Tuesday, September 11, 2018

I Don't Want a Pickle

Heads up, folks! Crazed codger coming atcha atop 600 pounds of raw power and pure speed, spurring a motor singing its trademark song through pipes that burble like a giant symphony hall organ. Watch out, now!
The Codgerhood Fairy left this prize sitting in my garage a few days ago. She thought I'd been a good boy. She knew what she was doing. I think she's trying to kill me.
No, I bought it myself, seeking no advice, asking no one's opinion except my own. Cause, what could anyone say to someone who is 78 years old?
"Yeah, man, go ahead. Buy a Sportster. That's just what you need!"
Yeah, that's what they totally gonna say. Not likely, Bud. You got to make your own decision.
Imagine my wife's surprise when I left for Lebanon, Tennessee on one Thursday morning and came back owning a Harley. She didn't know me when I messed with motorcycles and airplanes.
It ought to bring a good price at my estate sale. "Shit, man, look! A 1200 Sportster! Didn’t expect that."
A decision of many factors. But the biggest one is a belief I hold that we must wean ourselves of gasoline by say year 2040. Gas should be extinct by then, and I will be, too. So, why should something that will happen then determine what I do now?
This: motor sports perpetuate our love of machines and help continue our dependence on gasoline. And there I was considering buying a sport machine. I was caught in a contradiction. Well, I did read that it gets a pretty good mileage, 50 miles per gallon. Some redemption there maybe. Small redemption. Not enough for Bob Marley to work with.
Finally, I decided I have to live in the world where I find myself. Harley doesn't make an electric motorcycle. They better learn how. Instead they make a deep-throated mumbler that sounds like no other motorcycle, a sound that legions of loyal fans love specifically for that unique percussive sound.
          Two other factors I had to consider: my fading eyesight and dwindling years. I've curbed nighttime driving of my car because of vision defects. As my ophthalmologist warned, "You've lost one eye and half the other. You can't mess around with this." I understand that and yet I still drive, safely I think, at least in daylight. My vision is no worst sitting on the bike. Stakes are higher in case of an accident on the bike, true. Noted. And my dwindling years? Well, I am getting on in years, also true.
          Both these two factors failed as an argument against the bike. What they did was this: added urgency. Urgency. If this is an experience you want, man, you'd better get on with it!
So, I bought the Harley, against my deeply held environmental beliefs. I bought the bike. Does that make me a hypocrite? Maybe. Very well then, I accept Whitman: I contain multitudes.
I also accept Arlo Guthrie:

"I don't want a pickle
I just want to ride on my motor-cicle.
And I don't want to die
I just want to ride on my motor-cy-cle”

Which leads to another thought: Don’t die. You stop growing, you die. You stop learning, you die. Seek adventure. For a codger, buying a muscle bike is growing, is learning, is adventure. See me ride my motor-sicle!
Watch out, now!


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