Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Enemy

Last month, Bike Snob NYC wrote something that's been bouncing around in my head for a month now, leaving small bruises and making funny noises ... I'd like to see CSI do one of those neat-but-really-gross animations of this thing, actually, as it tears up my gray matter to its current near-pudding consistency.

But, as usual, I digress. Here's what Snobby had to say:
Cycling's enemy is not the car; it is the idiot. And idiots travel by foot, car, and bicycle. If anything, the bicycle has more in common with the car than it does with the pedestrian, since the bicycle is a vehicle too. Really, the problem is that too many people don't consider bicycles vehicles (which is why they tell us to "Get on the sidewalk!"), coupled with the fact that too many cyclists don't ride like they're operating vehicles in the first place.
Now, as anyone will tell you, an idea is a dangerous thing. In the wrong hands, it can destroy the universe, or at least start a ridiculous rant on Fox News, spreading rampantly amongst an easily panicked population, much like the fair and balanced raping sailors of the Nina (or was it the Pinta or the Santa Maria?) brought the joys of syphilis into the New World.

But ideas are not the enemy, either, just as cars aren't ... and neither is the idiot. Jackson Brown wanted to be "a happy idiot," and although he went on to give The Eagles their big break, he also dated Darryl Hannah when she was still hot -- back in her "Splash" and "Blade Runner" period, although there was something maniacally sexy about her in the nurse outfit with the eye patch in "Kill Bill, Vol. 1."

Hit me with your best shot, Elle Driver

Anyway, my point (if indeed I have one) is that the idiot is not the enemy of the cyclist, either, because idiots can be benign. Cancer can be benign, too, of course, and Fat Cyclist will tell you that cancer is the enemy. And since it killed his wife, I think he's right. But just as your doctor will tell you not to worry about a benign cancer, I don't think we need to battle benign idiots.

No, I think the real enemy of the cyclist is not the idiot. It's the schmuck.

Now, schmuck is literally Yiddish for "penis," and while many of the enemies of the cyclist do have such a thing, not all enemies of the cyclist are males. Of course, I've been cut-off on rides by one or two women drivers who looked like they would have had trouble passing an out-of-competition chromosome test, but I've also been close-brushed by blondes in Suburbans toting cars full of their offspring, so if they had a schmuck in that velour jumpsuit they also had a schmoonie.

No, I'm using schmuck in the broader sense: Anyone so wrapped up in their own agenda that they cannot empathize with other humans. It's all about what they need, so if they need the road then they will take all of it. They won't move over to the centerline just three feet or slow down as they pass. And if they can get a little bit of fun out of blasting their horn at you as they go by, or bouncing a beer bottle off a biker's back, or just outright running the cyclist off the road ... well, that's okay. At least they got a laugh out of it.

The enemy of the cyclist is the kind of person that didn't learn how to torture kittens as a teenager, or else he/she would now be a serial killer. An idiot may not understand why, but does at least know that it's wrong to torture kittens, or run cyclists off the road, or spread venereal disease amongst peaceful indigenous natives, or make people watch your so-called news broadcast out of mindless fear.

Turn over to the Weather Channel or the kitten dies.

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