Jun 27, 2011

Looking Retarded/Idiotic/Stupid or Just Being Me

My Geezer with a Grudge Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly column is always as much a surprise to me as it is to the magazine's readers. Part of the motivation for this blog came from the fact that I write a lot more than the magazine can publish. In the past, I have had more than two-dozen columns available for the editor to pick from and some of those articles just become useless after a few months. So, a blog was born to dump my rapidly decomposing thoughts and experiences. 

Victor Wanchena, the magazine's owner and past editor, gave me (what seemed like) a good reason for stockpiling essays because he picked his way through all the craziness on my article pick-up page and found bits and pieces that he connected to the rest of the magazine. In retrospect, that might have been one of the meanest things I've ever done to someone I like. I hate to think that onerous task is why Victor decided he wanted to back away from the editor's desk.

The current Managing Editor, Bruce Mike, and the long-term editor, Sev Pearman, took a different approach for the first few months they ran the magazine without Victor's direction. Sev asked me to put my first choice for the monthly article to publish on top of the sort. So, I did that and had been doing that for a while. As best I remember, my March 2010 article was the first Geezer column that I selected for the magazine since my very first rant submitted in October 1999.

That policy changed this month and, for the first time in my MMM career, I was politically correctly edited. Bruce decided to change the title of my essay from "Defining 'Retarded'" to "Defining 'Idiotic'." Aw, man, I feel so Faux News'd. I mean, the only good thing about getting old is knowing that the punishment for political incorrectness is going to be short-lived, since I'm also going to be around for a limited amount of time. My personal goal in late-life is to be one of those cranky old men in a wheelchair rolling around the home pinching cute nurses on the ass and acting stupid when they complain about my behavior. Sarah Palin's 2010 pretend-offense to Rahm Emanuel's use of the word "retard" sounded like cynical posing from a broad who advocates "targeting" her opponents, especially when she wasn't particularly bothered by Rush Limbaugh's use of the same word. However, I take all of my political correctness cues from South Park. About 30 years ago, if Bart Simpson said it on Fox I figured it was good enough for me. About a decade ago, I moved my baseline to South Park, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Cobert. Since Cobert combined all of the PC offenses when he called Palin a "f--king retard," I didn't worry about calling myself "retarded" in my own column.

However, I wasn't all that satisfied with the whole story, so I shoved it down to 7th place in the column list. Since only the top option had been used for the last year of magazines, I figured I had some time to polish the article. So, I was surprised to learn that not only that article had been picked for the July issue but that it would be PC'd. If I'd have been asked before publication, I probably wouldn't have objected to the edit. I would have asked for a few moments to go over it again. Bruce let me know, in advance, that the changes had been made but the magazine had already gone to press when he sent me an email about the edits.My pick for July was an article about plowing up the nation's asphalt and turning the place into a haven for dirt bikers.

All this means is that I'm going to have to get some payback . . . somewhere. And here is that somewhere. So, for the record, buying a motorcycle from a kid is a chronic problem. Idiotic, stupid, and foolish are acute problems. Being repeatedly dumb is retarded. Buying one motorcycle from a kid is idiotic. Buying my last four motorcycles from kids is retarded (even if I managed to luck out on two of those four bikes).


Anonymous said...

"Retarded" is a poor choice of words.

T.W. Day said...

Maybe so, but it still feels right for the situation.

Paul said...

Could've used "insane". After all, the definition is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. In your case, buying from a "kid".
It's almost impossible finding used bikes now that haven't been molested (chopped fenders, useless led signals etc) so it's an affliction we all have to deal with.

T.W. Day said...

I was looking for a word that described deviation in my normal behavior. "Insane," while fitting the situation for most people, simply describes my normal status.

The source for used bikes with low miles are almost always "kids," though. Their short attention span and arrogance makes them the perfect sales victim. Their math incapacity convinces them that they are getting a good deal when they buy a brand new bike on credit. As soon as the next shiny thing (often a high maintenance girl friend) attracts their attention, the bike has to go.

Old guys keep their bikes until the metal fatigues. Who wants to buy a well-maintained, high mileage geezer bike when nearly new stuff is available? Never mind that the nearly new stuff is nearly wreaked by abuse. I knew when I started my search that I'd be buying my WR from a kid because that's the kind of bike it is.

Paul Compton said...

It's madness gone politically correct.