Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

bummer @ abate

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December 2016

    Merry Christmas everybody!,

    I went on our region’s 16th annual “Zip It UP” run the other day. That was on Oct. 9th and I know some of you will momentarily be thinking, ‘What? This is December!’ due to the publishing time warp thing. Anyway it was a great run and I had a blast. I’ll be slipping into the Christmas season mode in a minute, but first I just wanted to tell ya how nice the weather was, how nice it was to see old friends (some of whom I haven’t seen in a few years), and to mention some of what happened on the ride.

    Here in Northeast Ohio the leaves are usually more colorful by the time this yearly run comes around, but at least they were starting to turn bit in places. In early Fall only parts of some trees turn all kinds of colors while the rest of the tree is still a vibrant green, which I guess is a good thing because if they all just switched colors at once while I was putting down the road I’d probably freak-out and fall off the scoot screaming, “OMG!! I’m having another one of THOSE!”

    But seriously folks, just last week my son Jason returned to the USA from six months in hot, sandy, and nasty Qatar. He told me how incredible it is to be surrounded again by green grass, green trees and all the other green stuff. This run went thru countryside that was SO green that his comments couldn’t have been more appropriate! In October Ohio lawns and trees still have the green goin’ on, and on that afternoon the bright sunshine and the VERY blue sky were a perfect match for it.

    Soon out of the gate I was rounding a sharp turn and accidentally downshifted into first gear instead of second, something most of us have done but we hope nobody sees. An old friend named Randy pulled up beside me at the next light and said. “Would you stop showing off your astounding motorcycle acrobatics! That was a great save!” But the fact is my leaving a few feet of rubber on the road and almost dumping the scoot as the ass-end almost caught up with the front-end is nothing compared to some of the other not-so magnificent shit I’ve done over the years (and I have the scars to prove it). All I know is I’ve had this bike for seventeen years now, I’ve never had to stand it up from being horizontal, and I ain’t a-gonna start now!

    Regarding that: A friend told me that MC instructional classes now teach that the proper way to pick up a heavy bike is to hunker down closely to the scoot facing away from the bike’s left side (if it’s laying on its left side), grab the left handlebar with your right hand behind you, grab the seat or whatever you can firmly get hold of with your left hand behind you, and lift it mostly with your knees, legs, and back as you step backwards towards the bike. Just don’t let it go too far LOL! Reverse all that if it’s laying on its right side and if that’s the case you should make sure you put the kick-stand down first so ya don’t gotta keep doing that back and forth all day LMAO!

    Anyway the Zip It Up Run went great, we had a great turnout of over ninety bikes, lotsa bucks were earned for ABATE, nobody was hurt and nobody bitched about anything (which is always huge when we’re talking about bikers).

    December is also the time when we decide who we’re going to elect to represent ABATE locally and on the state level.

    It’s a not so funny joke in our region that that depends on whoever is out of the room going to the bathroom or getting a beer at one of the yearly nominating or appointing meetings. Like most regions, our local administration has a few officers who have been plugging away at it for a very long time and some may be feeling a bit burnt-out because some of the “fire” might have left them. But hopefully the best of them will keep at it and others will heed the call and carry on. We’re fortunate to have a few younger folk with the enthusiasm needed to perhaps turn around our roster and our agenda. In recent years we’ve had to abandon many of our events such as our “Regional Pig Roast”, our “Biker Bash” and our “Daytona Party”, but possibly new events await....we’ll see. It was once said by an officer, “ABATE always gives us something to look forward to” and we should remember what “that something” is always depends entirely on us. Okay. Now let’s have something Christmassy!

    “Boss” Thompson was known to be a grouchy old fart. He didn’t get along with his ex-wife, his kids, his neighbors, or the patrons of his seedy bar he had named “The Pit”. In fact if it wasn’t for the three good looking bar maids he called his “Wenches” he wouldn’t even have any customers. Those bar maids regularly ripped him off by not “registering” drinks while pouring too much liquor for better tips. Though he constantly bitched about it, he never fired them because he knew without ‘em he’d go broke.

    Every afternoon he’d open up the bar and made sure one of the “Wenches” showed up to work, then he’d settle the register and go back upstairs to his apartment to watch TV because he didn’t have any friends or anyplace else to go. Fact is he never went anywhere: His bar supplies were all delivered (he just about lived on his greasy bar-food), and his “Wenches” picked up anything else he needed. His rusty old car would go for weeks without even being started.

    It was now the holiday season and Boss hated all holidays. His bar profits suffered on those days because:

  • (1.) Most folks would rather be doing something else with their families.
  • (2.) His “Wenches” usually had reasons to call off work and he’d have to scramble to cover them.
  • (3.) Cops would pay closer attention to people pulling out of his parking lot.
  • (4.) He was expected to give some kind of bonus to his “Wenches”. And last but not least,
  • (5.) Boss was a lonely man and all the fuss about any holiday seemed to make it worse.....particularly Christmas. He’d think, ‘Everybody pretending they’re full of “Christmas Cheer”! All of it is bogus bullshit!’

        In fact it was on Christmas Eve one year that Boss did his usual thing and opened the Pit bitching to himself about the mess left from the night before. He did his register, waited for “Lisa the Wench” to show up, then his phone rang. It was her telling him she couldn’t make it to work. Before she could even explain why she couldn’t, he hung up and dialed “Julie the Wench” who didn’t answer. Then he called “Tammy the Wench” who wouldn’t answer either! “Damn!” he cried out loud. “It looks like I gotta tend bar myself tonight. Damnitdamnitdamnit!”

        Suddenly the front door to the empty bar swung open and an old man in a disheveled and musty looking trench coat entered. He slowly padded over to the bar, took a seat, and asked for a beer.

            “What kind of beer do you want?”
    “Whatever you have on tap. It don’t matter Boss.”

        Boss pulled one and set it before the old man before asking him,
           “Do I know you?”
    “Probably not. You don’t know all your customers do you?”
           “No, I reckon not.”

        After a moment of sipping his beer, the old guy wiped the foam off his lips, paused and asked,
    “If you could have whatever you wanted for Christmas, what would it be?”
           “Like whatcha mean? Peace for the world or crap like that?”
    “Like anything. Money, a new car, a hot young babe....anything you could have.”

            After thinking a minute Boss replied, “Youth.”
    “Why? So you could waste it all again? What about all the hassles the do-over invites? The decisions that made you what you are?”
            “Things would be different.”
    “No they wouldn’t.”
            “Well, I didn’t know that would be part of the deal.”
    “Even if they were different, you’d just make different mistakes and dumber decisions. Things would probably turn out about the same... maybe worse.”
            “Well then, I’d like another chance without being young and dumb, how’s that?”

        While the old dude took another sip Boss asked,
            “Man...who ARE you?”
    “I’m the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future Boss Thompson. And I’m here to set things right. If you could start your life over from right now, what would be different about it?”
            “Well, I’d be happier.”
    “Then go for it.”
            “Yeah? Just like that?”
    “Just like that.”
            “And all of a sudden I’m supposed to be happier now?”
    “Yup.” And then the old man winked,     stood,     walked out of the bar without even paying, and he was never seen again.

        But something changed in Boss that day. He became kinder and gentler to everyone. He found friendship with many. He smiled more. He became a better person... a happier person everyone was glad to know.

        I know this was silly folks, but when it comes down to it, maybe it might simply BE a change of perspective. Just like that. Maybe life isn’t so bad once we let loose of the built up negative shit. We might just need to reset our priorities and in doing so, we become to others what we’ve always thought others should be to us. Just remember that others don’t know what you’re thinking... your excuses and your explanations for what you say and do. All they know is what they see and hear. Ya gotta show them who you are. After all, what our priorities are determine everything that’s important to us and shows what is important about us to others, which in turn affects the way we’re treated by others.

        Well, I’m gonna try...for a while anyway. In fact I’m gonna give Pussy a can of tuna fish for supper tonight while I apologize for taking her to the vet yesterday in a saddlebag. Hey! It’s a start!

        Merry Christmas everybody, and be careful on New Year’s Eve.

                        Y’all ride safe,

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