Work off a few calories by having a good laugh. This is not of my origination. A comment on Gary's blog sparked me to blow the dust off this story and share it with you. Some of you may have seen it before but it's always good for a chuckle and some mental imagery. Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy family as you're able!
Written by Daniel Meyer, author of a book called "Life is a Road, the Soul is a Motorcycle".
DISCLAIMER: If you're drinking something, put it down for the duration.
You've been warned. All punctuation errors, format, etc. are as I found 'em.
I never dreamed slowly cruising through a residential neighbourhood could be so incredibly dangerous!
Studies have shown that motorcycling requires more
decisions per second, and more sheer data processing
than nearly any other common activity or sport. The
reactions and accurate decision making abilities
needed have been likened to the reactions of fighter
pilots! The consequences of bad decisions or poor
situational awareness are pretty much the same for
both groups too.
Occasionally, as a rider I have caught myself starting
to make bad or late decisions while riding. In flight
training, my instructors called this being "behind the
power curve". It is a mark of experience that when
this begins to happen, the rider recognizes the
situation, and more importantly, does something about
it. A short break, a meal, or even a gas stop can set
things right again as it gives the brain a chance to
Good, accurate, and timely decisions are essential
when riding a motorcycle, at least if you want to
remain among the living. In short, the brain needs to
keep up with the machine.
I had been banging around the roads of east Texas and
as I headed back into Dallas, found myself in very
heavy, high-speed traffic on the freeways. Normally,
this is not a problem, I commute in these conditions
daily, but suddenly I was nearly run down by a cage
that decided it needed my lane more than I did. This
is not normally a big deal either, as it happens
around here often, but usually I can accurately
predict which drivers are not paying attention and
avoid them before we are even close. This one I missed
seeing until it was nearly too late, and as I took
evasive action I nearly broadsided another car that I
was not even aware was there!
Two bad decisions and insufficient situational
awareness, all within seconds. I was behind the power
curve. Time to get off the freeway.
I hit the next exit, and as I was in an area I knew
pretty well, headed through a few big residential neighbourhoods as a new route home. As I turned onto the nearly empty streets I opened the visor on my full-face helmet to help get some air. I figured some slow riding through the quiet surface streets would give me time to relax, think, and regain that "edge" so frequently required when riding.
Little did I suspect.
As I passed an oncoming car, a brown furry missile
shot out from under it and tumbled to a stop
immediately in front of me. It was a squirrel, and
must have been trying to run across the road when it encountered the car. I really was not going very fast, but there was no time to brake or avoid it-it was that close.
I hate to run over animals.and I really hate it on a motorcycle, but a squirrel should pose no danger to me. I barely had time to brace for the impact.
Animal lovers, never fear. Squirrels can take care of themselves!
Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped to his
feet. He was standing on his hind legs and facing the
oncoming Valkyrie with steadfast resolve in his little
beady eyes. His mouth opened, and at the last possible
second, he screamed and leapt! I am pretty sure the
scream was squirrel for, "Banzai!" or maybe, "Die you gravy-sucking, heathen scum!" as the leap was spectacular and he flew over the windshield and impacted me squarely in the chest.
Instantly he set upon me. If I did not know better I
would have sworn he brought twenty of his little
buddies along for the attack. Snarling, hissing, and
tearing at my clothes, he was a frenzy of activity. As
I was dressed only in a light t-shirt, summer riding
gloves, and jeans this was a bit of a cause for
concern. This furry little tornado was doing some damage!
Picture a large man on a huge black and chrome
cruiser, dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and leather
gloves puttering maybe 25mph down a quiet residential street.and in the fight of his life with a squirrel. And losing.
I grabbed for him with my left hand and managed to
snag his tail. With all my strength I flung the evil
rodent off the left of the bike, almost running into
the right curb as I recoiled from the throw.
That should have done it. The matter should have ended
right there. It really should have. The squirrel could
have sailed into one of the pristinely kept yards and
gone on about his business, and I could have headed
home. No one would have been the wiser.
But this was no ordinary squirrel. This was not even
an ordinary pissed-off squirrel.
This was an evil attack squirrel of death!
Somehow he caught my gloved finger with one of his
little hands, and with the force of the throw swung
around and with a resounding thump and an amazing
impact he landed square on my back and resumed his
rather anti-social and extremely distracting
activities. He also managed to take my left glove with him!
The situation was not improved. Not improved at all.
His attacks were continuing, and now I could not reach him.
I was startled to say the least. The combination of
the force of the throw, only having one hand (the
throttle hand) on the handlebars, and my jerking back unfortunately put a healthy twist through my right hand and into the throttle. A healthy twist on the throttle of a Valkyrie can only have one result. Torque. This is what the Valkyrie is made for, and she is very, very good at it.
The engine roared as the front wheel left the
pavement. The squirrel screamed in anger. The Valkyrie
screamed in ecstasy. I screamed in, well, I just plain screamed.
Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome
cruiser, dressed in jeans, a slightly squirrel torn
t-shirt, and only one leather glove roaring at maybe
70mph and rapidly accelerating down a quiet
residential street.on one wheel and with a demonic
squirrel on his back. The man and the squirrel are
both screaming bloody murder.
With the sudden acceleration I was forced to put my
other hand back on the handlebars and try to get
control of the bike. This was leaving the mutant
squirrel to his own devices, but I really did not want
to crash into somebody's tree, house, or parked car.
Also, I had not yet figured out how to release the
throttle, my brain was just simply overloaded. I did
manage to mash the back brake, but it had little
affect against the massive power of the big cruiser.
About this time the squirrel decided that I was not
paying sufficient attention to this very serious
battle (maybe he is a Scottish attack squirrel of
death), and he came around my neck and got IN my
full-face helmet with me. As the faceplate closed
partway and he began hissing in my face I am quite
sure my screaming changed tone and intensity. It
seemed to have little affect on the squirrel however.
The rpm's on The Dragon maxed out (I was not concerned
about shifting at the moment) and her front end
started to drop.
Now picture the large man on the huge black and chrome
cruiser, dressed in jeans, a very ragged torn t-shirt,
and wearing one leather glove, roaring at probably
80mph, still on one wheel, with a large puffy
squirrel's tail sticking out his mostly closed
full-face helmet. By now the screams are probably
getting a little hoarse.
Finally I got the upper hand. I managed to grab his
tail again, pulled him out of my helmet, and slung him
to the left as hard as I could. This time it
worked, sort-of. Spectacularly sort-of, so to speak.
Suddenly a large man on a huge black and chrome
cruiser, dressed in jeans, a torn t-shirt flapping in
the breeze, and wearing one leather glove, moving at
probably 80mph on one wheel, and screaming bloody
murder roars by and with all his strength throws a
live squirrel grenade directly into your police car.
I heard screams. They weren't mine...
I managed to get the big motorcycle under directional
control and dropped the front wheel to the ground. I
then used maximum braking and skidded to a stop in a
cloud of tire smoke at the stop sign at a busy cross street.
I would have returned to fess up (and to get my glove
back). I really would have. Really. But for two
things. First, the cops did not seem interested or the slightest bit concerned about me at the moment. One of them was on his back in the front yard of the house they had been parked in front of and was rapidly crabbing backwards away from the patrol car. The other was standing in the street and was training a riot shotgun on the police cruiser.
So the cops were not interested in me. They often
insist to "let the professionals handle it" anyway.
That was one thing. The other? Well, I swear I could
see the squirrel, standing in the back window of the
patrol car among shredded and flying pieces of foam
and upholstery, and shaking his little fist at me. I
think he was shooting me the finger.
That is one dangerous squirrel. And now he has a
I took a deep breath, turned on my turn-signal, made
an easy right turn, and sedately left the neighborhood.
As for my easy and slow drive home? Screw it. Faced
with a choice of 80mph cars and inattentive drivers,
or the evil, demonic, attack squirrel of death...I'll
take my chances with the freeway. Every time.
And I'll buy myself a new pair of gloves. ___________________________
Miles and smiles,