Crisis Mode

The Most Interesting Man In The World is just a sadbelly beer pusher with nothing interesting to say about motorcycles, but the most interesting woman I’ve ever known once said of midlife crises, “Have them early and often.”

It’s fair to say that she had no idea what she was signing up for. She probably never expected to see her husband stand up in the living room, puffed up with self-righteous dudgeon, and state – with firm conviction and not a hint of irony – “No one ever took this much crap over buying a motorcycle!

“So,” Pretty Wife asked, holding up the canceled deposit check and waving it slowly in the air, “were you going to tell me before, or after, you flew to Indiana?”

Further words were exchanged. I stomped out for a walk. She Googled lists of attorneys. If I’d shown the courage G-D gave a Chihuahua, I would have just told her before I mailed that deposit. Because it’s still hard for me to believe that she’ll actively help me make my dreams happen, so long as she gets cut into the decision process, instead of talking it out with Pretty Wife, I rationalized it over conceptual tequila shots with the left shoulder devil. We made sense to each other, sense enough to justify the thing completely — just so long as I didn’t have to justify it to the actual family with which I live.

Angrily, I slung a sleeping bag into our grungy 1990 conversion van, so disreputable that my daughter nearly called the police the first time we parked it outside her house. Slathered in the electric blue velour beloved of degenerate priests and code-named “Slobber Wagon,” it was purchased for a few hundred dollars primarily to schlep dogs around, secondarily for quick-draw camping trips. Covering both bases, I tossed a Great Dane in next to my bedroll.

Why not take my perfectly useful, swift and comfortable BMW bike? What better way to ride off into the sunset than to, well, ride?

First you have to understand that the Dane doesn’t pillion worth a damn. Also, with my shoulder tendons deli-sliced and reassembled around a piece of plastic resembling a hairball-snelled Worden’s Original Flatfish to repair my rotator cuff, I was physically unable to ride.  Try that for a few months sometime, and see what it does to your bike-buying judgment — not to mention your whining sense of entitlement.

Ten minutes down the road, with the degenerate van running perfectly and my temper a polished alloy of rage and self-justification, I pulled over and called home.

“God, I’m glad you called,” she said. “I—”

“Tucker’s driving me nuts ,” I interrupted savagely. “The sniveling bastard thinks I’m doin’ it wrong. He won’t stop whining.”

I paused, not sure what to say next. “Um… will you guys come with us?”

When running away from home, it’s best to hold hands. With Smalldaughter and Pretty Wife aboard, we camped our way out to Neah Bay, freezing eagles and sea lions into our digital memory banks, walking quietly through the rain forest and noisily through the Makah museum and reminding each other that there are things more important than pride, than cherished resentments… even more important than interesting motorcycles.

Yeah, I know, right? Hard to believe.

It appears I’ve become a man of a certain age. That would be the age when I unexpectedly do things that make both Pretty Wife and a Pretty Friend observe that they may need to reevaluate who they think I am.

Well, me first, dammit. Most anyone who claimed a need to evaluate who I am has had their shot: bikers and sport riders, NCOs and officers, bar fighters and cops, doctors and dealers, editors and ministers and spouses and professors and bosses both forgotten and remembered, both respected and loathed. I am the only person left qualified to evaluate what Mom’s little boy turned into. Me!

Well, me and Pretty Wife, anyway. As usual, I ended up seeing it her way.

Three months out of the surgery that shriveled my good right arm, without consulting anyone, I dipped into our overstressed home improvement budget and bought a bike featuring all the functional purity of a 100-Gigabit cord on a fur-lined toaster. It may have buckets of “go,” but it has dump truck loads of “show.” That ratio may be a little off… 

For all kinds of suddenly appropriate reasons, my call sign is now “Poser Boy.”

Sight unseen, I put a deposit on a flashy bike that was parked in an Indiana garage 2,000 miles from home. I never even test rode it. It’ll look good in the living room until that fishing lure in my shoulder knits into place.

I did hear it run. So did everyone else in its tri-state area. It more than technically qualifies as “butt jewelry” and I will not ride it home; it will arrive in a trailer.

A trailer! Can’t wash that out. Those stains set. Can you even be a RUB if you’re not rich?

Although it appears I’ve hit that nexus of darkly inappropriate lust and the last, desperate sputters of balding virility that makes the cliché of midlife manhood so entertaining to mock, I’m immune to sensible recriminations. I love the skinny little bitch, and – unseemly though it may be – I’m bringin’ her home.

My family says they’ll make room. It’s rare when a man gets exactly what he wants; when needs and wants and availability mesh in a single perfection that’s pretty as a Faberge egg, tough and sleek as doeskin gloves.

That doesn’t describe this bike. It doesn’t describe any bike. It describes Pretty Wife.

But oh, the blaring siren of that little moto… Cheaper than a red Ferrari and less diseased than a gold digger, “Homewrecker” is still impractical enough to launch Pretty Wife’s eyebrows straight into her hairline. Homewrecker may not stop (we’re praying for accurate steering), but she will thunder through the streets, lethal as a horny Pamplona streetfighter. She will irritate the neighbors, bait the gendarmerie and look as silly jammed under my middle-aged ass as a wayward cheerleader caught in Donald Trump’s ‘do.

She is… The Most Interesting Motorcycle in the World.

To be continued…

This looks right, I think…


  1. Dude. That thing even street legal? Or you planning on re-living your teenage “run from the cops” years?

  2. Guy Bott says

    I really appreciate you writing and your wisdom. Please keep us posted on this mis-adventure. I was recently pondering a similar action but have only been discouraged by the need to solve the storage issue. I may be able to eventually recover from making a major uncoordinated purchase but would likely face ongoing and unremitting hostility if I were to banish her car to the driveway during the snowy and cold mid-atlanic winter.

  3. Just. Couldn’t. Help. It.

    The peer pressure. The buddy with a Hawt Red-Headed-Mistress. You just *had* to have your own.

    Admittedly, she’s much more a ginger, but that’s okay — she matches your beard better that way. (deny you have a thing for gingers now – I DARE you!!) She’s svelte and sexy and a total bite of mid-life candy.

    As you’ve learned (Hopefully!!) when starting a new relationship it’s best (and safest) to have the foreknowledge and cooperation of those you *currently* have a relationship with. Mudita is far better than jealousy — and Pretty Wife will give you that and so much more. Even accepting your wannabe Homewrecker into the fold.

  4. heheheh. Hardly-Ableson. HAHAHAAAAAA!
    God you’re a lucky sumbitch.

  5. He was sitting on it, and we were talking. I told him I wanted to hot-foot it around the grassy south forty. He started to get off the saddle. I told him I’d probably crash it. He settled back on.

    There’s a “pop” that comes from the pipe. It’s more than merely a sound. It’s a voice begging… begging for someone to open the throttle and hold on.

    I’d’a done it, but Jack seemed sort of concerned about that crashing thing.

    It’s a neat little bike.

  6. PICS!!!
    What is it??

  7. JimBro, you can get a pretty good look at it if you check the next entry, “Old Enough, To No Better (posted from Iron Horse Garage).”

    Cheers, mate.

  8. Monte Miller says

    Jack, You give us all that elusive possibility of HOPE.


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