There is a famous statue called the Road to Omaha. It sits outside of Rosenblatt Stadium, the site of the College World Series, in timeless bronze, a monument to winning, losing, and baseball. I saw the statue on my last visit to Omaha. I’ll see it again on my next.
I first wrote about the statue while still living in New Jersey, as one of my earliest pieces for Omaha.net. As co-developer of the site, it was decided that I should live there, and thus I have begun my own Road to Omaha, in the form of a 2-3 month extended visit. As Thompson would say: I’m on a savage journey into the heart of America.
To be honest, though, I’m traveling Hunter S.-lite, replacing the case of uppers, downers, screamers, and laughers with a large, excessively-caffeinated iced coffee and a pouch of Red Man® Chewing Tobacco (America’s Best Chew®). No bat sightings so far, but the tips of my fingers are exhibiting a dull tingle.
To explain: I don’t smoke, and I don’t dip, and no one snuffs anymore (or even knows anyone that does), but I do chew. I consume one pouch per three years, on any extended road trip that passes through a state with cheap tobacco products. I do it because chewing reminds me of my friend Jon, the only chemist I know that wears a cowboy hat. Chewing takes me back to a dark stretch of Georgia highway, fields of Kentucky Bluegrass, the Jack Daniel’s distillery, and the nights of a reckless, Kerouac-aping roadtrip fueled on sleepless, youthful idealism. Whew.
Now Omaha bound, I loaded my iPod with Wavves, a band whose lyrical tropes (boredom, death) and sound quality (noise) seem most appropriate for the straight shot on 80-West through Pennsylvania. Their album would be a lot better if it was shorter. I think the same about my drive.
Interspersed with Wavves, Bon Iver, and Frightened Rabbit, is an audiobook, Free: The Future of a Radical Price, about restructuring prices through the marginal economics of the internet. Apropos for this blog and Omaha.net, the book outlines why people are increasingly giving things away to increase their profit margins.
As I pull into Columbus, OH to stay the night with a newly engaged friend, my mind is reeling with the possibilities of making a career for myself on the internet. Indianapolis is the next stop, with a detour to another Columbus, an Indiana suburb, and unlikely epicenter for modern architecture through the Aegis of the Cummins Diesel Company. Hopefully, I’ll figure out how to be a .com millionaire by then.