Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My bicycle helmet

Here’s the deal; I’m not real big on taking things on faith. Given the choice between believing something just because, or believing something because I can poke it with a sharp stick and sell it to the highest bidder I’ll go with the sharp stick nine times out of ten. It’s just the way I’m wired.

Now take bicycle helmets. Scabby little lids designed by experts to make you look like a dork when you wear one. They have a set of straps that almost but don’t quite work like it shows on the box, and adjustable fitting pads on the inside that take an uncomfortable unit and make it just that little bit more ill-fitting. This is your average bicycle helmet. There’s one more thing; they work.

Recently I was cruising down a local street and I went to hop the curb so I could hit the walk button at a crosswalk. Illegal as heck but there you go. My front tire skimmed the edge of the curb and, not to be left out, my rear tire followed suit and the next thing I know I’m thinking, “this is really going to hurt,” as I hurtled towards the sidewalk.

I’d like to say I tucked and rolled, landing on my feet with my hands on my hips and a Superman-like look of determination glued to my face but alas, I was too busy slapping into the concrete head-first to think of it. Actually I’m not sure it was ‘head-first’, but the head was definitely in the top ten. My shoulder has some road-rash on it to go with the bruise that has blossomed there so there was definitely some intimate contact there. Also, my knee hurts so I suppose something unexpected happened there as well. Both of my hands are kind of red and scraped up and that has to mean something. The only thing I know for a ball-bearing fact is that the old noggin cracked into the ground some kind of harsh. The good thing is that quickly after the initial thud (with the accompanying thought of, “Leapin’ lizards, I ought to be as dead as a doornail!”) what little pain there was disappeared.

Manfully I leapt to my feet and took stalk of the situation, or as the BS-impaired would say, “Painfully, I struggled to my feet and tried to figure out what the heck had just happened.” (And by the way, a huge Arabic-style shout-out to the guy in the pick-up who stopped and asked if I was okay. I tried to make a joke about what had just happened but after having my bell freshly rung I don’t think it came across so well.) The rubber marks on the curb pretty much told the whole story, and then it struck me. That helmet that I had bought all those years ago had just turned out to be the best twenty dollar investment I’ve ever made.

So, if you ride a bike, get a helmet. Maybe you’ll never need it but if you do… Personally I’d rather look like a live dork with a helmet than a dead one without.

Anyway… Humouroceros

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