Dec 21, 2011

Doin' It for 45 Years?

If you read my last Geezer column in MMM, you know I've been on the tipping point for a hip replacement for a couple of years. I tipped over last week and had the old hip cut out and replaced with what I hope is a high tech prosthetics. So, I'm stuck in the house suffering the great views of a warm Minnesota December while my bikes wither away in the garage. What to do?

So far, that's easy. I have a handful of physical therapy routines to work on, I upped my Netflix DVD allowance so that I can choke on all of the western movies I can't get on-line, and I'm too doped up on morphine and oxycodone-actetaminophen to worry about anything for long. One of the movies that passed a bit of time was "Bustin' Down the Door," a documentary about the origins of pro surfing in the 1970's when the Aussies took the sport away from Hawaiian control and surfing went big-time worldwide.

There are two motorcycling-similar stories in "Bustin' Down." One was the reaction of the old-time, biker gangster types (called the "Black Shorts" and headed by a surfing Hell's Angel stereotype named Eddie Rothman in the film). Rothman and his gangbanger buddies view the beach and surfing as their territory and fought back against the Aussie invasion with the only tools they had; violence and intimidation. "If you can't beat 'em, beat 'em up" has been the gangbanger chant for centuries and, as usual, laws and the cops proved to be as useless in Hawaii as they are everywhere else. The gangbangers kept the Aussies out of championship events until 1975. The Aussies couldn't even get into major events in 1974. In 1975, they won every event they entered and major press attention (and big event purses) followed. Even in their own words, the Black Shorts characters were about preventing change, true conservatives. They wanted to maintain control of the dinky surfing pond they'd managed to create and the Aussies wanted to put surfing into the ocean. Literally, the Hawaiians were afraid to attempt the maneuvers the Aussies were introducing, so their solution was to chase the Aussies out of the sport.

In the end, the Black Shorts sort of won. Hawaii is no longer the hub of surfing. The Harley gangsters managed to pull of the same kind of coup in the US. By creating "Harley-only" race venues and through rules and intimidation, the 1960's US motorcycling gangsters drove anyone who wasn't a gangbanger to the other side. Today, the US makes marginally functional hippobikes and practically every country in the industrialized world makes real motorcycles. The conservatives won and the nation lost.

The other similarity between motorcycling and surfing was pointed out by South African, Michael Tomson, "Very few people can look through their life, and say they've been doing something for 45 years. What have you been doing for 45 years? I will surf till I die."

Before this surgery, my wife tried to reconcile me to the possibility that I'm going to have to quit riding a motorcycle some time. "You can't ride forever." I can't live forever, either, but I can keep riding for a lot more years and you may as well assume that I will ride till I die.


Erik R said...

I'm sure you can extend you riding years for quite a while. There's always the "landing gear", you know, the little wheels that come down as you slow down to help you support the bike. Or, the big wheels that you bolt to the back, so you actually have 3 wheels in back, 1 drive and 2 full time support wheels. Then there's the bikers last step, a true trike!!!


T.W. Day said...

The territory between a motorcycle and a trike is too far for me to travel. I'll just move to a VW convertible or something similar.

Anonymous said...

Get well soon--maybe it means we'll get more of your good writing this winter!

Anonymous said...

My mother has had both hips and one knee done, returning her from a virtually house bound cripple into the extrovert she always was.

Ther is an older guy inour bike club who has had both hips done too. He still does long distance continental tours.

All is not lost. Get well soon. You'll wonder why you struggled on so long without the op.

T.W. Day said...

Thanks for the kind comments. I hope you're right. Four weeks into recovery, it's hard to imagine. I'm **mall hiking** for Christ sake! The streets are too slick for my capabilities and that sticks me in a mall for some distance walking. I'd almost rather do a treadmill, but that's a little too degenerate for the moment.

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Northern Ireland. If you get too bored, try searching the BBC site for raod racing clips. There should be plenty. Try this one for starters:-

Get well soon.

best wishes,

Ian Caswell