Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

bummer @ abate

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July 2014

        “The time has come” the walrus said, “to speak of many things: Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.”         from Lewis Carrol’s Through the Looking Glass.

    Happy Month of Independence!!

    And in that spirit of independence, I’m gonna be bouncing around a bit, starting with a few independently miscellaneous items and ending with a very short story.

    Last month I rambled on about some of the pros and cons of modern technology. By coincidence, the day after I submitted that column to the editor, I was reading a Reader’s Digest magazine (which I’ve come to find ALWAYS has at least a few things worth taking note of in each issue), and I came across a random statement that if you were to speak to someone from the past, and told them that you possessed a small device in your pocket that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man, they would probably think of you as a sorcerer and that device as some kind of wondrously magical instrument. And isn’t that what it is?

    Most of you reading this right now can reach into your pockets, pull out your cell phones, and instantly have ANY question answered by simply accessing the internet. “Google” has even made it easy to ask the question! If you could have done this in the twelfth or thirteenth century, you’d probably be burned at the stake by the Inquisition. A mere century ago, and you’d have been proclaimed the most powerful, sought after, and valued person on Earth. Even just a few decades ago, and the idea of such a thing could only have come from the imagination of a script writer for “Star Trek”. And most folks waste this amazing ability by gaming and gossiping. But what an incredible age we live in! The possibilities truly are endless if we don’t screw it all up. Now, moving on.....

    Many months ago I requested a fellow ABATE member and friend of mine named “Fast Freddie” (a popular local radio personality and disc jockey) to make us up a few PSA’s (Public Service Announcements), and he’s done a wonderful job! It took a while to get them on the air, but he recently informed me that those PSA’s are now finally and officially going to be put into the regular rotations and aired on a number of local radio stations. If any of YOU from across the state can get any kind of access to YOUR local radio stations, feel free to contact Chris at our state office, or Email me at for us to get a copy of ‘em to you so you can pass them on.

    The premise of these safety-oriented spots is a request for folks to “Pay attention and drive, and look out for bikers.” with prominent mention at the end of each that, “This public service announcement has been brought to you by ABATE of Ohio” with our website and state office’s phone number. As I’ve mentioned in the past, FCC regulations require that EVERY radio station broadcasts a certain number of PSA’s for free, and these are kinda “hip” the station managers will probably be enthusiastic about using them. As I’m sure you’ll all agree, we desperately need to at least get our name and contact information out there people! Anyway, moving on again.....

    I think most of us have done things that, if they were found out, would have landed us in jail....of course some of us for longer periods than others. But most, if not all of us, have broken the law at one time or another.

    People cheat on taxes. They shoplift. They drive with a buzz on. They commit insurance fraud. If nothing else, they might litter, jaywalk, or break the speed limit. I can think of a few Presidents of these United States who have admitted to doing things that “regular” citizens would actually do hard time for. And that’s not even counting the one who said he didn’t inhale. He still broke the law!

   Ya know, in many ways I think Bill was one of our best presidents. The Monica mishap was a personal thing between him and Hillary. But that “not inhaling” bullshit was a major disappointment to me, even more so than NAFTA (only because NAFTA actually began with his predecessor.)

    All the same, those of us who DO get caught messing-up never seem to get the same treatment that wealthy celebrities like Martha Stewart received when she did 5 months in 2004/2005 at the unfenced minimum security FPC (Federal Prison Camp) for women in Alderson W. Va. on the edge of Greenbrier State Forest. While incarcerated this woman, who became wealthy telling the rest of US how to act and live, had her own choice of food, her own chef, complete access to a NICE fully appointed gym (not a set of rusty weights in the prison yard), a pool (which they’ve since filled in because of public outcry), a yoga class (that she started)....or she could play tennis, racquetball, volleyball, and go roller skating. I guess in most cases freedom is a relative term. And after serving her time, she became more of a celebrity than she was before all this! I’m surprised she didn’t author a best-selling book titled: “Martha Stewart’s Guide on How to Go to Prison”, but, enough of that. Now, switching lanes once again to finish up with a little story for y’all.....

    Everything eventually changes, but at least it still exists in one form or another as a solid, liquid or gas. It’s one of the basic laws of physics. The only things that can truly disappear usually involve our, hate, jealousy, envy, pride.... whatever. And when do we ever have a lifetime guarantee of holding on to any of that anyway? And we shouldn’t feel ripped-off if those emotions disappear, precisely because no laws apply there.

    I bet many of you might have woken up one morning and found that you didn’t love someone or something anymore. That’s why I’ve been divorced three times. Or you suddenly realized that you didn’t despise someone or something anymore. That happened to me after those three times too....eventually. But when it comes to anything other than our passions, nothing ever completely ends. It doesn’t cease to exist. It just changes.

    And as human beings, we change too. Aside from the obvious changing of our bodies over time, we might change the way we conduct our lives. Sometimes our enthusiasms change. Perhaps we might change the image we project to others. We might change the way we look at life, or the goals we aspire to. Even the things we’re interested in, and believe steadfastly in, might evolve into things that we never dreamed we’d ever get into.

   Then again, some things never change..... “Smokey Joe” Chambers was in his garage one evening wiping down his scoot and thinking about friendships: His own specifically. For the past few years he’s noticed that those folks whom he once thought were his close friends have changed much so, that he doesn’t even know who they are these days.

    Oh, Smokey Joe won’t admit it, but he’s changed a little bit too: He doesn’t tear up the town like he used to. He hasn’t seen the inside of a jail in decades. He’s slowed down in his drinking and partying. In fact there are “recreational enhancements” on the street (and ways of doing them), that he’s never even heard of! Like “Bath Salts”! What the hell was THAT all about?

    Used to be that all he’d have to do if he was feeling restless was to call up a few buds and they’d jump on their sleds to cruise on down to “The Bucket” where they had a great jukebox and there’d always be a pile of people ready to GET DOWN.

    Now....the Bucket is an insurance agency.

    Even “Deputy Dave”, who Smokey Joe used to torment the hell out of by leading him and his fellow cops on merry chases through town (with lights-a-flashin’ and sirens a-screamin’), retired and moved to Florida.

    Just a few months after Dave left, Joe teased a younger version of old Dave into a little chase just for shits and giggles and old time’s sake. The damned kid-cop actually pulled over after a few miles and stopped, leaving a maniacally laughing Joe running away from nobody like a damned idiot! All that was because of some new departmental policy about “safe” vehicular pursuits! Chases ain’t supposed to be “safe”! An old guy can’t even have any fun no more!!

    But the worst of it all is his friends have become BORING. Now, when he does see any of ‘em out and about in a bar, instead of tearing it up like they used to, they just sit there drinking beer after beer listening to rap crap, or that screaming metal shit coming from whichever young post-pubescent “child” wants to slide some money into the jukebox.....and the “adults” don’t even complain about it! That kinda thing used to be what caused broken bottles and cracked heads!

    “Yeah, being a biker sure doesn’t mean what it used to.” Joe bitched to himself as he finished with his bike (which he hadn’t even ridden in weeks). Then he yawned, stretched, and headed inside the house to turn on the tube as he thought, “It’s almost ten o’clock and I don’t wanna miss the latest episode of “The Walking Dead”!     " It’s too bad they lost the prison a few months ago! Think I’ll post something about that on Facebook later tonight.

    Joe hasn’t really changed. He’s just evolved like the rest of us eventually will...........
                    But before YOU do..... Go tear something up!


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