Mike malarkey

Mike is, perhaps, the most common male name in our entire culture. We all know many, many men named Mike. Because of this, well, some of the Mikes we know will be pleasant fellows, and some will be dickheads. I have known several fine, fine Mikes in my life time -- Mike Mahiques (a high school buddy), Mike White (a one time roleplaying pal) and, of course, Mike Norton, a true mensch among mensches.

However, I have also known some Mikes who were utter dickheads. This will be the story of one of those Mikes.

So, Saturday, the plan was to go to the Mammoth Cave Federal Park and do one of the briefer cave tours. For those of you who don't know it -- prior to yesterday, I was one of you -- central Kentucky is riddled with caves, to the extent that, back in the early part of the 20th Century, the backwoods hillbillies living in that area actually fought what are now called 'the Cave Wars'. See, they discovered that a cave was a mighty fine tourist attaction, and if you had one -- or could create one -- on your property, you could make more money charging city slickers admission than you could farming the land, or running 'shine. So a great many farmers took pick axe, shovel, and a goodly amount of dynamite in hand, carried them down into the nearly ubiquitous sink holes that dotted the area like inverse geographical blackheads, and if they couldn't find an opening into central Kentucky's extensive underground warrens already in existence, they damned well made one. And then, to cut down on the competition from their neighbors, they would also do things like traipse through the connecting underground passages to underneath said neighbor's property, and set off dynamite charges in the neighboring caverns... or spread rumors that their neighbors' caves weren't safe, or everybody on the adjoining land had diptheria, or some such. Colorful times, which bred a colorful people, most of whom to this day still cannot spell the word 'elephant' or count past twenty without unzipping their flies.

But I digress. So the plan was, we drive to Mammoth Cave Park and do a short cave expedition, and that was fine. And the trip down was fine; we were all having a good time in the car, munching on snacks and singing along with the radio. For me, this is the best part of any outing, and while I've never in my life been one of those 'the journey is more important than the destination' guys, I find myself converting more and more to that philosophical tenent now that I have a family to go on outings with. I generally don't much care where we are going, I just vastly enjoy getting there.

(Singing along with the radio is probably more fun for me these days than it is for all of you, as the family I have somehow lucked into are all gifted with beautiful singing voices... well, except for Super Adorable Kid, who has yet to grow into hers. But trust me, when we get some Evanescence on the radio, the chicks in the car with me know how to rock it on out.)

So, anyway, we follow Yahoo's admirable directions and get most of the way there and then we see a sign at a Y fork in the road -- THIS WAY TO MAMMOTH CAVES. So, naturally, off we go. A mile down the road, we see a huge billboard -- BIG MIKE WELCOMES YOU TO MAMMOTH CAVES. This sign inveigles us to play miniature golf on the Hillbilly Hound putt-putt course, to explore the Mysterious Mansion, to visit Big Mike's souvenir shop, to eat at Big Mike's restaurant -- but nowhere around is Mammoth Caves.

So we drive on a little way, in a car that is rapidly filling with the boiling emotional water of resentment. I mean, we're thinking we've been had, and after another mile, it becomes apparent we have -- there is no Mammoth Cave anywhere down this road. So we turn around, go back to the fork in the road, and head the other way, and, indeed, this is the actual road that leads, eventually, to the park which is our intended destination.

SuperGirlfriend is, at this point, quite wroth with this chicanery, although I should note, it's not like she is exactly inexperienced with the duplicity, malfeasance, guile, and faithlessness of men named Mike. In fact, she is at this point in her life quite expert in the treachery that can be imbued in that humble, seemingly harmless sobriquet. Nonetheless, one does not cross the love of my life idly, and now her ire is up.

"Big Mike," she opines to me, from the corner of her mouth, as Chumbawumba bellows on our radio about getting knocked down, and getting up again, and how they're never gonna keep them down, "should be kicked in the balls until his eyeballs bleed."

"Yeah," I agreed, while tapping my fingers against my kneecap in time to the whiskey drink, the vodka drink, the lager drink, and the cider drink, "I know a few Mikes like that."

I get knocked down but I get up again
No you're never gonna keep me down...

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