Shards of Notes of a Nervous Man
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 95 15:34:49 PDT
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Shards of Notes of a Nervous Man
Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Excerpted from James Lileks' "Notes of a Nervous Man"
Motorcycles are a leading cause of head injuries, you know. When I told my
parents I was getting one, I heard a sharp CRACK on the other end of the
line - the sound of my mother fainting, and hitting her head on the table.
Helmets, I believe, should be mandatory for all parent whose children tell
them they are buying a motorcycle.
It's not like I'm buying a real motorcycle. What I want is a scooter, a
moped. Something with the horsepower of a blender. My reasons are solid,
logical: scooters get around 73,000 miles per gallon; if you ever run out
of gas, you just spit in the tank and it'll go another hundred miles.
They're cheap to park; some models double as keychains and fit right in
But people just don't see scooters, my friends tell me. At first, I found
this hard to believe. Most scooters are painted either
radioactive-bubblegum-pink or severed-artery-red. Short of maneuvering
alongside an open car window and putting your thumb into a driver's eye,
scooter colors ensure you'll be noticed. Or so I thought. ... Evidently
(scooters) represent the vanguard of Stealth technology. All the more
reason to buy one. If times get tough, I can start holding up convenience
stores and escaping Zorro-like on my invisible scooter.
The only bad part about scooters is buying them. You have to go to a place
that sells Real Motorcycles and admit you want something that goes
"There's the Barbie," (the salesman said,) pointing to a pink scooter.
"Top speed of .05 mph. Runs on watch batteries." I said I wanted
something more powerful, and he pointed to a scooter with "MY FIRST HOG"
painted on the gas tank. "Pull this cord here, and it makes real
motorcycle noises. You can pretend to give it oil with this bottle and
nipple here, and half an hour later it wets oil on the garage floor. Very
"Something bigger, please."
"How about the EMLC 30? Perfect for a guy like you. Sporty, sexy,
WITH-IT. Not powerful enough to get you in trouble, but peppy enough to
give an illusion of recaptured youth." I said I'd take it.
After I'd signed the papers, I asked him just what EMLC stood for, anyway.
"Early mid-life crisis," he said. Every spring we sell a million of 'em."
© 1995 Peter Langston