Benches flank the machine in the Self-Kicking Booth, awaiting the penitent.
Benches flank the machine in the Self-Kicking Booth, awaiting the penitent.

Self-Kicking Booth

Field review by the editors.

Raleigh, North Carolina

"Have You Ever Said, 'I Want To Kick Myself'? Here's Your Chance." So reads the sign at the Self-Kicking Booth outside the Angus Barn Steakhouse, within hollarin' distance of Raleigh-Durham airport.

Business end view of the machine in action.
Business end view of the machine in action.

The booth is a copy of one that stood southeast of here, near New Bern. Its creator, Tom Haywood, built it as a way "to perform the needed rebuke to my conscience." The original 1937 model, now in pieces, sits in storage as Accession No. 2012.38.1 at the North Carolina Museum of History. It was so famous in its day that it had its own postcard, and rumors persist that its boots once grazed the butts of such luminaries as Lucille Ball and North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms.

Like its predecessor, the machine in Raleigh operates manually, its crank linked by a belt drive to the business end. A person stands on a platform, faces the handle, bends over, and turns the crank. To the rear, a wheel made of boots delivers a right-right-left-left posterior distribution of black Texas Steer size 10s, their toes curled upward from countless impacts. The only limit on velocity is the cranking power of the operator/victim.

Boot toes: curled from countless impacts.
Boot toes: curled from countless impacts.

The Self-Kicking Booth stands isolated at the Angus Barn Restaurant -- a local landmark itself -- between the outskirts of the parking lot and the adjacent pines. We can only guess at who walks back here to use it. Good ol' boys gang-testing their manhood, kicking themselves harder than their cousins? Solitary Angus Barn customers seeking penance for ordering that second slice of pecan pie?

Regardless of intent, there are five posted rules to be followed:

  • Use Machine At Own Risk
  • Children Under 12 Must Be Supervised By An Adult
  • One Person At A Time Please
  • Do Not Stand Facing Boots
  • The Angus Barn Will Not Be Responsible For Anyone Who Does Not Like The Way They Were Kicked

The restaurant doesn't say if it has ever had to deal with anyone who liked the way they were kicked too much.

Self-Kicking Booth

Angus Barn Restaurant

Address:
9401 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, NC
Directions:
Angus Barn Restaurant. South side of US Hwy 70 just east of I-540 and Lumley Rd. The machine is outdoors, under a little gazebo in the back of the parking lot.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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