Riding Emotion

I had two really good friends in my mid-teen years who couldn’t be more different from each other. One, a 7th day Adventist pastor’s son, intelligent, wholesome, polite, a freckled smile that opens any door. The other, offspring of a green beret vietnam war veteran california hippie. Smart, irreverent, rule breaker, freckled knowing smile as hands loosen hinges and make that decidedly locked door open anyway.

They both left lasting imagery in my mind. Polar opposites, but with respect to approaching and handling power, they are kin.

Picture them, 13 or 14 years old, determined to ride Dad’s oversized 600cc motocross dirt bike. Seat up to midriff. To mount, have one foot on the ground, on toes, the other leg strung over the seat, supporting thigh. Getting going requires twisting the throttle for enough forward momentum to avoid toppling to ground when that toe is removed, and then madly pulling-climbing onboard before the machine gets entirely away. Hopefully, feet make it forward to find foot pegs instead of flapping behind like so much laundry in the wind (and unhappy balls slapping on not-so-soft-after-all surfaces).

Trial and error required to pull it off. There is no calling for help. You've been told you can ride it in a couple years, when you're big enough get it off the ground yourself.

Who, me? Do I want to take a turn? Hell no. It'll kill me. I'll keep watching safely from the sidelines on my pedal bike.

They both succeeded. Bumps and scrapes and bruises explained away as tree climbing n such. And grew up to be the kind of guys you beside you in a difficult situation, not scared of people and things apparently beyond their size and strength. Accomplished.


By dint of nature’s whimsy you, dear reader, have been handed an over-powered emotive machine.

Unlike my adventurous friends there’s no choice involved. You are leashed to it, and the throttle has a mind of its own, you can't stop it. You can abdicate control, and get dragged along anyway. Or you can grab hold and steer, modulate the throttle, and find that trail between bump, rocks and trees.

Yeah, it's bigger than you. Loud, snorty, dirty. But you know what? You're going to get the bruises either way, and apprehensions to the contrary, it won't kill you. You can do it. Become accomplished.