Friday, April 17, 2009

Friends, Romans, Countrymen ...

Lend this guy your ear (or at least one ear):
Police in New Castle, Indiana say a man was riding his bike Wednesday in a residential area when he yelled at a driver, who he claims was speeding.

When the two came to a stop, police say the driver got out of his car, knocked the man off his bike and started biting his ear off.

The cyclist was taken to the hospital for a torn ear  and the driver is charged with battery.
Now, I've had various bad experiences with semi-feral Kentucky dogs, but I had no idea that Indiana humans were even worse. Like most people, I had always assumed that you had to get into a boxing ring with Mike Tyson to get chewed on in this way.

The first thing I thought about when I read this was that the driver apparently wasn't even pissed with the cyclist for slowing him down. I get buzzed and yelled at all the time by motorists because my use of their roadway is costing them a couple of seconds of their obviously-much-more-important-than-mine lives. But, then, I suppose that if a fellow is in hurry and has a 2,000-pound-plus mechanized weapon literally in his hands, he is probably not going to waste time parking, getting out of his car, and then chewing on the lowly cyclist (who would probably taste like sweat, anyhow).

The next thing I thought about was this: What did the cyclist yell? Was it a calm, "Please slow down, sir ... there are children about" kind of admonition? Was it the more standard "A$$hole!" sobriquet? I tend to employ the latter, often accompanied by the classic raised middle digit. Sometimes I wave my arms in a voodoo hex, crashing into a mailbox about halfway through, much to the glee of the motorist.

My point, however, is that there are certain things you can yell that, in many neighborhoods, will cost you body parts. In baseball, there is the "magic word" that you can call an umpire, which will historically win you a trip to the locker room. Similarly, I used to ride thru parts of Tampa where a simple "tu madre" can mean death for you and your immediate family.

But it wasn't until I really started thinking about this that I came up with a more searing question:

Where was the cyclist's helmet?

For Lance -- like most of us -- the helmet does not quite cover the ears, but it certainly gets close enough that it should make it harder for some nut to sink his teeth into your cartiledge. I will admit, however, that there is nothing large enough to cover the ears of some cyclists.

(Sorry about picking on you, Tyler. I know you just retired and all that, but your ears are a little ... well, oversized for your head. And a guy that "retires" after testing positive for a banned substance for the second time, so that he would not be eligible to ride professionally until he was 45 ... well, you kind of lose the sympathy vote with that.)

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah -- ear protection.

My point is, unless you're Tyler Hamilton, with elephantine ears from years of steroid abuse (it is also rumored than Ivan Basso can eat peanuts with his nose), a helmet should sufficiently protect your ears from being chewed off by a rabid Indianan ... Indianian ... person from Indiana.

The down side is that, without the steroids, you'll be slow enough to be caught by Kentucky dogs.

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