Friday Bag o’ Rage

bag of rageAt last, my face is getting back to normal. The dermatologist removed a small basal cell skin cancer from my forehead Monday. I applied ice as recommended that day and the next, but Wednesday when I woke my right eye was swollen almost shut. Same thing again Thursday morning. Today, though, the swelling is almost gone. The stitches come out Tuesday, and except for a new scar I should be fine.

I never see the bad spots on my face, even though I look it over in the mirror every day when I shave. Well, at least my dermatologist sees them, and he generally catches them before they take root. Catch ’em early, you can freeze them off with liquid nitrogen and all you get is a little blister and scab that’s gone in two weeks. Catch ’em late, though, they’ve started to spread under your skin. Now they have to be cut out, and then you have a scar forever. This’ll be my fifth skin surgery scar in 15 years, and if the rate at which I get skin cancers doesn’t accelerate, I’ll have plenty of face left 15 or 20 years years from now, which is about the time I’ll be giving up the ghost anyway.

Yes, before you ask, I wear a hat outdoors. Depending on the temperature I wear either a full face or half helmet on my motorcycle; if it’s the shorty I tie a bandana around my face. Bicycling is problematic, though. Bike helmets don’t give you any protection, so you need to slather on the sunscreen. I’m bad at sunscreen, though … rubbing that stuff into my skin grosses me out. Maybe because it looks like semen?

This is the time of year we can open the windows and air out the house. It’s wonderful. I rode the motorcycle up Mount Lemon Sunday, where it was 61°F at 8,000 feet. This weekend I’ll probably take a longer ride, maybe down to Bisbee. We’re getting into the best time of the year here in southern Arizona. Christ, am I blogging about the weather? Oh, well, here’s a nice selfie I took up on the mountain:


By now everyone has heard about the motorcycle riders who beat up an SUV driver in New York City. The media is depicting it as an unprovoked attack and almost everyone has written off the bikers as dangerous thugs who should be run off the road. Here’s an email I got from a friend yesterday:


I didn’t want to post this on facebook, but here’s some relevant info about the biker beat down in NYC.

The New York media is coming down on the side of the SUV asshole.  I’m not a biker, I’m a NJ paramedic. From my 37 years on the job, I might be considered a professor of panic. It’s not uncommon for people to panic in the face of unexpected adversity.

I’ve played the start of the video over and over. To me two things are clear; The driver panicked when he was confronted by the angry hoard of bikers when he accidently struck the stopped bike. His wife and child were also in the SUV. I have no clue what was going though his head other then “I gotta get the fuck outta here, these guys are crazy.”

Secondly, the blood-thirsty wolf-pack pursuing the SUV were hell bent on revenge. Who knows if they even knew the extent of the devastating injuries to Edwin Mieses.

I don’t think this event will pass in one news-cycle (pardon the pun). The bikers weren’t on some poker run for charity, they were asshole stunt bikers.

The bikers were part of a group called Hollywood Stuntz, who all hoped to flood Times Square with their motorcycles. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said his department was prepared for the group, yielding 15 arrests, confiscating 55 motorbikes and issuing 68 summonses all unrelated to the Lien assault.”

Well, at least my friend admits the SUV driver was an asshole, too. That’s something. Everyone else watches the video of the SUV driver crushing a biker’s legs and spine with his 5,000 pound vehicle and thinks shit hot, one less biker on the road. For some strange reason I don’t see it that way. Here’s the response I sent to my friend:

Thanks for the additional info. I am following the story, and I agree: the media’s in the can for the SUV driver and. as always, is 100% anti-biker. Of course it doesn’t help that the bikers were asshole stunters (bikers hate those guys too, because they give the rest of us a bad name) or that the one biker brake checked the SUV driver at the start of the video.

Tell you what, though, that SUV driver did something to enrage the bikers before anyone started taping. I know it in my bones, because I’ve been there. And I’ll bet whatever he did was deliberate and egregious. I can’t condone road rage, but at the same time I understand the impulse to run the guy down and beat him up.

FWIW, from a biker’s point of view: cops, NYPD in particular, are pro-motorist and anti-biker/anti-pedestrian/anti-bicyclist. If the incident had stopped where the video starts, with the SUV driver panicking and running over the biker, the police would have done nothing, or even worse, would have let the SUV driver go free while arresting the injured biker instead. And those bikers knew that. Everybody knows that. The only justice the SUV driver was ever going to get had to be home made, as it were.

I’ll probably blog some about the incident, if only to offer a contrasting point of view. I’m well aware that everyone else in the world has already decided the SUV driver was an innocent victim of biker thuggishness and has moved on.

No, I don’t condone road rage. But I understand it.

Another kind of rage:

“I need my paycheck. That’s the bottom line,” Rep. Ellmers told ABC affiliate WTVD. “I understand that there may be some other members who are deferring their paychecks, and I think that’s admirable. I’m not in that position.”

The congresswoman from North Carolina sounds like a normal person. She was a working nurse before she was elected to office. By her own account, her congressional paycheck is what she lives on. If she’s being honest, I sympathize with her. She, unlike many of her colleagues, should understand what it is to depend on a paycheck; to be stretched thin between paydays, to run a tight budget in order to make the monthly mortgage and car payments. How is it, then, that she’s willing to take paychecks away from 800,000 people who were stretched even thinner in the first place?

I’m reading Halberstam’s The Coldest Winter, a history of the Korean War. As background, Halberstam devotes two chapters to describing American politics of the Roosevelt and Truman years, during which Republicans were essentially out of power for more than 15 years. Many of the corrosive pathologies that poison relationships between the two major political parties today originated in that time: the belief that only Republicans can be trusted to wield military power, that traitorous Democrats gave away China because they’re soft on communism, that the New Deal and Social Security are nothing more than gussied-up reparations. When it comes to human relations and politics, never underestimate the power of resentment and spite. That is what motivated Republicans then and that is what is motivating Republicans now.

This post needs a more uplifting end, but I’m just not feeling it this morning. You’ll have to settle for my no-longer-swollen eye and the semi-happy thought that at least one asshole SUV driver got a little bit of street justice. The rest is bad news.

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