Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gravity Is Just A Theory

Here's a story I wrote shortly after I got back from a very relaxing vacation in Maine. It was actually the day after my wedding anniversary so I was relaxed, content, and ecstatic that I had managed to trick Mrs. Attack Resistance into staying around as long as she has. For those that believe this story is some sort of contrived play on actual events in order to create a humorous situation out of my banal life (you mean you didn't believe my chicken truck story?!) I have provided photographic evidence at the end. You're welcome.

Last night was an interesting one. A pipe burst in our basement for unknown reasons (although I suspect the green goo caused by corrosion was the only thing holding the super old plumbing together) and I got to deal with some of that. By the time I got home my Father-In-Law already had the pipe mostly replaced and all I had to screw with was the general feeling of uselessness anytime something happens that is well beyond my abilities (read: anything not related to electronics). Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. Afterwards, feeling lucky that I didn’t have to try my hand at plumbing, I decided that I’d get the 20” bike out as I had ridden it in a long time and I needed to work off some of the excess vacation poundage and there was still some light and time before dinner was ready. 

It started out great. I felt good, had great control & speed, and even handled a couple of jumps that I thought might challenge me. Of course, as I gained confidence I also grew cocky. Such is my curse. I approached a taller than average curb near Madison’s new(ish) Bicentennial Park with a little too much speed and didn’t get my back tire quite as high as I needed. As you’ll remember from your high school physics class, when the back tire (and thus, the bike) stopped dead in its tracks, all of the energy from the bike was transferred to me and was added to my already substantial forward momentum causing me to keep moving without the bike underneath me. At first glance, this seems really cool but you’ll probably also remember from that same physics class that since no new energy was being produced to continue my forward momentum I very rapidly stopped moving forward and started moving back towards the ground. Thanks Newton.

Now, I’m something of a daredevil. If there are two ways of doing something and one of them is more dangerous and more fun, I’m always going with that choice (except at [REDACTED]. Safety is our highest value. In every decision, every action, every day). As such I have seen more than my fair share of similar accidents and my body instinctively turned my head and got my shoulder ready to absorb the brunt of the impact. Time did that neat thing that it does when your adrenaline kicks into high gear and I was completely aware of everything that occurred as if it were happening in some Discovery Channel slow-motion shot of a cheetah taking down a zebra.

There was the elation at first, when my mind believed for a moment that my dream of flying had finally come true. The ground got further away. An obscenity was hurled as logic and reason came crashing in to enlighten me about the chances of unassisted human flight happening. The ground seemed to be the same distance from me as when I had started. My head turned of its own accord and I got ready to tuck and roll. With my new perspective I was now aware of two things:

1. The ground was much, much closer than it had been just a second ago and

2. There was a very attractive girl watching me. Thanks Universe.

The inevitable happened and my body hit the grass. Hard. Fortunately I was in position to deal with it and as my shoulder hit the ground I went into a neat little ball and rolled, action movie style. However, unlike the action movie stars of my youth I was neither in a controlled environment nor was I watching this happen to a stunt man. Instead of just rolling over and standing up my speed sent me into a double barrel roll, and when my foot finally found purchase my body was flung upwards. Time slowed down again. The ground got further away.

There was the elation at first, when my mind believed for a moment that my dream of flying had finally come true. An obscenity was hurled as logic and reason came crashing in again to enlighten me about the chances of unassisted human flight happening.

“Don’t you remember what we just said,” Reason asked.

“It was, literally, 1.5 seconds ago. You. Can’t. Fly. You never will,” said Logic.

I thought they were being a little rude, considering my predicament. With my new, new perspective I was now aware of two things:

1. I was moving very swiftly without my feet on the ground and I was going backwards

2. There was still a very attractive girl watching me and, amazingly, three of her friends had come to join her. Thanks Universe.

One thing I was unaware of was how close I was to the welded wire fence the city had put up around Bicentennial Park to keep people off the grass while they watered and otherwise prepared the ground for the upcoming Barbecue and Blues Festival that Madison holds annually. Buddy Guy is playing this year, it’s going to be awesome. [EDITOR'S NOTE: It was.] I had just enough time to ask myself, “I wonder if they’ll hold a memorial for me?” before all of the previously mentioned forward momentum was transferred to a six foot tall metal fence. It didn’t move. Time sped back up and I hit the ground, finally stopping.

“That was awesome!” Confusion. I was unsure who was speaking, or what they were speaking about. Certainly what had just occurred to me was not awesome. Maybe Buddy Guy had shown up early for the festival and had played someone a song. I opened my eyes and saw a thirteen year old boy that I had previously been unaware of (perhaps being too immediately concerned with my inability to stop moving but more probably I was just more concerned with the presence of the very attractive girl) , also with a 20” bike staring down at me. “I am so glad I got all of that on my phone! I can’t wait to post it on YouTube!” He sped off. I grumbled something about wishing bad things on him. When I finally regained my feet and began to plod over to my bike I heard a round of applause. Looking up I saw the very attractive girl, along with her three friends, clapping. One of them proclaimed, “Wow! The new free Wi-Fi here at the park sure is fast! That video is already uploaded to Facebook!” Dejected, I picked up my bike and pedaled off.

When I got home sweaty, dirty, and thoroughly humiliated my wife greeted me with a smile, a kiss, and a plate. Dinner was served. Life was beginning to look good again. There was no way that kid’s camera phone got a good look at my face and, let’s be honest, one of the reasons I got married in the first place is so I don’t have to care what very attractive girls and their three friends care about (excepting Mrs. Attack Resistance, but she‘s legally bound to put up with me so that eases the sting). I poured myself some ice water and sat down to eat my meal. “OH MY GOD WHAT DID YOU DO TO YOUR KNEE?!” My wife’s normally pleasant voice had become something akin to the Banshees of old Irish lore. I looked down and saw what appeared to be a medium sized egg protruding from what used to be my left knee. I was then treated to a nice long ‘talk’ from my wife reminding me that I am no longer 20 years old and that I am, in fact, older than dirt.


Thanks Universe.

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