Friday, September 17, 2010

A Safety Flag to Stay out of Hell

A safety flag. For safety. But it marks you as a dork, geek, square, definitely not cool. I just put one on my brand new bicycle.

I didn't really want to. I want to be one of the cool kids. I've never been one of the cool kids. When I was growing up, when I really was a kid, I belonged to a religious family. Not just any religion - holiness. We didn't dance, go to movies, watch Disney on Sunday night (we were in church), or use dice. Not play dice, use dice. My dad would take the dice out of the board games we were allowed to play (Monopoly, etc.) and substitute a spinner. Nobody ever gambled with a spinner, I'm guessing.

Not only were we a religious family, we were the example religious family. My dad was the preacher. I once asked why we couldn't go to a family friendly movie downtown, and my dad said that someone might see us go in, and without looking at the marquee, they might assume that we were seeing some R rated movie OR WORSE! All of our public behavior was similarly managed so that we led the way to holiness.

We couldn't be like every one else, because that would make us like the world. And if you are like the world, then you are going straight to hell. And to be like the aunts and uncles on either side was worse. We had to be different. And different wasn't cool when you were a kid.

On top of that we were poor. Holiness preachers didn't usually get rich. So even if we wanted to be like the world and go to hell, we couldn't afford it. I suppose that poor people went to hell, too, but they must have been doing something different to merit that besides keeping up with the Jones' and being like the world.

You might say that all that holiness was good for me, after all it kept me away from drugs and out of jail! Maybe. At least it kept me away from drugs and out of jail until I joined the Marines. Then I made up for lost time.

What it did do was to make me perpetually different. I don't understand how to be like the world, even supposing I wanted to risk hell. I'm so used to being different, that I'm not even like the me I was before. In fact, I never understand me either.

Anyway, back to the flag. I just bought and built up a Surly Long Haul Trucker, and now it has the appropriate reflective tape all over it, and a safety flag on the tail. I believe that it will be safer to ride on the roads that way, and since I want to come home from every ride, I'll keep it safe and nerdy. And maybe I won't get run over and find out if being like the world really will send you to hell.

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