Friday, August 13, 2010

Mottoes, Bumper Stickers, and Tattoos

This past year I joined a fraternity that's over 100 years old - randonneurs. Over the last century or more, men and women have taken their bicycles out on the road to ride standardized distances of 200 kilometers, 300 kilometers, 400 kilometers and 600 kilometers. They have ridden these distances within a time limit, and within a set of rules which define the sport.

The Audax Club Parisien and the world wide organization Randonneurs Mondiaux are the gatekeepers for this tradition. You can ride around the world on a unicycle, but if your ride isn't certified by one of these organizations, it's just another trans-globe unicycle ride. To be a randonneur, you have to do it their way. You have to do it our way.

I promised myself a new tattoo when I completed my first, full Super Randonnneur Series (200, 300, 400, 600 kilometers). But what to get? That's a hard question. Tattoos, like mothers, are for life.

I think that tattoos are the very personal equivalent of a bumper sticker. I like bumper stickers. Some of my favorites are: STUPID PEOPLE SHOULDN'T BREED, and MEAN PEOPLE SUCK. I also like REAL MEN READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. However, my favorite is: JESUS LOVES YOU - EVERYONE ELSE THINKS YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE.

I like special sayings: Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way! or KISS (Keep it simple, stupid).

I have mottoes. On one of my tattoos, it says: SEMPER FI. That, as you know, is an abbreviated form of Semper Fideles or Always Faithful. It's the Marine Corps motto. My motto for the last few years has been: Miles to go; Promises to keep.

However, I have been thinking that I need to add to that motto. I think I should add: More to learn.

Miles to go; Promises to keep; More to learn...

But then I could also add: Dues to pay.

Miles to go; Promises to keep; More to learn; Dues to pay...

I fear that if I thought long enough, the motto would finally be too long for a tattoo on any appendage I have!

So I think I'll keep it about: Just Finish The Damn Ride!

Yea, that'll be a great tattoo motto.

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