My parents moved to Spanish Fork, UT when I was 10 and over the following decades it became home. It’s also weird.
Today, SF is a thriving middle-class metropolis with overpopulated pickleball courts — in my time, it was a hick town. Our house was in the nicest section of town, atop a gravel pit and sandwiched between skinny dirt roads. I quickly acclimated to small town eccentricity. Our finest restaurant was Little Acorn, a fast food establishment with a dive bar feel. It doubled as our most famous landmark after Dumb & Dumber filmed a scene there and Pamela Anderson was rumored to have eaten a hamburger there. It was also our nicest public bathroom, public library, medical center, and poshest art gallery. Little Acorn was everything.
In high school, I partook of our finest tradition: dragging Main. Spanish Fork Main Street was a mile-long stretch where citizens tried to prove their superiority, mate, or both. Every Friday and Saturday night was dragging time. Participants would drive down Main, make a u-turn, drive back down Main, make a u-turn, etc. People would do it for hours. There were many ways to drag Main correctly:
- Drive a large truck. The larger, the better — original Spanish Forkers valued trucks like the human body values air. Driving a car down Main Street on a Friday risked physical violence and/or rotten eggs tossed on your windshield.
- Emit more exhaust than other trucks. At each stoplight, one truck would pull up to another and try to outblow the other. Yeah, I said it. If you blew a bigger cloud of exhaust and the other truck couldn’t see through it, you won. If the other truck out-blew you and you couldn’t see, you lost. If you blew one another and no one could see, everyone won.
- Have sex in the Shopko parking lot. This was the northernmost point of Main Street and thus the natural destination for rutting. Yes, we called it rutting. If you played your cards right, someone would be so impressed by your truck/exhaust-blowing they would agree to fornicate in a dimly-lit parking stall. True love, SF-style.
- Fistfight in the Shopko parking lot. Unlike today, a lot was happening at Shopko. If you struck out on adult encounters, you fought somebody. Plain and simple. Reasons to fight included overzealous exhaust blowing, underwhelming exhaust blowing, and something to do besides drive up and down a mile-long street. Strangely enough this was also true love, SF-style.
- Meet at Fast Gas and agree to have sex/fight in the Shopko parking lot. Fast Gas was the Switzerland of Main Street — you met on neutral ground (a gas station) and decided the best place to commit atrocities moving forward. Which was Shopko. Always Shopko. People are freaked out about Sodom and Gomorroh but that was before Shopko’s parking lot came to be, sin and depravity smothered in black exhaust.
So that’s dragging Main. If somebody flashed you, it was a good day. If somebody fought you, it was a good day. Unfortunately, this was me:
I wasn’t a good dragger of Main. I owned a car (!!!!!) that emitted minimal exhaust. Zero people wanted to have sex with me. Zero people wanted to fight me. I wanted to fight zero people. The only nudity I saw was one dude’s butt cheek. On the five-part checklist of how to drag Main correctly, I whiffed on all five.
I did get a heavy dose of weird, which I am thankful for. Small town Utah has its appeal and right at the top of the list is the bizarreness. I tell everyone about my Spanish Fork upbringing. I meet others and pine for strange stats about Eureka, Spring City, Delta, Tooele, and Beaver. I’m here for it. I co-host a podcast about weird Utah stories and I NEED MORE OF IT. Please send me your tales. This is my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is my Twitter: @chrisrawle. This is my phone number: jk, I would never give you this. But seriously, I want to hear the weirdest thing about your town. Contact me and let’s get weird.
(Design: Josh Fowlke) (Editor: Rachel Swan)