Ignition Sequence Start…

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Though it’s been on my mind recently due to all the media attention, it’s never been that far from my mind. When I think of the formative moments and events that have shaped and influenced my life, the moon landing has to be placed at the very top.

Below is a two-part essay —two separate writings from earlier this year on my daily Spoke And Word Facebook page. If you’re not already following that page, please take the time to do so. My daily Spoke And Word Facebook posts are brief and informal musings I write each morning, reflecting on my bike ride from the day before.

Apollo 11

Part I: One And Not Quite The Same…

I was roughly the same age on the day The Eagle landed on the moon as my brother was on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated earlier in the decade.

My brother is now in his early 60s, and I’m in my late 50s. We live roughly 1,000 miles apart, he in Colorado and me California. He is an attorney and I’m a fitness trainer.

Throughout our lives I have considered us to be close. We communicate regularly, see each other when we can, and we consider each other good friends.

My brother and I share a handful of similarities that are probably rooted halfway between our common genetics and the social influences we shared growing up — parental influences notwithstanding.

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We both enjoy drinking Diet Coke. We like to wear Oxford shirts even as casual attire. We love dogs. We find humor in dark places and at dark times. We both enjoy jumping off rural bridges into the rivers below. We both hate the Oakland Raiders with all the hate you can possibly hate something with.

We each see the world a little differently though.

With so much in common, I often wonder why I lean toward optimism in matters of social cooperation and the political landscape we currently live in, and why he leans more towards a negative outcome for mankind.

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I blame John F Kennedy, but not directly.

My brother was roughly 6-years old when President Kennedy was assassinated. Six years old — that’s a very formative time in most everyone’s life.

When Apollo 11 landed on the moon, I was only a little older than my brother was on the day Kennedy was killed. A formative time in my life as well.

When I think about those two world events, and that it’s fair to say they are two of the more significant events in American history, it makes me wonder how significant each of those events might have been in influencing the respective sensibilities of my brother and I.

As I rode my bike to the coast yesterday, after reading an article about the social influence of the Moonlanding compared to the social influence of the Kennedy assassination, and with my blood pumping hard, the serotonin exchange increasing my mental acuity, and as I was taking it all in, I wondered if those two events — the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Neil Armstrong taking “one small step for a man” might be the primary events that established our respective outlooks on life.

Viscerally, I know that many things have contributed to forming and shaping the sensibilities of my brother and I. On some level though, I think there’s something to this.

My brother has read nearly every book and probably invested more thought into the Kennedy assassination than anyone I know. And for my part, rarely a week goes by, especially in these seemingly divided times, when I don’t look back on a time when the world stood still, took a deep breath, and watched a manmade miracle unfold before our eyes.

I think we need another moon landing.

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Part II: Chasing Michael Collins…

As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on the Moon, Michael Collins had become the most distant human being, proximate to the earth, ever. That record would later be ‘eclipsed’ by the crew of Apollo 13 during the lunar orbit they required to get back to earth — but at least they had each other.

I think about Michael Collins often though — all the time actually, for having done something no human being had ever done before and something most people have not given enough consideration to. For a moment in time, Michael Collins was the most isolated human being, ever.

God how I envy and even aspire to that some days — most days.

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In these days of lifeless discourse, relentless argument, and fruitless conversation continually wearing down my psyche and my spirit with so much caustic intention, I often long to be Michael Collins — the most distant person from earth.

As close as I will ever get though, to the glorious isolation Collins alone experienced, is being on my bikes. Perhaps I am on the ground and proximate to others, but as I am absorbed into the rhythm of my ride, as my breath draws deep, and as my legs turn repeatedly to get me the hell out of the moments that too often eat me alive, I am as far from this earth as I could possibly be, or at least from the people in it.

“I knew I was alone in a way that no earthling has ever been before“. Michael Collins

In that sense, Michael Collins took a risk even Armstrong and Aldrin did not have to face. For a moment in time, he was lonelier than God.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…
Bikes ridden: 4
195 miles
7,200’ climbing
15.6 mph avg
11,200 calories

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Three Dog Night. Enjoy…

I Light Up My Life, Kind Of…

I can’t call myself minimalist anymore. Once upon a time I lived in the utility closet of my fitness studio. I didn’t own a car. I owned little clothing — a few shirts and a few pairs of shorts. I didn’t even have a kitchen — just a hot plate and a microwave oven. I owned a single plate, a bowl, a knife, fork, and a spoon.

Times were good and I felt like I wasn’t draining the world — I was taking less than I was giving.

Though I owned all the equipment in my fitness studio, that was my livelihood. When the day came to move both my studio and my residence to my current house, I needed a truck to move the fitness equipment, but my living possessions — those things I needed to get by from day-to-day, fit into a single box.

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The Transition…

Four years later not too much has changed. Still, I feel less like a minimalist today than I did when I made this transition. The vacuum created by living in a house versus a utility closet has called for me to own more. More on that later.

I qualify this by saying if not for the addition of hosting my mother, I would probably still live in that utility closet or in a small motorhome. However, elderly parents don’t usually do too well in motorhomes and even worse in utility closets. This was a compromise I made with myself on my mother’s behalf and I have no regrets.

Much of what fills the house we share belongs to her. For me, there has been little temptation to add more. Since my mother is currently in training to become a hoarder, and is doing quite well with that, she supplies our basics and beyond. As I feel guilty that I even live in a house rather than a closet, I don’t carry that guilt too far since mom is the one who has made a hobby out of collecting candlesticks, jewelry boxes, coffee mugs, shoulder bags, crappy oil paintings, and cheap statues from the local thrift shops.

The last time my mother threw anything away, other than a food rapper, was in 1968. I’m pretty sure that’s the opposite of minimalism. Still, we’re doing okay despite different values with regard to owning things.

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The Bedroom And The Bikes…

I now have a bedroom for the first time in years. That means  I also have a closet for my clothes. With such an expense in my storage options, I have purchased a few extra pairs of shorts and a few extra shirts, though I generally wear the same things from day to day.

Wanting to keep my connection to minimalism real, rather than move into that bedroom, I use the closet only.  For the last few years I’ve continued to sleep on an air mattress at night on the floor of my fitness studio, just as I did  when my home was a storage closet. Each morning, before my workday begins, I deflate the air mattress and tuck it away where it can’t be seen — in my shower behind the curtain.

With all that unused space in my bedroom, and with me only using the closet, I found it to be a great place to store my bikes. And that’s where the breakdown in my minimalism has mostly manifest — that I now have a bedroom full of bikes. Let’s be honest, it’s not a bedroom, it’s a bike room.

I guess I somehow I’ve rationalize that owning 6 or 8 bicycles is acceptable since I don’t own much of anything else. When I think about it though, I probably don’t need more than 2 or 3 bikes. Well, maybe 4.  Okay 5, but nobody needs to own more than 5 bicycles, of that I’m certain. I mean, unless they all get used. If they all get used then you probably need all of them. Eight bikes max, but that’s it. Okay, the 9th one might be on its way, but please don’t tell my ex-wife.

The Car…

I did purchase a car after mom moved in with me. It’s the first car I’ve owned since I gave away my Jeep in 2006. I purchased the car, a used Prius, so I can get mom around — to get groceries, to medical appointments, to thrift stores, and so-on. I vowed when I purchased the car that I would use it only for my mother and to transport my dog back-and-forth for our daily walks at a local nature preserve. Aside from those tasks, I would remain a bicycle commuter.

Since the local grocery store and hardware store are each less than a couple thousand yards from my front door, I had planned to always walk or ride one of my bikes when I needed to purchase something. In the nearly 4 years I have lived here, I have not once walked or ridden for local errands — not once.

That needs to change…!

I can dedicate at least one bike and equip it with racks to haul anything I might need from any of the local shops. This will happen before the week is over.

The Tools…

Since I have more of a yard and then I did living in the utility closet, and because I enjoy gardening, I have begun to purchase yard tools. Nothing fancy and nothing with engines or motors, just a standard rake, shovel, hoe, hedge clippers, etc. I’ve even had to carve out space to store the yard tools.

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The Other Tools…

For most of my adult life, I have owned a small socket-set that fits in my hand, a hammer, and a reversible Phillips-head/flat-head screwdriver. That has been my entire collection of tools. Take away my man-card if you must, but that’s all I’ve ever needed. I think I owned a drill once, but can’t remember where I left it or if I ever even used it.

Own a lot of bikes though, and if you start collecting bicycles, you’re going to need a lot of bicycle tools. I now have a tool bench in my bike room and another one out back on the patio, and I own pretty much every required bicycle tool, including some duplicates so I don’t have to walk back-and-forth between the bike room in the patio.

The Goal…

I’m not sure how I feel about any of this, except maybe a little bit dirty because I feel like I own too much, and that seems to be on the increase.

My goal is still to retire to a small motorhome, and to do so within the next 7 or 8 years. Retiring to a motorhome has been, not just a goal, but a dream since I was a teenager. I’ve just never wanted anything more in minimalism than that — to simply live with the smallest of footprints.

A lot of people I know will roll their eyes at what I consider a dream. That’s okay. I’ve got a screw loose, I’m certain, but the idea of finding it and tightening it at this point, is far beyond me.

Someday that minimalist retirement will be here for me. I won’t have a need for yard tools. I won’t have a need for a yard. I’ll still have a need for 8 or 9 bikes though, so I guess it’s not gonna be that small of a motorhome after all.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 5
176 miles
9,000’ climbing
15.3 mph avg
10,000 calories

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from the incomparable Chris Whitley. Enjoy…

Detached…

I’m fading away — growing smaller and more distant to many people I know and love, and who I also know love and appreciate me. I wish that weren’t the case, but I see no end in sight. I’m not sure I’ll disappear altogether, but I know I’m getting smaller in the eyes of some, and others no longer see me at all.

I am becoming less communicative.

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It’s my hope that anyone reading this and who might be affected by my withdrawing from socialization will take these words at face value — will recognize my sincerity.

In the last few years of being a caregiver for my mother, I’ve learned that the more truths I share about my mom’s cognitive decline, no matter how true they are, the worse I sound as a person. So I hope that in writing this, I will not be perceived as saying negative things about my mom. Rather, this is an explanation — an expression as to why I’ve been withdrawing from so many relationships.

My mom lives in a state of cognitive and physical decline. There are no cures for, and few treatments, for these. She’s simply aging and wearing out. This will only get worse. Of course that’s not her fault, and she’s not doing anything wrong. Through it all, my mother has been brave, strong, and dignified. And in her quietest moments, when she’s able to see it  clearly, she is aware.

As her caregiver, it’s my primary job to act as a buffer between the realities of life, and the departures from reality which form her mind. Or as I often frame it…

Dementia isn’t forgetting things that actually happened. It’s remembering things that never happened at all.

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Unfortunately, caregiver is a full-time job and doesn’t pay too well. The only reward is the job itself. Caregiving isn’t just about helping her find her cellphone or the TV remote control 10 times per day, though things like that do take up a portion of each day. Caregiving, for the most part, is about listening, processing, and subsequently negotiating.

Though caregiving might be about listening to the same story 4 times in one day, it might also be on agreeing that Moon Pies are a vegetable and therefore adequate for dinner.

Caregiving, above all other things, is about safety, hygiene, health, and entertainment. Mostly it’s about entertainment. Not that being a caregiver is akin to being an entertainer, but more like being a cruise director. I keep the entertainment flowing — always looking for activities to occupy her mind and keep her stimulated.

When I’m unnable to do that, I often become the entertainment and make a lot of bad jokes. I’m not very funny.

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That said, I still have to make a living to sustain myself, and that also takes up a great deal of my day. It’s in navigating between those two jobs — between caregiver and business person, where I find myself shrinking away from and becoming more distant from my friendships and human relationships.

Of those who I correspond with from a distance, I’ve realized in recent years that I’m rarely the one who initiates contact. When I get phone-calls or emails from friends checking in on me, I always ask myself why I am not the one who is checking in on them. I hate that about me.

When I get invited to an event, an activity, or a social gathering with friends, I know before the invitation is fully extended, that I won’t be attending. Still, people keep inviting me to do things and I appreciate that. Unfortunately, it’s just not a part of the plan right now.

So for a guy who’s been very social and very outgoing for much of my adult life, I’m beginning to fade for some, and disappear entirely for others. I wish this weren’t the case, but it’s my reality.

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Someday, my mother won’t be with me. When that time comes, I’m certain I’ll look back feeling as though I did everything wrong on her behalf. That’s what being Jewish is like. And at some point thereafter, opportunities to be social will hopefully come my way again. We shall see.

This is what I think about when I ride…

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes ridden: 5
178 miles
8,200’ climbing
15.6 mph avg
10,500 calories

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from The Rainmakers. Enjoy…

Woosh…

Woosh is a sound we might associate with going fast. Woosh….! 🚴‍♂️

I live on College Avenue in Fallbrook California. My house is located about one-third of the way up a street which is roughly a one-half mile long. Coming off Main Avenue, College Avenue begins as a T and concludes as a dead end. My street is a fairly steep gradient.

That means when I pull out of my driveway to ride each day, I immediately go downhill — woosh…! 🚴‍♂️

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Bomer The Kreeps…

That initial woosh 🚴‍♂️ though, only lasts for a few seconds because at Main Avenue I must go left or right. Main Avenue is flat. More on that later.

Near the top of my To-Do list for the last month or so was the following bullet point…

– Pull brakes, BTK

That was a note reminding me to increase the brake tension of my Trek FX2 bike, aka, Bomer The Kreeps.

Pulling in the brake tension cable would help provide a quicker response when engaging my brake levers. It’s been on my to-do list for a while because along with pulling in the brake cables, there are a half-dozen little adjustments that also need to be made and tested. It can be a time-consuming process.

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Bella…

Due to a cancellation in my work schedule yesterday, I finally had a chance to pull in those brake cables and make all the appropriate adjustments. It felt good that I had done a proper job.

Pulling out of the driveway last night to begin my ride, I decided I would turn left at the bottom of College Avenue and head south toward the town of Bonsall and later Oceanside. This would set me up for a 30-mile round-trip

Woosh…! 🚴‍♂️

I didn’t take long though, before I realized the final adjustment I needed to make after pulling my brake cables in — was never adjusted.

There is a small knob on the inside of each brake mechanism which can be turned between the thumb and index finger to adjust the tension on the brakes, slightly, if needed. I had released the two finger dials after the final brake adjustment so I could spin the tires and ensure the brake rotors were lined up properly.

On completion of that alignment test, I never turned those knobs back in.

That’s a long-winded way of letting you know that by the time I hit the bottom of College Avenue last evening to turn left and head toward Bonsall, I was going roughly 30 mph headed into the busiest street in town — at 5 PM, which is rush-hour in my little town.

Woosh…! 🚴‍♂️

The whole circumstance unfolded in roughly 3-5 seconds. All I could do, without any brakes, was to hit Main Avenue and bank right instead of left, to turn as sharply as possible, and hope that no cars would be headed my way.

A number of cars were headed my way.

At the speed I was traveling, there’s no way I could have made a sharp right turn. So I headed into the northbound traffic lane banking a wide right when a mustard yellow Ford Focus saw me and laid on the horn.

These things which last for seconds always feel like slow motion. Decisions are made instinctively and without an ounce of reason.

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As I saw the yellow car headed my way, I was prepared to jump off my bike to avoid a collision. With a split second to spare, I decided to bank to the left after all rather and cut to the inside (passenger side) of the Ford Focus as it sped past me. Free and clear of the yellow car, And all other cars, and with my heart in my stomach, I pulled into the 7-Eleven parking lot. I got off my bike, checked my pulse, and proceeded to adjust the brake pads so they would catch the rotors.

Somewhat days to, I am mended my route and headed out for roughly 26-miles, but kept reliving that woosh moment over and over again in my head.

I truly could have died.

This August 13th will mark 2-years of me being emergency room free. I kept thinking about that while I was riding last evening — of how lucky I was. However, one other thought consumed me even more — the mustard yellow Ford focus that narrowly missed hitting me.

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Mustard yellow is not a stock color for Ford. That means some douche bag spent roughly $20,000 on that car and immediately turned around and put a couple thousand dollars more into that wretched paint job. And you think I’m the dumb one.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 5
142 miles
7,100’ climbing
14.7 mph avg
8,200 calories

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Dave Edumds. Enjoy…

The Shocking Story Of Sam…

This is the story of Sam, not his real name. Sam is a military officer, a former cyclist, and a former triathlete who competed at a very high level.

Sam’s story is one I think about nearly every day when I ride. This story was told to me secondhand, by Sam’s mother, who was a friend and client at the time this took place. To the best of my ability, I’m relaying this story with accuracy. Though there may be some discrepancies in how I present this versus what actually happened, I believe any disparity is minimal.

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Sam was an Air Force B1 pilot in the mid-2000s. He flew regular missions over Iraq and Afghanistan. At some point, as those conflicts evolved and as the technology of war evolved, Sam was reassigned to the drone program and stationed near Las Vegas Nevada. This reassignment allowed Sam to spend his nonworking time training for triathlons, something he aspired to do at the highest level.

One afternoon, I believe in 2012, Sam was on a training ride roughly 20-miles outside of Las Vegas, riding alone on a rural road.

Far from civilization, and with no witnesses to see what took place, Sam was struck from behind by a pickup truck. The driver of the truck saw there were no witnesses and rather than stop, she continued on, leaving Sam for dead. Sam, however, survived the accident.

After being struck and probably unconscious for a while, Sam would awaken to the sensation of several goats licking blood off the back of his head. As part of the trauma, Sam had suffered a laceration at the base of his head, extending from ear to ear.

Additionally, Sam suffered a broken leg on one side, and what his mother described to me as a “shattered” ankle on the other leg, though I don’t recall which side was which.

Sam was not left on the side of the road though, as the woman who struck him believed.

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After being struck, Sam had tumbled over the cab and landed in the bed of the truck which hit him. The truck was carrying several goats, and the woman driving the truck was unaware that Sam had landed in back.

The driver, who was later determined to be intoxicated at the time she hit Sam, continued on to her home, a small ranch outside of Las Vegas. Parking her truck and still thinking she had left Sam on the side of the road, she entered her home and continued to drink, presumably to help settle her nerves.

As Sam began to gather his senses and attempted to figure out where he was and what had happened, he was able to drag himself out of the truck bed and crawl to a neighbors house to request help.

Help arrived and Sam was taken to the hospital at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas. As Sam was being taken to the hospital, police apprehended the woman, a veterinarian with a history of DUIs, and processed her through the system. She would be released within 24-hours.

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Over the next few days, Sam would be assessed and a series of surgeries would be scheduled to repair his ankle and a broken leg.

Shortly after being released from police custody, the woman who hit Sam injected herself with Euthosol, a compound veterinarians use to euthanize animals. She died at her home.

Shortly after this happened, I lost touch with Sam’s mother, though I do know he was on his way to making a strong recovery. To the best of my knowledge, Sam remains an officer in United States Air Force. I don’t know though, whether or not Sam’s recovery was complete enough that he was able to return to cycling and triathlons.

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Each day when I ride, I think of Sam’s story. I know that there’s always risk involved in riding on these rural roads. It’s a risk I accept though, in exchange for the reward. The reward is simply decompression and peace of mind — I guess.

Again, to the best of my knowledge, I have conveyed Sam’s story accurately, as it was told to me by his mother.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes ridden: 6
173 miles
6,700’ climbing
14.5 mph avg
10,000 calories

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from The Thermals. Enjoy…!

Dad’s Greatest Gift…

On the Night my father passed away, he was in an assisted living facility in Las Vegas and I was at home in San Diego. A caregiver told me he wasn’t expected to make it through the night. She held the phone to his head for me and said he was able to listen but not able to speak. Knowing these would be the last words I would ever speak to my father, I thanked him for the upbringing he provided and for the tools he gave me to prepare me for life. I then told him that I loved and said goodnight.

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The next morning when I was notified he passed during the night, I realized I forgot to thank him for the most important thing — the sense of humor he instilled in me. To this day, in my morning prayer, I always thank him for that sense of humor.

My dad enjoyed laughing, but he enjoyed making others laugh even more — or at least trying to. He loved a good joke. He was always quick with the typical dad joke…

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Dad, I would say to him, I’m going to jump in the shower now. His reply was always, “don’t jump too high, I don’t want you to slip and break your neck…”

Or

Dad, I’m going to run to 7-Eleven and get some candy. “I bet you don’t make it 2 blocks before you stop to catch your breath…”

Hardy-har-har

Maybe those were comical retorts more than jokes, but he did like a good joke too. One of his favorites was this…

“Son, did you know a slice of apple pie is $3.00 in Jamaica, $4.00 in Barbados, $6.00 in the Bahamas…?”

No I didn’t, I would tell him.  Then I would cringe and wait for  what I knew was coming…

“Those are the pie rates of the Caribbean…”

Bud-dump-bump

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Dad, a former English teacher and one-time journalist, loved language, loved a good pun, and enjoyed word-play.

Across the dinner table one evening when I was maybe in the 3rd grade, he stopped cold, put down his fork, just looked at me dead-faced and asked…

“I know what the capital of Alaska is —Juneau…?“

I didn’t get it, because I didn’t know what the capital of Alaska was when I was in the 3rd grade. He had to explain it to me. Of course the next day in school, I attempted to use that joke all day long. None of my friends knew the capital of Alaska either, so I didn’t get anymore traction with that joke than he did with me.

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Later in life and well into retirement, April Fool’s Day became his high-holy day. I was in my early 30s when he called me on the phone one evening and suggested I sit down if I wasn’t already seated. He was in his late 60s at the time. His voice was actually haunting and I could tell something was wrong. I knew this was not going to be good news and I expected him to tell me of heart disease, cancer, or worse.

He then explained to me that during a lapse of judgment, he had gotten pregnant a 17-year-old girl who lived in his condominium complex.

I was stunned, but I was immediately steadfast in wanting to be there for him. I explained that I supported him no matter what. I remember clearly asking him how I could help him.

“Well“ he said “you can start by telling me what day it is…“

Huh…?

“What day is it today…?“

April 1st, I told him.

Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck…!

You got me, I told him. I might’ve called him an asshole, a son of a bitch, or both. Maybe it was both. I don’t remember, but I remember using foul language and in an instance when I could get away with it.

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Yes, my father raised me with an appreciation for the English language. He raised me with a good workout ethic, to be polite, to be a gentleman, to hold doors for women, and to say please and thank you to everything that moved. He taught me to write thank you notes, how to tie a Windsor knot, and he indoctrinated me on Dixieland jazz, big band, and swing music.

My father taught me to make my bed with hospital corners, how to polish shoes, how to mow the lawn in opposing angles each week to make the grass stand up straighter, and he taught me how to properly cook a steak over charcoal.

The most enduring lessons he taught me though, was having a sense of humor — of appreciating laughter and being able to make others laugh.

I’m not suggesting in any way that my father could have had a career as a comedian or a comedy writer. Most of the time he wasn’t that funny or he was just plain corny. He tried often though, to be funny, and that made a huge difference in an otherwise tense household.

Humor was a part of nearly every meal, every road trip, and even when we were in the backyard pulling weeds side-by-side, there was always…

“Son, how many rabbis does it take to screw in a lightbulb…?

I don’t know dad, how many…?  Cringe…

“Ve don’t need any lightbulbs. The oil in the lamp will last us least 8 days…”

Oy

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In some ways I think I was equally unsuccessful at making my own daughter laugh, but just as successful at teaching her the value of having a sense of humor.

Hey Dad, remember that day when I was in the 8th grade and when you walked into the house house only to find laying on the floor spread out like I was dead and I really wasn’t…? I was just playing dead to get you to laugh. Psyche…! I learned it from you okay, I learned from watching you. Sorry I scared the crap out of you.

To all you dad’s out there telling corny jokes at the dinner table, while driving to practice, or standing beside the swing-set — please don’t ever stop telling those horrible jokes. When you’re no longer around, those jokes might be the first thing your kids think of when they think of you.

This is what I think about my ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 5
171 miles
7,900’ climbing
15.0 mph avg
10,000 calories

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Razorlight. Enjoy…!

On The Road With Selfishness…

“Idealism, in any quantity, without an equal quantity of intentional contribution to society, is the epitome of selfishness.” Me

I never bought into the dream. From an early age, the idea of the house, the gray flannel suit, and the shiny sedan failed to capture me. It’s not that I was opposed to work, and hard work at that, it’s been more about what I get in exchange for that work. Hiding behind a fence and a TV set have always seemed like little reward for a life of hard work.

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Though I have a failed to live it up to this point, I have come to begin planning and preparing for the next phase of my life — living in and out of a small motorhome, possibly in the next several years.

Last night I watched two documentaries films about working age adults living on the road. I watched the two films in a staggered fashion. I watched roughly 10 to 15 minutes of one, followed by 10 to 15 minutes of the other. At 75-minutes each, it timed out well.

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In 2 1/2 hours, I toggled back and forth between, and was exposed to a couple of very different approaches to life on the road. Both seemed selfish and left a bad taste in my mouth. Processing it all after the fact, I began to wonder if my own plan to live such simple life would be indeed as selfish.

I came to no conclusion.

One film was the story of a husband, a wife and their small child. Wanting more from life, they put their large suburban house up for rent, loaded up a Class A motorhome, and went on the road to explore life‘s rich pageant.

Their adventure was funded by multiple income streams — the rental revenue from their house, as well as the earned income from the husband’s business as a filmmaker and editor. He was in the fortunate position to be able to take his business on the road. So long as they were connected to Wi-Fi, he had the ability to work.

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Their travel agenda included pristine and picturesque places throughout the American west, Northwest, and even extend into Western Canada.

They cooked and ate almost exclusively organic foods, and made a point to stock up on those items as they were available. They looked like a rolling advertisement for Whole Foods, PBS, and the only thing missing was a James Taylor CD on the dashboard.

They spoke of the road less traveled, of the experience of travel for their child, and of the impact, both positive and negative, that life on the road would have on their marriage.

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Despite their tight quarters, some personal ups and downs, the family appeared to live a comfortable and aesthetic life, and wanted for very little. Each sunrise filmed looked like a TV commercial for a yoga studio. They had a dog along for the ride.

It all seemed so lofty to me.

The other film focused on a small group of young people in their late teens and early 20s. They were down and out misfits — runaways who chose a life of homelessness and riding the rails over the toxic and abusive home lives they claimed to have left behind.

Their agenda was more about connecting with other kids, like themselves, and less about seeing pristine and picturesque places.

Their income came exclusively by stopping along the way and “flying signs“ — the act of standing on a street corner holding a cardboard sign and asking for assistance from passersby.

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Their dietary requirements were less stringent than the family traveling in the Class A motorhome. They ate what they could get, and ate as much of it as possible when it was available, for the not knowing of when they would have the opportunity to eat again.

They drank alcohol, used drugs, and during interviews, could scarcely string a sentence together without including several curse words.

They were unkempt, looked exhausted and sick most of the time, and seemed to be taking more from society than they would ever be willing to put back into it. They too had a dog along for the ride.

It all seemed so lofty to me.

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When I had completed the two documentaries, I sat up in bed trying to take it all in — processing which one I thought was the most genuine lifestyle. I questioned if my own would-be life on the road would be his lofty.

To have watched either one of these individually, without the context of the other, I’m certain I would have been more inspired by each, and less critical. It’s not that I wouldn’t have seen the negative aspects of either one. It’s just that seeing them superimposed over one another in the way that I watched them allowed me to correlate the ups and downs of each a little bit better.

I was left with more disdain for each than inspiration. When I asked myself where that disdain came from, I realized it’s because both the family and the group of young people seemed to taking more from the world than they were willing to give back. They lived me-centered lives.

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Someday I will live in that small motorhome. I will continue to work, because work is what we are here for. I will probably live a me-centered life also, because most of us tend to do that. I will hope though, that I will continue, each day of my life, to reach beyond me and to give to others. Because along with work, relationships are what we’re here for, especially when those relationships are fueled more by giving than by taking.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

A bad week. I only rode 4 days due to illness. As I write this, I know I’m not going to ride  today and maybe not again for several days. My lungs rattle when I breathe, my head is congested, my fever has come down, but is still present.  My 18-month streak of riding at least 100-miles per week will probably come to an end this week.

Bikes Ridden: 4
104 miles 🙁
3,000’ climbing 🙁
15.8 mph avg 😬
6,000 calories

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Atomic Rooster. Enjoy…!