This one’s gonna be wandering around a bit people,
I was at a local “bike night” pushing ABATE a few evenings ago, and an acquaintance I haven’t seen in ages walked up to the table I was seated at and sat down. His name is Thumper and he has the distinction of being the only man I’ve ever seen who snorts whiskey through his nose, and actually seems to enjoy it. I mean, this guy is nuts! And it’s probably from doing stuff like this. I can’t imagine what shape his lungs are in!! He has also married and divorced the same woman four times, and NOT for tax purposes.
Most of us probably know someone who has remarried the same person. It’s just so easy to ask for a divorce in the heat of anger, and once the subject is brought up it’s not really forgotten until it’s acted upon. Then later, these people change their minds and go for it again to give it another chance. So obviously the best thing is to not even bring it up unless you’re absolutely certain it’s what you want to do.
Each time Thumper marries his wife, its forever. And each time he gets a divorce, that’s forever too, until the next time. The really weird thing is, while they’re divorced, they still live in the same house and go places together. I didn’t even ask him if he was married or single this time. It just doesn’t seem to matter to anyone, including them. Anyway, Thumper told me that he had recently purchased a brand new scoot.
His previous one was an ancient and beat up chopper, much smaller, and never seemed to run for more than a few short putts at a time. I don’t think he ever actually completed a poker run because every time he’d shut it down at a stop, it was doubtful if it would start again. The bike had a somewhat dubious lineage due to the fact that it was pieced together from whatever bike parts he could scrounge from friends, but I think it started out as a late-1970’s Honda 750 many years before he ever laid eyes on it.
Now ya know, I have nothing but respect for people who ride in spite of the fact that they can’t afford a shiny new motorcycle. Hell, when I was younger, I rode anything I could sit my ass on that went down the road! But as you mature (and hopefully get a bit wiser), you shoot for something that’s at least dependable, and you tend to be more aware of the bike’s safety factors and for the safety of those who ride with you. Thumper just didn’t seem to care. Thus might explain their many divorces.
And I certainly don’t wanna slam anyone who’s been married more than once. It’s rare to find people who have been married very long these days. I’ve been married for twenty one years (ten to one, eight to another, and three to a third). And I even know of a few that have married the same person more than once. Maybe they just didn’t get it right the first time, and everybody deserves a second shot. I know in my lonelier moments I’ve considered a re-match with each of my ex’s. It IS, after all, human nature to second guess important decisions after the fact unless everything you do turns out perfect. But then I came to my senses and concluded that being alone is better than being miserable.
Every rehab in the world teaches us that if we do the same thing repeatedly, with the same negative results, then we have a problem that should be addressed with some kind of therapy. Maybe “Marrying and Divorcing the Same People Anonymous” would be the organization for these people. It could be covered under health insurance if scientists can just find the gene that causes that particular addiction (and I bet attorneys would flock to their group’s meetings to pass out business cards).
If I didn’t have such a trust issue with counselors (most of them are more screwed up than the rest of us are), I’d suggest that couples go into counseling as soon as they decide to get married to at least learn how to argue properly. There really IS a right and wrong way to argue so that it doesn’t cause permanent harm to the relationship. At least that’s what counselors tell us. But like I said, I don’t usually trust counselors. And what do I know about it all anyway? Hell, I’ve been divorced three times!
Now, for something entirely different....
Some years ago, me and a handful of friends were at the Easy Rider Rodeo in Chillicothe. A box-truck pulled up next to my tent and the driver began to set up a sound system. My first thought was, ‘This is cool! We got tunes!’ Then later, when I returned from wandering around the event, I found a number of ladies climbing up on top of the truck to dance! I thought, ‘This is cool! We got babes!’ And soon there were a number of scantily clad and naked young women dancing to loud music on top of the truck and doing strange things with vegetables. Which woulda been fine by me, if it wasn’t for the damned music! Dontcha know I was the ONLY guy screaming, “Turn off that rap crap! Change the music!” But for obvious reasons nobody paid the least bit of attention to me whatsoever, so I had to listen to that garbage ALL-night-long.
The next morning, hung-over and with hardly any sleep, I stumbled to the showers only to discover that someone had smeared puke and excrement all over the walls. That’s when I realized that if this is what I’m going to have to put up with, maybe this old dog doesn’t even wanna run with the young ones any longer and I should just stay on the porch. It’s safe to say that if this lifestyle hasn’t been turned inside-out in recent years, it’s at least been twisted a bit. That was the last time I went to the Rodeo.
Finally, for something a bit more important and a lot more serious......
A few days ago I was at a public bike event and witnessed an ABATE member wearing an enlarged spread-eagle ABATE logo in the center of the back of his vest. Above that, a large rocker proclaimed “ABATE”, and one below said “Ohio”. He told me that just the day before, his wife used a computer program that navigates a high-tech sewing machine to embroidery it. He was a relatively new rider who was also new to anything concerning this lifestyle, and thankfully I caught it in time to tell him what I’m about to tell y’all...
ABATE of Ohio is NOT an “MC”, meaning that it is NOT a Motorcycle “Club” of any kind. But it IS a motorcyclist’s organization, and a “Not for Profit” corporation which IS respected and honored by individuals, other organizations, and motorcycle clubs nationwide. Most clubs even allow their members to have “dual” membership in ABATE in addition to their club membership, simply because we are NOT a club and our legislative efforts directly benefit everyone. And clubs who have been around a while also know that we are not in any kind of competition on any level. We are in fact, non-biased towards clubs in every sense of the word, and recognized as being such. ABATE is (as a group) even a member of a separate organization called NCOM (National Coalition of Motorcyclists) that is a nationwide umbrella organization bringing together motorcycle groups, clubs and associations to work together. We’re also (as a group) a member of the MRF (Motorcycle Riders Foundation). In fact, we’re hosting their national “Meeting of the Minds” this September. We have also worked closely with, and shared information with, the COC (Confederation of Clubs) and we were invited to be a member of THAT organization, but declined simply because we are not a club and would never want to be regarded as one. In short, ABATE is accepted by everyone, and considered by all to be completely neutral. All that being said (and bear with me here), our ABATE patches, our name, our logos and/or our graphics of any kind, are to be worn proudly, but never to be displayed improperly (specifically, in the center of the back).
As an explanation to WHY I’m saying all this, and as more or less a cautionary warning to anyone who might not realize it: Protocol and tradition dictates many things regarding patches, pins, and symbols on motorcycle clothing. It’s VERY important to MCs (Motorcycle Clubs) that only patches of motorcycle clubs are EVER worn as a “center” patch on the back of a vest, jacket, or “cut-off” (a denim jacket with the sleeves cut off worn over top a bike jacket primarily to display patches, pins, and awards). This insures that there is no confusion about our NOT being a club. And the only “rockers” ever to be used regarding ABATE are the small “points” chevron type rocker patches usually worn on the front, sides, or sleeves representing awards from our “Points Program”, NOT a larger rocker stretching across the back above and/or below a “center” patch.
Trying to word this as tactfully as I can for the sake of those who never knew this, and these days there are MANY people who though they may have ridden for a long time, simply might not have: These traditions are held to be VERY important and almost sacred to members of clubs, not only to show pride in who they are, but to proclaim “turf”. Breaking them could initiate a confrontation that might become very dangerous to a person’s health under certain circumstances (this is NOT a laughing matter, so stop it).
There might also be a few younger or newer riders who ARE members of MCs who have never even heard of ABATE simply because the world of “clubs” is constantly evolving. Therefore, let’s not add to any confusion THEY might have by inadvertently and/or wrongfully giving the false impression to anyone that we ARE a club by displaying our patches and name improperly according to “MC Code”. And I don’t even want to talk about those “Sons of Anarchy” shirts! THAT is none of MY business LOL.
But ABATE and its members are. I just don’t want to see anybody hassled or hurt because of a simple mistake in customary biker “decorum” that could have been avoided if someone would have only told them about it. So, that being said... for this month,