5 comments on “Flashback: 1996

  1. WS to DB – On Dec 28, 2009, at 5:31 PM, Winston Smith wrote: Yep, no shit. I had several very close calls back when I rode a motorcycle in Italy. Wet cobblestones, country lanes, on-coming drivers, etc. all coupled with my youthful impatience, lack of driving experience, “I’m gonna live forever” attitude curious to the young and stupid and just my general ineptitude and lack of ability to conceive that “anything could possibly go wrong” all contributed to my several near-death experiences. And yes, it’s fun to ride a motor bike and it feels adventurous and risky and that all adds to the thrill. That’s even how they advertise them. They “sell the sizzle, not the stake”. Though I only looked at my bike as a means of transportation, to get from point A to point B. But most people think (especially in the US where Bikes are marketed as more of a recreational vehicle than anything else) that they’re “King Shit” when they’re on them. They think they’re invulnerable. And therein lies the fatal flaw. I’m not saying that Larry Hilsher was riding under any of these delusions (as I did) and it seems that it was simply the luck of the draw that his tires hit loose gravel and the road sign was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s the big difference between controlling a four-wheeled automobile and a two-wheeled motorbike. Under what would’ve been just a bump in the road, were Larry driving a Camero or a beat-up Toyota truck instead of being on the back of a motor cycle it would’ve become a non-event instead of a fatal tragedy. And what most people never consider is: there are lots of things worse than just being killed instantly in some bike accident. The alternative is to be injured so badly that you’re in a paralytic state and you become a permanent financial burden for your family and the State and yer living in a baby-chair and you’ve gotta be fed with a spoon for the rest of yer miserable life (and I DO mean miserable). How cool is that? How macho is that, wearing diapers and confined to a bed for the rest of your life? Compared to that it makes most forms of being killed instantly seem like a pleasure by comparison. Don’t fool yourself. That happens much more often than not. We just don’t see those people because they are in a Home somewhere and out of public view. We don’t hear about what their injuries cost their families or what they cost the taxpayers in state hospital care and road repairs, rescue and ambulance personnel, ongoing medical care and the ultimate warehousing of these tragic fuck-ups and hopeless cases. Yep, folks. Mototcycles look cool, the go fast and they’re a big status symbol. And just like joining the army and telling people that War ain’t that bad since, after all, you survived, so how bad could it be all that bad, right. We get a self-selected and severely slanted view of the dangers of War (as with motorcycle accidents), not told to us by those who sacrificed everything, but only from those who were lucky enough to survive. Well, that’s because the people who joined the army and then got their heads shredded by roadside bombs or their guts ripped out by enemy fire or, even worse, they lost their arms and/or their legs got ripped off and we don’t see them because those guys are kept out of sight in a state facility. No war hero’s welcome parade for them. No celebrations, no chicks, no partying, no fanfare. Just wheelchairs and clinical tests and more to look forward to for the rest of their lives. Some callously claim this is Nature’s way of “cleaning up the gene pool”. War, Motorbikes, spots cars, “extreme-sports”, fighter jets. All marketed to the gonad-deficient, gotta-have-something-to-prove idiots that fall for it. And, baby, they do it everyday. Sounds like Larry was an exception and he just hit a patch of terribly bad luck and my sympathies to his friends and families. Just out to have a fun ride with friends, he paid a terrible price for a small miscalculation and I regret that his family is suffering in grief for their loss. If anyone can learn something from this tragedy then maybe the loss Larry’s family have endured will not be entirely in vain. Sorry for the heaviness of this letter but it’s a pretty heavy subject. In light of that, here’s to the future. Finally there’s a new decade ahead. Good riddance to the wretched year of 2009. Here’s to 2000000010!

    Onward and upward! Over & Out.
    Winston http://www.WinstonSmith.com

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