Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Keep the Rubber Side Down, Part II

I slid feet first across the pavement, the asphalt slowly grinding away the skin on my knees. Sparks shot past from the motorcycle sliding somewhere in front of me.

Two thoughts raced through my mind:

1. This is going to hurt.

2. Am I going to stop?

The answer was "Yes".

When I dressed for work that morning I didn't plan on crashing in the parking lot. I had a new summer job working for the campus electrician. I wore work pants, boots, and a t-shirt. My nod to motorcycle apparel was my Arai Signet Jimmy Adamo replica helmet and Kevlar reinforced Olympia gloves.

In retrospect, a full set of leathers might have been nice.

I'd had the motorcycle for about a year. I was a cautious rider. I'd read all the riding tips in the magazines and put them into practice. I always stayed alert and paid attention to the homicidal zombies half-asleep in their tin boxes.

But that morning, I was running a little late to work. The parking lot was empty. I turned in the driveway and rolled on the throttle. The revs shot up.

The wind roared over my helmet as the painted stripes became a blur. At the last moment, I shut the throttle and squeezed the front brake lever. The calipers clamped down on the whizzing rotor and the front end dropped as the forks compressed. At the same moment, the front tire hit a bump in the pavement. The suspension, fully compressed and unable to soak up the bump, bounced the front tire off the ground.

I flipped over the handlebars and landed on the ground. I slid for 200 hundred feet across the empty parking lot. As my body slowed I jumped to my feet. I ran to my bike and heaved it upright. The right side of the bike looked as if it had been attacked by a meth addict wielding an angle grinder.

My pants were torn. I had gravel embedded in my knees. My right arm from my shoulder blade to my wrist was an abraded mess. My left thumb was throbbing.

It was going to hurt. A lot.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I'm all for kicking a little terrorist ass.

However, our country seems to be spending a lot of money fighting wars overseas. Billions of dollars are being spent to maintain our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the same time, education spending in this country is being cut.

Teachers are being laid off.

Class sizes are increasing.

Students are spending less time in the classroom due to furlough days.

Art and music programs are being cut.

We are going to pay the cost of our country's focus on military spending for a long time.