- To learn something new, take the same path that you took yesterday.
- John Burroughs
I rode my bike to school like most of the kids did. I rode it through the puddles full of drowned worms and the brown dog shit and lipsticked cigarette butts at the side of the road. When I got to school I parked it with the hundreds of other bikes in a tangled row and locked it up with a chain and a padlock. You had to lock up your bike, I grew up in Sliverville, where nothing was safe, not even a rusty one speed bike.
It was on my bicycle that I became a free man. Once I felt the breeze on my scabbed knees there was no stopping me. Sliverville was mostly dirt roads and paths through the woods then. It was not until I started exploring the world on my bike that I figured out the house and the neighbourhood I grew up in were pretty good. Lots of people still lived in shacks at the edge of the forest. No one lived under leaky tarps and had to shit in the woods like people do today in their thousands because the CEOs pay themselves and their sycophants millions and care not for the poor and the demented. The woods were for teenage glue sniffing and berry picking in those days.
When you are a kid, too young to bicycle around the planet at will, you think it might only be your parents who squabble about small stuff. But once you get around some you hear stuff screamed through the solid walls of Canadian timber houses like, "Why don't you get off the fucking couch for once you fat cunt? All you do is sit around watching Mike motherfucking Douglas and drinking vodka. There's mushrooms growing on the floor of the bathroom you lazy fat piece of shit!"
People squabble a lot. There's reasons for all that squabbling. I used to think people would squabble less if they packed a couple sandwiches, some of their mom's cookies and a tree apple into a pack and went bicycling around listening to what their lazy fat piece of shit neighbours sounded like screaming like hockey coaches whose team is getting fucked over by a blind cocksucker of a goal judge.
There may be more to it than that. People are hungry. They want more but they are not getting it.
At night, if my bike needed it, I would strip it down to thousands of pieces and rebuild it, hoping to go a little faster, a little further the next day. In the winter time I would listen to Canuck radio broadcasts as I wrenched my wicked ride. I liked it when a Canuck beat the fuck out of an opposing player, especially if it was Bobby Orr taking the beating.
As I worked on my bike downstairs I would listen to my dad commenting on the radio broadcast upstairs. "Beat that motherfucking Orr! Beat him to Hell!"