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.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Snippet of Life: Slip sliding away

When one is young and stupid, one does young and stupid things. Like ride motorcycles without a helmet. And take drugs. And sometimes both at the same time. This is not exactly smart and one relies on the kindness of fate in those circumstances.

I cannot count the number of times I drank to excess at a friend's place and got on my motorcycle to head home when I found myself staring at headlights coming at me in my lane. Luckily, there was always an alley or street to escape into before the headlights and I merged.

Yet I did not dump my motorcycle on the street until years later and I was stone cold sober. Let me take us both back to that day...

I was working evenings at the phone company and taking classes at the local city college in the mornings. My first wife was also taking classes at that school but hers extended into the afternoon. I would often pick her up from class on my motorcycle if I had brought her to school in the morning.

On one cool early afternoon in the late fall, I headed down Florida Drive to pick her up. I was happily humming along at 55 (it's an open road with a 45 or 50 MPH limit, I forget) on a clear and pleasant day, wearing Levis, T-shirt, thermal undershirt, denim jacket, my rubber-soled work shoes. and an old Navy knit watch cap. About halfway down the road, with a big old UPS delivery truck a few car lengths behind me, a lady in a blue Caddy convertible turned left in front of me to head up toward Balboa Park. I had about a block in which to react.

I hit my rear brake a tad too hard. The rear tire broke loose and swung out to the right. This was not desirable so I backed off the brake. All I could see was the blue of that Caddy, a huge looking beast that seemed to be barely ambling through its turn. Everything was in slow motion. I felt the UPS truck behind me more than anything else, taking no time to find it in my mirrors. My attention was riveted on that Caddy. I hit the rear brake again. This time, the rear tire broke loose and went left. As it threatened to come around to perpendicular, I knew I would not survive a collision or the bike flipping over.

So I did the only rational thing; I pulled the handlebars toward me, forcing the bike to lay down as I hurtled toward the intersection and that *^&(*$ Caddy! I somehow managed to bring my right leg up and away from the bike as we hit the pavement together and slid toward the Caddy (which seemed to be almost standing still now but wasn't). I saw the bike move ahead of me and witnessed the sparks from the front highway peg and the right hand muffler... and smelled the gas that was now leaking out of the tank.

In the few fractions of a second as we both slid into the intersection just as the Caddy moved out of our way, I didn't see my life pass before my eyes but visions of a flaming motorcycle. That didn't happen, though, it just went through my mind. I never felt the asphalt eating through my jeans or jacket sleeve as I tried to slow myself down using my rubber soled shoes without flipping myself over.

And then we came to a stop. I got up. I went to my bike and lifted it upright and walked it off the roadway. The UPS truck drove by a couple of seconds later, he had slowed and stayed out of it all. I kicked the starter and the bike roared back to life and I continued on to the city college.

It wasn't until I got there that I found, and felt, the road rash on my elbow and right hip.

I healed quickly in those days.

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