Tuesday, December 11, 2007
This morning when my alarm went off, the song "Send Me an Angel" by Real Life was playing. Those who are cool enough will recall that this song was featured in the 1986 film Rad, a cult classic about an underdog BMX racer/newspaper delivery boy. To anyone who did not see the movie at least a hundred times with impressionable, seven-year-old eyes, it’s a steaming pile of cinematic shit. To me, however, the film represents the only time in my life when I have been absolutely, 100% sure what I wanted. Unfortunately, this sole period of mental stability came between the ages of 7 and 9. Whatever. For a few glorious years, I had one driving purpose in life: to be as rad on a bicycle as Cru Jones, vanquishing all-comers on the infamous Helltrack. At one point I even wrote my own "I have a dream" manifesto, except instead of a vision of equality for all people of the world regardless of race or creed, my version saw me doing bar spins and back flips. I think I still have that somewhere.
As young as I was, my singular passion never got beyond building ridiculously flimsy ramps with my friends that would sometimes collapse, Napolean Dynamite-style, upon launch. This period also saw me receive my personal Red Ryder BB gun holy grail Christmas present: a magenta GT Performer bike, just like the one Eddie Fiola had in the magazine advertisement. Even though I had picked it out, color and everything, I still somehow managed to build up enough doubt to be surprised and excited when I slowly came down the stairs Christmas morning and, afraid that my parents had changed their minds, finally spied the side of the handlebar from between the spindles of the bannister. It will forever be the best Christmas present I’ve ever received, if only because of the months of anticipation leading up to it. It was probably for my birthday a few weeks later that my parents wisely got me that Bell full-face helmet. Nobody actually wore helmets in those days, and I was no exception. Rarely did I wear mine when trying to jump off a wall or one of our lumber-scrap ramps. Mostly I just put it on in the house with my Haro BMX gloves and walked around looking at myself in the mirror.
I never did become the professional bike-rider my eight-year-old brain had decided upon, but I did end up going through a pretty serious mountain bike kick during college. Actually, I’m not anything like eight-year-old me had in mind. Oh wait, except for the part where I kick ass… No, that didn’t happen either. Sigh.