The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A need for speed

When I was a youngster, I often dreamed of having a flying carpet. I wouldn't soar very high over the houses and trees, but just high enough to not run into anything. It was about escaping, I suppose. When you are a small child, you are like a prisoner, dependent on and controlled by adults and older siblings. I'm sure I was not the only child to have that recurring dream. I daydreamed about this more than I dreamt it at night.

It's easy enough to transport yourself as you lie on the cool grass and watch the clouds drift across the blue sky. I wasted a lot of hours doing just that. I spent a lot of time in trees, too. It's a wonder I never learned to fly. Maybe I would have if the jet age hadn't started. I was never a speed demon. I rarely wanted to go very fast. Though I did from time to time.

Even when I had a motorcycle, I never let it run full out. Well, except for one time when a friend and I rented a couple of little 90cc thingies in Long Beach when I was stationed there. Ran up and down Pacific Coast highway with the throttle twisted tight. Top speed couldn't have been more than 60 MPH or so. Not really fast. Made it a little hairy on some curves but had no problems, I cruised my BSA and Triumphs at 85 a few times.

I've only taken a few cars above 100 MPH. One time I did it, I was forced to take a 90 degree turn at 45. That came close to being the last time I drove. It was my brother's XK140. The weird part was it didn't feel like I was going that fast until I started to approach the intersection of US 1 from Sunny Isles Causeway. It came up awfully fast and the light was against me. I was braking and downshifting like a madman. I was just lucky there wasn't any cross traffic at that time. I slid around the corner and headed north just like I knew what I was doing.

It's all about escape, though, isn't it? A way to avoid thinking about the mundane things of life. The mind has to focus on the tasks at hand or risk a crash. And I never thought a crash would be something I would walk away from. I had friends who had crashed while racing or just cruising. A couple with who broke legs, laid up for weeks.

When I was 15, a close friend and several kids I knew smashed up a couple of cars while joyriding. There were about 8 kids in the two cars. My friend was driving one of them. The other car clipped his rear bumper on a turn and the both cars spun out and were eventually stopped by trees along the side of the road. The driver of the other car broke a couple of bones and somehow managed to get smacked in the head by the gearshift. His girlfriend had her pelvis crushed by the transmission when it was forced back and up at impact. There were no seat belts then, no airbags. People flew all over the inside of the cars and some were ejected.

My friend was found about two blocks away, wandering around. With a head injury. In a daze. It made the news, of course. The 11 o'clock news that night. I already knew about the wreck because the word of it spread fast. The TV news reporter talked about one boy being wheeled into the emergency room shouting, "Take my picture, I was in the wreck!" I immediately knew who that was... my friend, Steve.

When you're young, you rarely think of consequences.

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