Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

“A HOLE IN MY LIFE”

July 21, 2018

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WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?: Harleys and a Vette?

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DAVID SNOW:

“Damn, Scott, I just picked up an original, unfucked, 1982 Sturgis on Saturday. I was all excited about joining the Shovelhead ranks with you again. Now this. I keep thinking of your determination to get back in the saddle after you nearly lost your leg in 1993. If you can’t keep Mabel, you can keep writing about her, and the biker subculture.”

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Easier said than done.

This is the article I wasn’t going to write, because after I sold my beloved Shovel to Andrew Rosa, I felt unmotivated to do such writing. Frankly, I was depressed about the whole thing.

Yet, I feel there is value in documenting the very personal way that I dealt with this issue, because sooner or later, all bikers face the same issue, whether they want to admit it or not.

I believe that all bikers—myself especially—are in denial regarding this, until the issue appears on our doorstep—like an unwelcome and obnoxious relative with suitcase in hand asking to stay indefinitely.

Folks, sorry to rain reality on ya, but what the hell? That’s what I’ve always done in my writing, right? Live with it, America.

The photo accomopanying this article is highly symbolic. Although the photo was taken while I still had my Harley Mabel and was still riding, the photo does spell out my current situation.

While I still have my Vette Mary, Mabel has moved on, as all Harleys must, at one time or another. All Harleys either move on during a current owner’s lifetime, or after.

It is true that Harleys live forever!

We all know this, yet, the realization of this truth doesn’t hit us in the face like a rude wet mackerel, until one is forced to make the decision about what to do with one’s beloved Harley, once riding isn’t feasible anymore.

Yup. Harleys live forever. And this late-breaking news to me, is why I decided to get Mabel (my beloved “74”) to someone I knew would give her the love and attention she truly deserved—Andrew Rosa.

One of the bikers at The Seedy X-Bar said that once he was unable to ride his Harley anymore, he would keep the bike in his shed like a piece of valued furniture (my characterization). Not me, man!

Mabel is a living, breathing entity, with a soul and feelings!

Mabel deserves to have a good life! I have said this many times in previous columns, about Mabel being a living, breathing, feeling entity. I wasn’t kidding, man! I meant it literally, not figuratively. Knowing this, do you think I could just have Mabel hanging around an outdoor parking lot, loved, yet unridden? No way, man! What kind of life would that be for Mabel?

Both of my machines were are living, breathing beings. I talked to Mabel everytime i was with her, and I talk to my ’72 Vette Mary the same way. They live! When I had ’em both, Mabel and Mary were like close sisters, both loved equally by me. Mabel was only a year older than Mary. Now Mabel is gone, my attention shifts to my beloved Mary.

In the midst of my depression, I took Mary out for for a blast. It was cathartic. Man, the sound of her SBC bellowing through her glass packs, was like a salve. Mabel’s sister lives. And natch, I talked to her. I said, “You are the only one left, baby. I’m grateful to have you.”

Now I know that in the capable hands of Andrew Rosa, Mabel will live a happy and productive life! This means more to me than you can know. Here is what Andrew said to me, as he was taking Mabel to her new home….

“Scott, I’ve thought a lot about this after you called me about Mabel. I’ve decided that I will put her on my showroom floor. She will be my bike, and I will ride her, and she will not be for sale. I am not changing a thing on her, and she will stay exactly the way she is now. I’m not taking Mabel to ‘flip her’ to make a profit like so many would do. I will take good care of her, and may pass her on to my son.”

I miss Mabel like hell, but am so happy for her. I wish I still owned her, but that would not have been for the best.

FINITO

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“LATE TO THE PARTY”

May 2, 2018

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MABEL WAS HAPPY: Riding again!

Since I’ve been embarrasingly candid in my SOOKYBEAR’S LAIR—SOULMATE EXPERIENCES memoir series, I might as well spill the beans here too.

I haven’t ridden since November.

That’s right! What is that, six months! God, half a year since I’ve been on my stroker Shovel Mabel?

Ya know what? So sue me, okay? Ha!

Today I felt an intense pressure to get on the bike again, but will reveal why I haven’t up until today.

Hey man, May 1st, and the temp’s goin’ up to 90 degrees today in NYC? Unreal! I think we’re transitioning straight from winter to summer, with spring being skipped entirely.

The reasons are many that I haven’t ridden since November, but I won’t bore you with the majority of ’em. The primary reason was, I’ve been rehabbing a left shoulder injury, and felt that at last, it was strong enough to handle riding. The rehab consists of martial arts practice and weight lifting.

We all take the ability to ride for granted, just another function that we are able to do, as usual. However, when injuries occur, one finds out how many bodily components are used for riding, that aren’t truly used much during everyday life.

Now that I’ve “involuntarily” retired ( see “MEMOIR: WORRY NOT”), every day is “the weekend,” so I have lots of time for exercise, riding the bike and driving the Vette.

The good news is, that the shoulder held up, so now I feel confident that it’s not a hindrance to riding.

The mediocre news is, I found out today, that I have to do more rehab on an old hip flexor injury.



SHIFTING WAS SLIGHTLY DIFFICULT: My hip flexor needs work.

The hip flexor is responsible for lifting up one’s knee up, by bending or “flexing” the leg at the hip. This is the motion responsible for example, for retracting my left leg for shifting gears on Mabel’s heel-toe shifter. Shifting today was manageable though, even though my hip flexor really felt the effort, with a maneuver that should be effortless.

Even the smallest motions in gear shifting (so I found out) such as pulling up one’s left toe to find neutral from first gear, depends on the hip flexor motion. No prob—I’ll just add hip flexor exercises to my routine.

The best news is, that even after six months of not running, Mabel started up. The battery was slightly weak, but strong enough to crank to start. Yay!

Hey man, good ta be (I hate to give props to EZ—ha!) “in the wind” again. Hearing that majestic idle, hearing that overpowering….

“BRAAAAAAAAaaaaacccckaaaa…”

….as Mabel and I back off the throttle in fourth gear. Man! Nothin’ like it!

SCOTT “GENGHIS” WONG, AKA “SOOKYBEAR”

FINITO

“THE WIDE GLIDE ETHIC”

February 4, 2018

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THE WIDE GLIDE FORK: Righteous outlaw look.


GIs returning from active duty in WW II, sought ways to fulfill themselves, a function that motorcycles have filled since the early 1900s. Civilian life was by contrast to their military lives, mundane. The GIs craved some of that adrenaline stimulation of their previous existences. Many also sought the camaraderie they enjoyed with their fellow soldiers, in motorcycle clubs.

By the late 1950s and early 1960s, these soldiers were able to afford used early 1950s Harley Hydra-Glides. These bikes had the classic Wide Glide fork. They then stripped down these FLs, resulting in a sleek, lighter and righteous looking Harley, and this became known as the “outlaw Harley.” Often, the fork tubes were chromed.

This outlaw Harley’s face, was that beautiful Wide Glide fork, now stripped of the windshield, fork tube shrouds and headlight shroud. Often, bikers replaced the large OEM headlight, with a small Bates headlight.

These small headlights were available from an aftermarket company, Bates Industries. Founded in 1939 by Robert Bates, the company was originally named Bates Motor Scooter Service, then renamed Bates Manufacturing, before acquiring it’s final name of Bates Industries.

Those really in the know, removed the front 16 inch wheel, and replaced it with a skinny 21. The stripped down Wide Glide fork then, became the very symbol of the “outlaw Harley.”

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Neck cup narrow glide-to-wide glide conversions kits for 1950s and 1960s Ironhead Sporsters.

When I rode my XLCH Ironhead in the 1960s, narrow glide-to-wide glide conversion kits, were popular. Although I never considered converting the stock narrow glide on my Sporster, Sally The Bitch, many Sportster riders did, for one simple reason:

The Wide Glide look epitomized the “outlaw Harley”.

When I had my XLCH, I never could see my bike with a Wide Glide fork. It always seemed incongruous to me. A Wide Glide fork on a Sportster, is a classic case of apples and oranges. Likewise, I found the grafting of a Sportster narrow glide onto the 1971 first year Super Glide, an aesthetic mistake.

I love the Wide Glide fork. Hey man, when you see a hopped up Pan or Shovel, blasting her abrupt way toward you, while bellowing her war song, the sight of the Wide Glide face of the outlaw Harley, is absolutely frightening! Such an evil sight can fill a bystander’s neurotic head, with night terrors and unspeakably malevolent menaces!

Look, when you spot Johnny coming toward you on his narrow Britbike with its narrow fork, you see a poser with a trophy tied to his front end, that he did not deserve, wearing his jaunty little effete leather cap. Brando there, looks like a regular at the local leather bar.

The most menacing thing you expect from ‘ole Johnny, is some whinging and whining over why his young life is so unfair, and why Johnny is always looking for something to rebel against. Yeah man, cry me a river, okay? Hey punk, ya wanna cup of hot chocolate and a crying towel?

Contrast that with the sight of Chino, riding at ya at a hundred miles an hour on his outlaw Pan, with that righteous looking short Wide Glide leading the way—and you know that yer gonna get a chain whipping, man. Prepare to get hurt. Seriously hurt.

Your inevitable thought in this scenario is….“Is my health insurance premium paid up?” Because yer gonna need it when yer laid up in the hospital—or worse.. Chino’s demeanor is that of a homicidal maniac, who could run you over with his big twin, and not miss a puff of his cigar while doing it.

There are lots of reasons to love the Wide Glide fork. I must admit, that many of mine are emotional, as I associate this fork with an era, when the “outlaw Harley” was defined to a great degree, by this fork. The stripped-down Hogs of the ’50s and ’60s, will forever be iconized as the classic outlaw Harley.

FINITO

“50 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE”

February 3, 2018

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—The right knee is 50 years after, a classic “Sportster knee”—in other words, FUBAR’d.

—1993 broken left leg from a bike wreck, broken left tibia and fibula, shattered left ankle, lacerated left quadriceps, shredded skin on left calf requiring skin grafts, metal rods in lower left leg, left ankle plate.

—During my 1993 hospitalization for the broken leg, the surgeon said, “You have advanced arthritis in the left hip, how are you even walking?”—so goddamn what? I’m still walking. Ha!

—Ruptured right biceps tendon, unrelated to the bike, never saw a doctor about it.

—Probable right rotator cuff tear 15 years ago, never saw a doctor about it.

—Left incarcerated hernia, operated on 2014.

—Broken jaw, broken left wrist, broken right foot, various broken ribs, all related to martial arts training—except for the broken jaw, never saw doctors about the other broken bones.

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Any questions?

Hey man, been a long time since I was 22 years old, when I got my first Harley. When I got my first Harley, a 1968 XLCH named “Sally The Bitch,” I was young and whole, and I rode the bike every day.

Hey man, why not ride every day? After all, I was an unemployed ex-college student, who dropped out of college after three years, to drop acid, smoke grass and ride every day.

Stay in college for one more miserable year to get my diploma? Ha! No chance man. I never studied, and hated school since I entered kindergarten. No way was I gonna subject myself to that torture.

I wanted to be free!

Been a lotta changes since 1968, as you can plainly see. None of us go through life unscarred. What we can do though, is go through our lives, unbowed.

And that is what I’ve done. 50 years later man, I’m still riding. Only now, the bike is my Mabel, my ’71, 86 inch, Shovelhead Rosabilt Stroker.



50 YEARS LATER: Now my bike is my stroker Shovel—she has such presence.

This retrospective is not a pity party, begging for sympathy for the aches and pains that accompany a 71 year old biker. I am merely pointing out the changes that inevitably take place in 50 years of living in my case, and emphasizing, that they haven’t prevented me from riding my beloved Shovel.

Granted, I don’t ride as much as before, but then again—I’m no longer a 22 year old unemployed, kid who just dropped out of college–with all the time in the world to fritter way.

This reminds me of Frank Reynolds, whose 1967 autobiography, “Freewheelin Frank,” I read 50 years ago. Frank was a Hell’s Angel back in the day. I recall one of his reminiscences, in which he said, lamenting the fact that he wasn’t as horny as when he was young (I am paraphrasing here)….

“When I was young, all I had to do was look at a girl’s knees and I’d get a hardon….”

Hey man, from my perch 50 years later as an older biker, I have to give an appreciative nod to the beautiful knees of my beautiful “Twin Flame” AC “Twinklebear” Lesley Maclean. Oh my God, and those freckles. (*WINK*) Sounds like poor ‘ole Frank never had a Twin Soul like Twinklebear.



“TWINKLEBEAR”: What beautiful knees you have!

It does give a biker pause though, to look back over a half century of life, to appreciate the rare privilege that we had—and have. We are so honored to be a special breed of human. True bikers are different than citizens. Straights will never get us, They will never understand our dedication to our bikes.

It seemed at times, that in times of strife and hardship, that The Bike is what sustained me. It would be accurate to say, that The Bike is the one constant, throughout the years. She was always there, endlessly faithful.

There were times in the early years, when I fell behind in the rent, but I never considered selling The Bike. Not once. In a situation when many would have sold their bikes for bread, I’m glad that I did not. The thought never entered my mind.

The lure of The Iron. The sheer charisma, of her sound…as she starts up…and roars down the highway…..going…..“BRAAAAAckaaaAAAA…..” as you back off of the throttle at 80 per. Is there anything like it, out in the open, mere inches away from the backward-retreating blacktop?

Life as a biker has been a dream. A dream of exclusivity, and of specialness. It is what has set me—and other bikers apart–from the rabble and sanitary too-washed masses of the ordinary.

It was and is that specialness, that bears me up, makes me fly, elevates me and gives me hope. For it portends an invulnerability, to the forces that befall and befuddle the weaker and the lamer—the straights. Just what is it that this Harley Armor shields me from? What does the Orange & Black Shield, protect me from?

Facelessness

That’s what. You see, being a biker is an identity. As a biker, I’m not like “everybody else.” I’ve always had a contrarian streak. I was considered the black sheep of my family. I can’t be like everyone else.

Only true bikers know what I mean by saying this, but The Bike is like “being home.” As long as I’m on my Harley, I am home. Just as Twinklebear is “home” for me. When I’m with her, I feel like I’m home.

That’s what I take after 50 years of riding Harleys. Without that, I’d be homeless.

FINITO

“LIFESIZE SMACK IN THE FACE”

June 17, 2017

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MABEL IN HER PARKING LOT: Impressive in bike(per)son.

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“My photographs don’t do me justice—they look just like me.”

PHYLLIS DILLER

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As was noted in David Snow’s Iron Horse magazine when the “real Horse” was still kickin’, we bikers spend an inordinate amount of time lookin’ at our Harleys after a ride. It ain’t no mystery why. Man, Harleys in all of their configurations, are such righteous lookin’, pieces of art machines.

I have to point out though, that photographs of the same bikes—no matter the quality of the photo—do not do justice to the bikes.

Unlike Phyllis Diller, my bike “Mabel” defo looks more impressive in person, than in photographs. She looks lower and sleeker in person. That is true of many righteous machines. This is true of the C7 Corvette, whose impact is stilted in photos. In person, the lines of the Vette just knock yer eyes out, man.

I believe that true bikers have a greater elevated aesthetic sense, than non-bikers. Why else would we choose righteous lookin’ bikes like Harleys, otherwise? Older Harleys have such a righteous, class, bearing—a true regality—that is hard to describe in words.

I think that is why I, like other true bikers–just cannot get into new Harleys. The new bikes lack that righteous aesthetic, that makes us say when lookin’ at older Harleys…..

“Man, that bike is a good-lookin’ smack in the face!”

Quantitatively, a japbike is worth a few seconds look, then….ahhh..so what? An older Harley though, is worth at least 20 minutes of just staring at her in the garage or parking lot, after a ride—before you reluctantly tear your eyes away from her.

I have almost as much ambivalence if I see a new Harley on the street, as I would with japbikes. They just don’t have that charismatic authentic aura, that Ironheads, Knucks, Pans and Shovels have.

I have zero feelings about new Harleys when I see ’em. I might as well as be lookin’ at a Hamilton Beach blender, ya know what I mean? In fact, it’s not even ambivalence I feel with new Harleys—it is total indifference.

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THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR AESTHETICS:

“Beauty is such a difficult concept….these are the concluding words of Hippias Major, the dialogue which Plato devoted to an inquiry into the concept of beauty. Beauty is as relevant now as it was in the time of Plato and Kant simply because it has never ceased to be of interest in everyday life….”

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Had such a great ride today. I felt so in tune with every subtle nuance of what Mabel was throwin’ up to me, from the road surface. I think you know what I mean. It’s sumpthin’ that only other bikers would get. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s a total feeling of control, and oneness with the bike.

And what did I do after dismounting from my trusty Shovel? Why, I stood there like a statue, tnansfixed by the looks of my righetous FX–what else? Later.

FINITO

“HARLEY BATTERY EMPATHY”

May 20, 2017

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MABEL IN HER PARKING LOT: Waiting patiently for her new battery!

MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY:

Empathy: The action of vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts or experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.

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“I felt this sudden anger as I woke up earlier. It’s gone now though. Yes, real anger! I don’t know! It was about 12:35 AM! It was for awhile. I felt it on and off, all night. It was a wave of anger I felt, and it was not my anger. I wasn’t angry about anything. I knew I felt it from, or around you. I thought, OMG, I know what you are doing! It was your subconscious. I felt that horrible, pulling anger.”

TWINKLEBEAR

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I woke up around 12:30 PM. I started thinking about the fact that I hadn’t put the new battery, into my Harley-Davidson motorcycle, “Mabel” yet. Truth to tell, I felt lazy about doing it for the past few weeks.

This new battery has been sitting at home, on a trickle charger, just waiting for yours truly to get off my lazy ass, and install said new battery. While lying in bed, stirring out of sleep—I began to get angry at myself. I thought….

“What kind of biker am I anyway? Lettin’ laziness get the better of me, so I can’t ride? Man, that’s bullshit!”

I admit, I am an extremely compulsive person. I all of a sudden, will get an idea in my mind, and that idea will gnaw at me like termites eat away at the wooden walls of a house. And so, the saga began!

I’m like a dog with a bone.

I am that is, once I get an idea into my compulsive mind, and let it burrow under my compulsive skin. I laid there in bed for hours, angry and frustrated at myself, planning all the details of how I would get up at dawn’s light, and install Mabel’s (my 1971 Harley Super Glide) new battery.

Part of the frustration and anger I feel, is that I realize that at that time of night, I can’t get up immediately, to do what I burned to do—install that battery!

I hate waiting around the house.

Anyway, this article is only partially about how I eventually did have the patience to wait for daylight (Mabel is in a poorly lit outdoor parking lot) to arrive, and install Mabel’s battery. I did do that, and had a great ride after.

The main point of this memoir, is to discuss Twinklebear, my true Soulmate’s absolutely uncanny and amazing empathy, regarding my feelings. So called “Twin Soul” Soulmates (also known as “twin flame” soulmates) such as Twinklebear and I, have an exclusive, unbreakable connection, where, because we share the same one soul, feel each other’s feelings, and can sense each other’s thoughts contemporaneously. This actually happens with us every day.

Hey, dig it! I woke up at 12:30 PM, and felt that anger and frustration I told you about. At 12:35 PM, Twinklebear felt these intense feelings of anger, that could not be explained, by her own emotions–she was not angry about anything. Furthermore, Twinklebear immediately realized that it was my emotions that she was vicariously feeling and experiencing.

This empathy that true Soulmates feel toward the partner Soulmate, is a well-known, well-documented attribute of Twin Soul Soulmates. This clearly defined and irrefutable episode of Twinklebear’s sensing and feeling my emotions, at exactly the same time I was experiencing them last night—is perhaps the finest and most instructive example of the empathetic abilities of Twin Soul Soulmates, with each other.

 

FINITO

GUEST ARTICLE: “MEMORIES OF ALASKA”

January 15, 2017

by MIKE SMITH

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My FXWG was buried in snow like this bike

Memories of Alaska.

My FXWG parked in the driveway completely buried by a big snow. Dug down 2 feet and could see the handlebars, then dug out a bathtub shaped ring down to ground level.

Had set the points, renewed plugs, and changed oil when I parked Helga in the fall.

Cabin to driveway was about 100 feet, could view her from kitchen window until that January.

Firing her up at 14 degrees and watching her turn the white snow black from the twin drag pipes kept the hope for a spring ride alive.

It was 7 miles of gravel road to the Sterling Highway in Anchor Point, A road called The North Fork Road, then 12 miles of pavement to the Texaco station in Homer where I was bending wrenches and fixing flats.

Helga was a tough old gal, only asked for premium fuel from the local airport, clean oil, some chain lube, and some plugs from time to time.

Going to and from work during riding season worked better than any other method to keep my sanity. First loves have the best memories .

 

FINITO

“WINTER IS DESPAIR”

January 14, 2017

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FRIGID MORNING TEMPS: Mabel sure is cold!

Winter is despair.

I lay here worrying about Mabel. She is out there, with the wind’s bony, chilly fingers grasping at her flimsy cover, her cylinders reaching subfreezing temperatures, her whole demeanor grim. If there is any evidence that bikers know that Mabel and bikes like her are alive and have souls, my angst about her welfare—is it.

Whether or not this surety of knowledge is justified, or valid, may be up for debate. After all, there are bikers who form no emotional attachments to their individual bikes—and treat ’em like so many replaceable machines. You either know your bike is a living entity, or ya don’t

Those of you in sunny southern climates who ride all year round, can’t relate to the anxiety I feel about my bike in the winter. Those who live in cold climates like me and Mabel do, who keep their bikes in toasty warm and dry garages—get it somewhat. However, those in cold climates who have to keep their bikes outside—totally get what I’m rappin’ about.

I feel remote from my motorcycle.

I feel remote, and the most disconnected from my Harley, more distant, and yes, guilty, about her being left to suffer the elements of ‘Ole Man Winter.

This depression and anxiety I feel about my bike in the winter, is difficult to explain to a biker who has his bike in a garage. It is downright impossible to convey to a non-biker, who has no earthly idea, of how we bikers love our bikes, and some of us who feel our bikes have souls and are living entities.

I didn’t really understand this anxiety I feel—and I realize now, that I have felt it every winter for years—but I finally know that this anxiety is a form of guilt about my motorcycle being alone, and cold.

The 22 year old Genghis might be out there, riding his motorcycle even in the dead of winter, but not this Genghis. This is part of it too. The older Genghis is more lethargic about riding, truth be told, when it gets colder. So sue me, okay? Hey man, I feel like….

“I should be out there firing her up, being with her, blasting down the highway like I did when I was young….right?”

There’s always the feeling that I “should be” riding her–but hey, if there’s one thing I know about myself….

I do what I feel like doing.

I do feel it is worthwhile though, to examine this anxious emotion I feel about my motorcycle in the wintertime, as I think that many in the Biker Subculture can relate to it.

Get this straight—my Harley lives. I treat her like a person, because she is a person, and she is loved as a person. And if I’m right, she loves me back, just as a person would.

This is the love that dare not speak its name.

The love for one’s motorcycle. It’s been quoted so many times in the past half century, I don’t think I have to repeat Hunter S. Thompson’s quote of a Hells Angel from the ’60s regarding how he loves his Harley. You know it by heart by now.

So, now I understand the anxiety I feel about my Harley, in the winters. It is firmly rooted in love for the ‘ole girl, and that’s a good thing. So, I pass by Mabel in her cold parking lot, and pat her on the seat, tank and cylinders, and say….

“Soon, Mabel. Soon, when it gets a little warmer…”

Later!

 

FINITO

“FATE 1969”

January 2, 2017

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EARLY OCTOBER 1969: Eight weeks after fate put her stamp on me—in spades!

Fate is a funny creature. I’m convinced that Fate, is a humanoid entity, with human sensibilities, and emotions. Perhaps emotions is the wrong word. But a sense of irony and hint of a sense of humor, is definitely a part of his or her (I’m convinced that Fate has a gender, TBD—to be determined) personality.

Fate, whatever his or her motivations, is a huge force in the course of humankind’s history, from prehistory to the beyond. Even though Fate’s gender is unknown, I shall refer to Fate as She and Her, simply because it feels right.

It feels right because we all bow to her wishes, whether we like the consequences or not, and our acquiescence to her wishes, is like our saying as a husband would say to a lovingly nagging wife….

“Yes dear.”

What else can we do? Hey, She has the dominant hand, right?

“And let me tell you another thing,” she says.

Yeah, yeah…fine.

Fate has altered the course of mankind since the days when cavemen were clubbing cavewomen to make them their own, to possess them as dictated by the Primal Directive which indeed, rules all men and women since time immemorial. Today’s “enlightened” men and women, politically correct to assuage the Great God Society’s sensibilities, would deny this. These people are “Primal Urge Deniers.”

Yes, Fate is a fickle bitch, and so she was to me in 1969. What a significant year 1969, was for me. When that photo was taken of me on my 1968 Harley XLCH “Sally The Bitch” in early October, I had recently moved into my first apartment in The City (The City being Manhattan—this is how denizens of Queens referred to Mahattan), after moving out of Queens. I had just moved there with my 17 year old girlfriend, Nancie Arnegger. This apartment was on 3rd Street, between Avenue B and Avenue C.

Since Fate and her machinations are mysterious and unfathomable, often to an astonishing degree, so are Her influences, and yes, so her downright heavy-handed assaults on my life, also were. Some of those events directed by Fate’s capable hands, have resulted in truly exceptional experiences for me.

One of these reached fruition 47 years after Fate interceded in my life in 1969, and is ongoing and making my life joyful beyond belief. Three thousand miles away in August of 1969, the seed to this fateful turn in my life, was planted. That seed would grow and run it’s own peculiar course, until it flowered for me 47 years later.

Two months before that photo was taken in October 1969, the Woodstock Festival began. One week before Woodstock began, a more momentous (for me) event took place 3,000 miles from New York, an event would have a lasting and seismically epic influence on the course of my life, 47 years later.



OCTOBER 2016: 47 years later, Fate pounced!

Did I mention that Fate has a long memory, and is extremely patient? What does She care about decades, or even lifetimes, in human terms? Fate rules over all time, and all people. She plants a seed of a story, and lets the participants of the story go about their lives, completely oblivious as to what is ahead.

I have no doubt that she waits in a mood of gleeful mischief. Then decades later, after the participants are lulled into a sense of indifferent, blissful or unblissful (depending on the life) predictability in their lives, She pounces on the unaware players in the story. BAM! Wow.

In 1969, I was a tender 22 years old, although I would have bristled at the adjective of “tender”…..“Hey man, I’m a tough biker, you gotta a problem?”….I would have asked.

Fate is a masterful author, and she likes to write stories, by the light of The Cosmos. The only difference between the stories that She and humans write, is that her stories often last decades, and sometimes centuries.

If you think of Her story about me, as having a head and a tail, like a living and vibrant animal, then you’d have the right idea. The head of the story reared itself from the abyss in 1969, and the tail is just emerging as I write. The head of Her story about me, began in August of 1969, and the tail of the story, made it’s Fateful appearance 47 years later.

However, the story has not been written in its entirety. Although the “tail of the story” appeared in 2015, it is a very long tail, indeed. The end of the tail is not in sight, and may well go beyond this lifetime. It is a story which probably began many years before I was born in this lifetime—but we are only concerned with current chapters of the book.

Fate is funny, yet loving. She is like a fist of iron in a velvet fist, insistent, and irresistible. And indomitable. Fate, I bow to your power, and am in your lovely hands. Fate, you are mischievous as any child, but thank you.

Like Fate’s movements, this article is vague and mysterious. But so what, reader, writing is supposed to make you think, so think. Whaddya want me to do, do everything for ya? Should I read it for ya too? Fugeddabowdit. Read it and weep, man. Later.

FINITO

“THE AUDIENCE”

December 17, 2016

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SCENE OF THE CRIME: The busy shopping venue of 82nd Street in Jackson Heights.

DAVID SNOW AT THE SEEDY X-BAR & GRILL

“Did Sally ever slip when you had an audience? I always wondered what my face looked like when it happened to me.”

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82nd Street in my old Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights, is an iconic shopping area revered by residents (shown in the photo in 1963). In fact, if you say to a Jackson Heights resident, “Hey, ya wanna go ta 82nd ta scope out the new releases at Records Spectacular?”—the person you would be posing the question to, would fully comprehend what you were talking about. To answer David Snow’s question, the answer is “Yes,” and that “audience” I accrued after Sally “slipped,” congregated on 82nd Street, on a busy saturday shopping afternoon in 1970.

But allow me to first elucidate the meaning of David’s question. At the time, I was riding my 1968 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLCH, “Sally The Bitch.” Now, Sally was named this way because well….she was a bitch in almost every way. Like a haughty, spoiled tart who was used to having her way, she would refuse to start as requested. Ya see, Sally was a kick-only motorcycle, with no electric start. There were many times, I cursed at and pleaded with her, as I started my 15th or 16th kick, sweat pouring off of my brow, during the process—and she refused to start.

It is a given in the XLCH Annals, that Sportster XLCHs like Sally were hard to start, unless the owner had a secret deal with the devil. Even worse than the recalcitrance to start promptly, was the ugly habit of XLCH’s kick start levers to “slip through,” meaning that they wouldn’t “catch” on the motor, and simply push through, without any resistance.

Imagine yourself suspended in mid-year during kickstarting, ready to plunge all of your weight down on the kickstarter, when this slipping through happened. Hey man, sumpin’s gotta give on your right leg on the way down to Hell, and it ain’t yer thigh or lower leg. It would be that complex and fragile joint in between, known as your knee. Subjected to all of that unexpected force on this little gem of a joint, the results would be devastating: A total tearing and destruction of the joint, with all of the attendant pain and injury that one could imagine.

SUMMER 1970

I was proud of my motorcycle. I was one of the first of my younger generation of Jackson Heights bikers, to get a Harley. Sure, there were older bikers like Big Mike Merurio, and my big brother and biker mentor, Stevie Biondo, who had Harleys for years, but among the younger group, I was the first to get a Harley-Davidson.

On that fine summer day in 1970s, I rode back to Jackson Heights, to hang out with a couple of friends, two brothers named Mike and Eric. Mike and Eric both rode Kawasakis, because they couldn’t afford Harleys. Harleys were the coveted prize, and among the three, I was feeling like the BMOC (big man on campus), because I alone–had the Harley.

In 1970, I was also the only one of us three, to have gotten married, moved to The City (Manhattan), and had a son. I was working at the time, as a medical photographer at the Pack Medical Foundation in the City. So, you could say that I was pretty much feeling on top of the world that day.

Mike, Eric and I were big Grateful Dead fans, and on that day, we decided to ride our bikes to 82nd to take a look-see in one of the two record stores on 82nd Street, for any new Grateful Dead releases. The name of this record store, was Records Spectacular. if you look carefully at that 1963 photo, Records Spectacular is the store with the orange and white sign right after “Sid’s Pants” on the left.

We rode our bikes to Records Spectacular, and parked in front. After going in and checking out the new records, we left to start our bikes up and leave. I got to my Harley Sportster, retarded the spark on the magneto, and turned on the gas. I had gotten quite proficient at starting Sally up, as my big brother Stevie Biondo, taught me proper kickstarting technique.

I prepared to kick ‘er over, by placing my left knee on Sally seat, my hand on the handlebars, as I got ready to hoist myself up in the air, ready to put my full weight onto the kickstart pedal. After a couple of priming kicks with the ignition off, I turned on the ignition, and away we go!: Kick that sucker for all she was worth, to get her motor running.

Then it happened.

The dreaded “slipping through” happened. After that first resistanceless kick, I laid there on the ground on 82nd Street, wondering how in the world how such a little joint such as my knee, could cause so much pain and unhappiness. I’d never felt such agonizing pain before. After laying there on the blacktop, for who knows how long, I attempted to stand up.

I was able to stand, but barely. I could not for the life of me, put any substantial weight on my right leg. After painfully assessing my chances of starting Sally the normal way, I tried to start her with my left leg, to no avail. I simply did not have the technique to be successful, on my opposing leg.

Next, Mike and Eric both took turns in trying start Sally up. No good. They’d had no experience in kickstarting a Harley, and never would be able to, even with my crash-course directions to them on the spot. There was only one thing to do: I called my friend Big Mike, who dutifully came down and helped me out. With Big Mike’s bulk and 260 pound body weight, he started Sally up with one kick.

Before Big Mike got to Records Spectacular however, there was scene that all Harley Sportster riders have become accustomed to:

“The Audience.”

It was quite a spectacle. There must have been a crowd of at least 20 people congregated on the sidewalk, waiting to see what would happen next, to this hairy, uncouth biker. Me writhing on the street, in extreme pain. Then me, a semi-crippled biker, trying to start his bike, with his unaccustomed left leg. Then my hapless friends, who didn’t know what the hell they were doing. Then my behemoth friend Big Mike, coming along like a refugee from the World Wrestling Federation, coming to bounce troublesome opponents off the turnbuckle. Bike Mike’s starting Sally, natch, dispersed the unruly crowd. Goddamn spectators. Always there, when Sally was giving me agita.

“Nothing to see here, folks. Move along. Show’s over!”

Later.

 

FINITO