Pawn Stars

“You might be a redneck if you take your dog for a walk and you both use the tree at the corner.”  – Jeff Foxworthy

I think I may as well face the fact that I am a white-collar redneck (or partial redneck; or redneck wanna be).  Besides the fact that I have spent every year since I was 11 sitting in a tree staring at other trees waiting for something to happen in my blaze orange get up, I also quickly get hooked on shows like “Swamp People” and “American Chopper” and such.  I even daydream of one day having my own custom chopper shop or visiting my friend in Louisiana to find us some gators.  And today, I’m completely addicted to the show “Pawn Stars” ever since my also redneck son hooked me on it up at our hunting cabin in Wisconsin.  And only a redneck would say to themselves “Hey, we could go pawn some stuff too.  We’ve got stuff.  How hard could this be?  We should even think about opening one of those in Johns Creek.”  So when my son and I left the woods and headed south to our hometown of Janesville, WI we were on a mission.  We were Pawn Stars in our own right.

First stop – Big Ed’s Pawn Store on one of the main streets of downtown.  Janesville is only about 60,000 people or so and you can drive 25 mph and get completely across town in about 15 minutes.  According to SIRI, there were two pawn stores on our path to riches and this one had the best name.  I had to meet Big Ed.

First though, we had to have something to pawn.  We said to my Mom and Dad that we needed something good.  We figured they had a lot of “stuff” in the house so they should easily be able to pick out something old and unique for us to pawn.  It was a 1920 Atwood wooden and iron clothes hanging rack.   It was basically a bunch of wooden rods that fold down into a machine gun looking arrangement that can be extended out in a big circle to hang clothes.  This was perfect.  On the Las Vegas show they love historical items that are unique so this one was surely going to have us counting our money in no time.

My son and I tentatively walk into Big Ed’s carrying our treasure.  To know what I’m getting into and to ensure my son is not going to get shot or anything I scan the room.  I had no idea what to expect.  I’d never been in a pawn store so this had us both a bit nervous.  All around the edge of the room were big amps (for bands) and guitars.  Lots of ’em.  People must love that stuff.  There were also lots of bow and arrow kits, beer signs and stereo equipment.  I didn’t see one 1920 Atwood in the room.  I did, however, see Big Ed!  And his other very large and overweight friend sitting smack dab in the middle of the room staring at us.  No smiles.  No how you doings.  Just a “yes”? from Big Ed (the guy with the ear full of earings, leather vest, Hanson brother glasses and tattoos).  He was the perfect Big Ed.

The reason I know he’s Big Ed is because the first words out of my mouth were “who’s buying?!”  The other large guy immediately pointed to the guy I just described.  They don’t wear name tags behind the counter of pawn stores so this meant it had to be him.  Big Ed asked me what I have there and I proudly describe the unique and historical find we have here in our 1920’s Atwood.  Great shape and the wooden rods all fold right out.  I start to demonstrate and Big Ed holds up his hand.  “I don’t even know what the hell that thing is.”  Well, Big Ed, neither do I.  But that shouldn’t matter.  It is unique.  It is old.  And on pawn shows you are now supposed to say you’ll give me $100.  But that isn’t what Big Ed said.  “You’ll be lucky to get $5.”  That wasn’t what I expected him to say.  And my son looked up at me and said let’s go.  He’s a hard-core negotiator and wasn’t having any of Big Ed’s low balling.  But first I asked him where he thought I could pawn it off.  Big Ed says just go on up Hwy 51 to Casey’s.  They’ll probably buy it.  When I look kind of dumbfounded not knowing exactly where he was talking about he gives me his I really am starting to get annoyed with this customer look and says “It’s right next to the adult book store, you know?”.  Oh.  Right.  Ok.  Thanks Big Ed.  See ya.

We find our way to Casey’s next.  And it truly IS right next to the adult book store.  I’m not sure how I could have ever missed it before.  (kidding)  We figure we’ve got to really get energized about this thing we’re selling.  Kind of turn up the heat on the pawn buyer and make them want it!  But first my son and I have one of those belly laughing, tears in the eyes moments outside where neither of us can stop laughing about this thing we’re trying to pawn.  Neither of us have any clue what it really is or why these guys would want it.  And the fact that it is a Wednesday afternoon and we’re standing in a pawn store parking lot in Janesville, WI next to the adult book store holding a 1920 Atwood wooden and iron clothes rack just kind of made us both truly laugh out loud.  We had to get it together, man.  We’re Pawn Stars.  So we get serious and put our sales pitch faces on and head on in.  This one was much quicker.  I didn’t even get to the 1920’s historical part.  I got the raised hand almost immediately.  The u-beard only kid (no mustache; just beard) says “nope”.  What do you mean “nope”?!  He was nice enough to tell me they just don’t buy stuff like that.  (Obviously this is not a TRUE pawn store like Las Vegas.)  I’m told they just want newer electronics and gold.  Oh well.  0 for 2.

My son and I walk out of the store with our clothes rack treasure in hand and our tails between our legs.  We did try to sell it at an antique store but they already had two of ’em.  So much for our “unique” pitch.  Our day as Pawn Stars was over.  But truly, it was probably the most I’ve laughed this whole year.  I’m sure that’s also true for my son.  And it might be true for Big Ed as well (after we left).

Running Update:  Fried cheese curds, friend onion rings and fried everything will do wonders for motivation to run.  I ran every day once I made it home out of the woods.  I’d be 300 lbs if I lived up there on a regular basis given my very low capacity to control myself around these things.  It’s all good.

Trail running is the new thing.  I still am running like a normal runner but I am also trying to fit in a few trail runs here and there.  You get to run through woods on what they call single-track trails.  There is an awesome trail that I’ve landed on called the Johns Creek Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.  It goes on for about 6 or 7 miles and runs along the Chattahoochee River.  If you ever want to try this type of running I suggest you try this.  I’m so excited about this new-found type of running I even signed up for a half-marathon trail run in February.  You’d know about that already if you were a cool Cambridge CAT.  I am spearheading a new neighborhood site to motivate and collaborate with others on upcoming events such as runs, triathlons, etc.  If you want to check it out go to   I’m working with the board to see if we can keep it going as a neighborhood thing.  We’ll see what comes of it.

Only 29 months and 26.2 miles to go…


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