Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Spearing Mastodons and Self-Inflicted Cutting
Well I made it home, safe and sound and I asked myself, why in the hell would I voluntarily do something like that? These rides, whether it’s around the block or around the world always have their moments of horror ranging from, “Oh shit, I forgot my sunglasses,” to being taken hostage by cruel Columbian rebels, like Glen Haggstad, author of the book, Two Wheels Through Terror.
Do bikers, (along with rock-climbers, base-jumpers and those dudes who get the shit stomped out of them by bulls in Pamplona) punish ourselves, in perverse self-hatred, for some deep, unexpressed guilt? Or, is taking risk a manifestation of something built into our psyche?
The answer may be both and lies at the very root of our existence. Mankind was originally designed to live, half-naked, in unheated mud huts, engaging in bloody, territorial battles with murderous, neighboring tribes and securing dinner by killing large, pissed-off, prehistoric beasts using sticks and sharp stones.
Modern Western Culture has turned us from nomadic, savage, hunter-gatherers into a bunch of pasty, timid, well-groomed sheep. Seat belts, air bags and warning labels all mandated in the name of “Safety.” Hell, we even have Nanny-State assholes trying to tell us how big a soft drink we’re allowed to have! We’ve been programmed to avoid danger while, deep down, in the primal cavities of our selves, in the very depths of our Neanderthalic depravity, we crave it! We lust for the taste of mastodon blood!
I’m no badass, and I’ve never killed a mastodon with a stick, and in the years I’ve been riding I’ve had some scary shit happen, including going down hard on asphalt and even going over the trunk of a Buick that ran a stop sign, and I realize there are guys in hospital beds and wheel chairs who went through far worse shit, but those moments of blind terror while crossing the Ohio River, in heavy traffic and icy rain scared the f@#k out of me worse than anything else ever had.
That said, the worst part of the trip was getting sick and having to come home early. But, now that it’s all over, I have no regrets and I’d do it all again ‘cause I’m a dumb ass and I love this shit.
There is a macabre practice among emotionally troubled teenage girls called “cutting” where they periodically use razors to slice their skin. They often report that, though painful, they feel a sense of euphoria after it’s all over. I guess I can kinda’ relate.