Give Me A Brake

June 26, 2008

Lately it seems like I’ve been seeing a lot more bumper stickers that say things like, “Share the road with motorcycles” and “Watch For Motorcycles”. I thought it was weird that they were all on cars until I remembered that motorcycles don’t have bumpers. Am I missing something, though? I know it’s an election year, and maybe I just haven’t been keeping up with the news about Proposition 22832-A, which states, “Drivers of vehicles with three or more wheels shall not henceforth and such anon no longer be not required to provide safe passage or berth for vehicles which consist of two or fewer wheels.” I was planning to vote for it because I was certain it was about getting commies out of the State Department, but maybe I’m mistaken. If I’m wrong I’m sorry, but I’ve always considered motorcycle riders to be people, and I’ve always tried to watch for motorcycles and share the road with them. If all this time I was supposed to be swerving to run them off the road I’m sorry—and now that I think about it that may have been one of the questions I got wrong on my driving test. What’s wrong with motorcycles? I know a nurse who drives a motorcycle, and I can tell you I’ve never had anyone stick a seven-inch needle into my arm with more care and consideration, maybe because, as a motorcyclist, she knows a thing or two about pain. And where would our culture be without motorcycles? If Jack Kerouac had traveled across the country in a Buick rather than on a motorcycle, his book On The Road would have been called Ripping Good Travels, Eh What? Actually there was a book like that. It was written by Nabokov and it was called Lolita. Think about it. Then there was the film Easy Rider. If, instead of riding really cool choppers across the country Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper had driven a Dodge Dart, the film’s climax would not have been a massive drug-induced freakout in a cemetery in New Orleans, but would have been them fixing a photocopier in Yakama, and having a round of martinis while Jack Nicholson sat on it and made pictures of his butt. Let’s face it: if you’re driving a Gremlin, you can’t drive up to a group, spin in a half-circle, and say, “Hey you kids, never suck all the juice out of a tractor!” Well, you could, but it wouldn’t look nearly as cool.

But I digress. Do we really need these bumper stickers? And, if they do, couldn’t they at least include some cool pictures of smoking wreckage? I just don’t see enough twisted wreckage out on the road, and it’s unethical and time-consuming to cause it myself. And while I’m on the subject of bumper stickers, or, actually, because I just wanted to get back to the subject of bumper stickers and didn’t feel like trying to make a logical leap back to it, what’s with the ones that say, “I Brake For” this or that? Are these people saying they don’t brake for things like stoplights? I saw one that said, “I Brake For Unicorns”, which is fine. I brake for any equine animal regardless of whether it has horns, but did the driver of that car not brake for nixies, dryads, or homunculi? That last one I could understand. Seriously, when I see homunculi I hit the accelerator. Those things are vicious. They’ll go straight for your gastroenterologist. It’s true. At least that’s what a guy on a motorcycle told me.

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