“Wood to Chop”, noun phrase, as used in high finance and big business, this idiom is an alternative way to say “work” and nearly always has the descriptor “a lot of” preceding the phrase.
Usage Note: Smart finance and business types often put on a lot of show to exude confidence and display their intellectual horsepower. Using fancy and pithy phrases is one way they attempt to bedazzle their colleagues and customers; to cast a spell on them in an effort to maintain power in their relationships and interactions. But inside, they are often ill at ease with themselves and their lack of physical stature, having been chained to a desk and stuffed inside a cubicle for many years doing their time while hoping for an eventual payday. They have atrophied into hunch-backed, monitor-tanned zombies who couldn’t survive a week in the wild if the power went out. For the male homo sapien whose evolutionary DNA has wired him to be hunting for food, fighting and killing enemies, and moving giant boulders around to create some kind of calendar, this is rather emasculating. To compensate, these big shots hurl verbal abuse at their underlings, talk like jocks in the locker room, and use phrases like “wood to chop” in place of “work” because it sounds like actually doing work, as opposed to typing numbers in a spreadsheet which, well, isn’t very manly from an evolutionary perspective.
According to Crystal Toot, the Jane Goodall Director at the Contemporary Primitive Male Social Anthropology Center at the New Jersey Zoological Society, the current lumbersexual man-trend actually had its genesis in the banking world. Ms. Toot explains:
After the financial crisis of 2008, many of the financial industry cast-offs relocated from Manhattan to Brooklyn to take advantage of lower rents. These males soon found that they were no match for the masculinity of the native hipsters that had come to dominate the landscape there and who were consistently winning their mating competitions and thus achieving better reproductive outcomes through sexual selection. The male bankers’ ego would not allow this phenomenon to persist, and so mutated the hipster expression of masculinity into an exaggerated form. The result manifests in the display of these so-called lumbersexual males as a cross between Paul Bunyan and Alice Cooper and their appearance can be truly exceptional.
The financial nerds who remain locked-up in the corporate machine may not be toting a $210 Gransfors Bruks Hunters axe to fell the next Norwegian Spruce they come across, but as soon as the next onerous task is assigned, they’ll be sure to tell their office mates how much wood they have to chop.