardless of the veracity of the story, while the rest of us were lounging about in our comfy “caves,” replete with basically every convenience we could ask for, including the freedom of not having to deal with throw pillows, we could have been outside digging actual caves. We’ve gotten soft as a sex.

Granted, there are our own logistical challenges, namely that to do so requires us to have enough land on which to dig a tunnel, though technically it sounds like more of a den since it doesn’t connect to anything. Now is not the time for semantics, though, it’s time to look at this brave individual’s contribution to making men great again.

Perhaps he’s a member of the laptop class and this is his way to get away from the online noise machine for a bit. Perhaps he works in a trade of some sort and is passionate about his art. The original post on Reddit doesn’t offer any such clues.

In any case, this guy isn’t just touching grass, he’s plowing right through it, root and all. He’s creating his own space rather than just very lightly decorating a space built by a more enterprising individual. And he’s not limiting it to digging, there are the aforementioned table and chairs. In other words, while we’re falling asleep watching the game, he’s literally fashioning his own space using nothing but his hands and probably some other tools, though I like to imagine he’s Clark Griswolding the entire thing.

As such, the question isn’t how to get Specialist-Ad4561’s boyfriend to stop digging his tunnel, but how to get the rest of us men out there digging our own. Because while we may have abandoned our caves, the instinct to live in them has never abandoned us.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my neighbors are having a pool put in, but are experiencing lots of rain delays, which means I have an opportunity to go “borrow” the pool company’s mini-excavator and get some work done before the wife gets home from the office.