Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Thanks, Bro



Usually one of the bad things about bike racing is the fact that it takes you away from every one and every thing in your life that has nothing to do with racing. But sometimes you can double dip. Such was the case last week when my dad and my brother and I worked all week long fixing up my new flaming bike-race vehicle, which is pictured here. My brother is a custom painter who usually spends his paint brush spraying $10,000 trick paint jobs for classic cars. But he spent all last week helping me pimp this '92 Dodge van. Cool, huh?

We took out the last two seats in the rear and that left plenty of cargo space to lay down two rows of fork mounts that will haul six bikes. It also leaves two more bench seats and of course the two buckets up front. I also took it to the stereo shop and had a Kenwood stereo put in with four 9-inch speakers. Next, I'll add a CD changer and I'm thinking about at least a couple more mid-range speakers just to take the sound over the top a little. I'm thinking of loading up the rear windows with race decals, and I'm talking about drag racing, not bike. I figure no rednecks will fuck with it that way. With bike decals they'll see it as some kind of Brokeback wagon. With stuff like NHRA and Hooker Headers and Crane Cams and STP and such, they'll think it's a fucking rolling shrine.

Next I gotta put up some curtains and a "Weed, gas or ass--nobody rides for free" bumper sticker. And don't nobody give me no shit about no mid-life crisis or no 60's flashbacks. If any of that shit is true, then my entire life has been both a crisis and a 60's flashback. This shit is simply status quo for me. Later.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Buttheadedness has value

Over breakfast this morning, I read a piece in the paper about how some people of a certain religious order were rioting, destroying property and killing because a cartoon had depicted their prophet as a violent man. Maybe there is more to this than I have the capacity to understand, but to me this all seems so ironic that it is beneath ridiculous. Almost as bad is that our government condemned the cartoon and not this reaction to it.

This is what happens when political correctness runs amok. One joke somehow manages to demean an entire class, race, nationality, or sex of people. Then, depending on your perspective, it's okay to make fun of some people and not others. Age jokes are okay, black jokes are off-limits. Fat jokes are fine when they're about guys, not okay when about women. You can make fun of holy-rollers, but not catholics. You can poke fun at someone's dad, but not their mom--or better, you can make fun of that guy's dad, but the other guy's dad is off-limits.

Who decides? Who are the joke police?

A couple of truisms:

--You are the only person who truly can demean you.
--The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
--Sticks and stones will break your bones; words can not hurt you unless you take an active part in the infliction of the pain.

There is a guy in the BOCOMO peloton who got the nickname Butthead hung on him by companions whose friendship he still cherishes. Butthead didn't run from the name; something, really, that you have no control over. Rather, he took the name and ran with it. He used it to craft a race-face persona. He turned it into a strength.

Butthead is a friend of mine. And, no, it wasn't my favorite moment when Butthead schemed to arrange a Depends prime for the masters category at my hometown race one year. Some of my competitors liked it even less. But the fact is, we really are a bunch of old fucks who belong to a class of people who mostly tend to gardens, or watch TV or go fishing. Most folks my age don't do a lot of flying through corners at 30 miles per hour on a bicycle.

No, it's not that we need Butthead, or anyone else, to remind us of how old we are getting. But maybe we do need him to remind us to laugh about it once in a while. And the other thing we definitely need him for is to cajole us into doing four-hour loops in sub-freezing weather. Old folks aren't supposed to be doing that shit, either. So thanks at least for that, Butthead. Later.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A star is born

So I'm rolling back from work along the trail last night. I'm almost to Easley and it's starting to get dark and I haven't seen hide nor hair of my homeboys who are supposed to roll out to meet me. Then off in the distance I see a flash of light, a signal like in one of those old westerns, and I know the boys are waiting just up ahead. I'm glad it's really not like one of those old movies where the flash would mean my ass is just about to get ambushed or something equally as nefarious.

But it was only Ethan (aka, Fish), his son Nolan (aka, Guppy) and Butthead (aka, Josh) waiting to roll on back to town. It's good to have someone meet you on a ride like this. The trail is flat and although the scenery is a pastoral tableau worthy of an oil on canvas, after an hour or so it all blends together. So some spirited conversation helps. And with this assemblage you get spirited conversation, and then some.

At some point the give-and-take between Butthead and Guppy turns, surprise surprise, to sexual performance art, which Butthead can fall back on with guppy, because guppy is barely 16 and Josh knows he can take the conversation to places where the boy will be speechless, but nonetheless entertained. Of course. He's 16. So where's a better place for a 16-year-old yearling to hear this stuff? At church? On the street?

So Josh is describing to guppy the proper way to accomplish an act that never even makes the cut for, say, Penthouse magazine, but is a mainstay for, say, Hustler. So I, ever the linguistic traffic cop that I am, play the interloper and chime in with, "Okay, for the record, the proper term for that act is, money shot."

Nolan laughs and Josh goes nuts yelling to Nolan, "That's you new nickname, Money Shot, Money Shot." And he starts about a twenty minute soliloquy of exchanges where Nolan will use his new nickname in race situations. And of course both Nolan and I are cracking up.

Nolan takes to his new name right away, which leaves Ethan uncharacteristically quiet on this new moniker for his progeny. I don't think he liked it. But I seem to remember one of Ethan's favorite things to yell out to Nolan when he wants to spur him on, "Remember where you come from, boy," to which he then provides the answer, "From my balls," and laughs heartily. So about all you can say to Ethan for Nolan's new appellation is, what goes around comes around. But also, getting a nickname hung on you really just means people care enough to do that. And with Nolan, I mean Money Shot, there is the very real possibility that it could turn into a double-entendre. So at some point Ethan could be saying, "Remember where you come from, boy, and gimme your winnin's." Later.