Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Motorcycle Butt Bustin' and Bad-Asses

The term bad-ass has become part of the common vernacular and can mean many things. It's difficult to pinpoint its origin with any certainty, but the etymology finds its roots in inner city slang. Bad meant just that, such as "he's a bad mofo" and ass used as a qualifier such as " Man, I am so broke-ass".

Bad-ass has come to encompass many different meanings and for the most part, has positive connotations. When a hot rod is bad-ass, one immediately knows it without having to describe it any further. Just by its stance or the sound of the exhaust, one instinctively knows it to be bad-ass.
Ass is indeed very bad.
Comes with a loaf of white bread.
You see the difference? I know you do, everyone does, bad-ass speaks for itself. Just like the bad-ass dude, he never, ever refers to himself as a bad-ass and therein lies the very nature of the expression. One has to note the difference between bad-ass and sociopath. A dude who likes to indulge in random acts of violence is not a bad-ass but mainly a dangerous retard. Guys who get all pumped up on steroids and Gatorade, avidly watch UFC  matches on a big screen in a bar and proceed to pick fights with little guys are not bad-ass, they just need to be locked up in the psyche ward. That is the blatant difference. Unfortunately, too many people think of themselves as bad-asses, kinda like everyone thinks that they are a great driver. In actuality the vast majority of people who own cars are shitty drivers and the vast majority of self-proclaimed bad-asses are louts who excel at beating people up.

A true bad-ass just stands for himself and his values and he would never think of kicking a chihuahua, as matter of fact, he probably owns a chihuahua ( and let's face it, chihuahuas are the bad-asses of the dog world, they think they weigh 400 lbs ). A true bad-ass will do cool shit anonymously, like helping random strangers or buying girl scout cookies, and be comfortable with that.

Bad-asses can be found in all walks of life and can be found anywhere from the upper echelons of society to the back alleys of the hood. President Obama is a prime example; he exudes self-confidence, doesn't take shit offa no one and the dude even smokes cigarettes.  Canada's Prime Minister Harper; not so much bad-ass as Howdy Doody.

Andy Green is a bad-ass; he set the land speed record in a car going seven freakin' hundred sixty miles an hour without even breaking into a sweat. Faster than sound. Beat that, Lemme!

Felix Baumgartner jumped out of a balloon from the edge of outer space, all of Captain Kirk's posturing and boning green chicks could never top that.

Speaking of Star Trek the biggest bad-ass of the whole series is Mr. Spock. He's twice as strong and smart and he can disable psychotic aliens bent on destruction with one single Vulcan Nerve Pinch. All without cracking so much as a smile. Oh yeah, chicks dig him.

Jack Daniel was a bad-ass; he invented Bourbon and did it in a dry county ( still dry to this day)

Alfred Nobel was a bad-ass; he invented Dynamite and even has a prize named after him. He gave the world a whole new (and cool) way to blow shit up and gave fisherman an entirely new technique to catch a shitload of fish.

Link Wray was so bad-ass that he poked holes in his guitar amp speakers with a pencil to make his guitar sound even more bad-ass.

Even though he was a bit of hippie, Steve Jobs was a bad-ass because he invented Mac computers. He saved people from a lot of anguish , excessive cursing and destroying shit with a hammer by making computers that actually work.

Wanda Jackson was a bad-ass because she broke every stereotype in the book and proceeded to make some of the most bad-ass Rockabilly music ever put on vinyl. ( She's still rockin').

Speaking of Rockabilly, the iconography and imagery are generally bad-ass. The movie "The Wild One" more or less set the tone and defined a genre for that decade. The attitude, leather jackets, cuffed jeans and motorcycles all defined an era. In an ironic twist, however, there is no Rock 'n' Roll in that movie's soundtrack; it's all Be-Bop Jazz (some of those Jazz cats were pretty bad-ass in their own right). The movie was released in 1953 and predated Rock 'n' Roll by a couple of years. With all that bad-assery, this movie can almost be considered a template for all bad-asses to come.

One can therefor conclude that the Rockabilly lifestyle is inherently bad-ass. It feels good to walk around with a slightly worn leather jacket without any ironic undertones. It takes a bit of bad-ass commitment to putting greasy petroleum-based products in your hair on a daily basis. I must admit that it feels pretty bad-ass being on a stage holding a guitar under glaring spotlights. It was all bad-ass and self confidence until last week. I was humbled in a way that I never expected: I bought a motorcycle.

It wasn't my first time riding a motorcycle, but admittedly, it had been a while. It all started when I was a kid. I used to do crazy shit with my little dirt bike. I would jump off ramps and ride in the mud. I would ride in traffic without even so much as a driver's license. I had absolutely no fear and I never dropped the bike. I ask myself if it is the exuberance of youth that results in lack of fear or if it simply lack of intelligence.

As I rode my newly acquired motorcycle home for the first time I was indeed questioning my intelligence. It got the old adrenalin glands pumping. Not the type of adrenaline that one gets from watching cars drag race real fast or the cheap thrills of winning a few bucks in the lotto. Not even the adrenaline produced by being chased by a couple of angry pit bulls ( those fuckers can run). This was an adrenaline all its own. The type of adrenaline that you would experience, say if you landed on Mars and realized that the space ship was outta gas, or maybe that strange sensation in your leg when you realize a shark just bit it off up to the knee cap.

To be honest, I didn't really feel the adrenaline, because I was so intent on riding the motorcycle in traffic. Hell, I did not feel bad-ass whatsoever. Who has time to stop for a sec and think " hell yeah, I'm a bad-ass" ? Not when there's a dump truck on either side of you.  There is a lot of shit to do on a motorcycle, a carefully choreographed set of movements with hands and feet, so precise in fact that should a bee hit your face or a huge booger was bothering you, you had to leave it.

The bike weighs about 450 lbs. and I experienced the laws of physics first-hand; it's that damned centrifugal force. I had to get re-acquainted with leaning in turns and that extremely counter-intuitive move of counter steering. It was like riding a very mean bull and kicking it in the nuts to get it to calm down.

The bike is fast, way faster than I expected. I cracked the throttle a few times and I could have sworn that I hit the speed of light ( I assume that's the kind of crazy colors that hippies see when they drop acid).

I finally got the bike home and to be honest, I wasn't sure what I felt. I let it sink in for a few minutes and I did feel a sense of accomplishment for having gotten this thing home safely. I felt happy that I had the balls to ride it when my riding skills were rusty. I was happy that I got a good deal. Did I feel bad-ass? Anything but. As a matter of fact, all I could think of is that my butt hurt.

This means that bike did not make me a bad-ass; it just made my ass bad.

The bike is presently in the shop getting a bit of work done to it. I should have it back in a few days. I plan on doing a few practice runs. I will try to find a secluded place so that people won't make fun of some dude trying to be all bad-ass and riding a bike like a clown in the Shriner's parade.

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