Dan is off to Texas in a month. I want to warn him of the dangers of people texting and phone stroking at the same time while riding a bike.
Last month’s shootout was bad news. I saw photos coming over the wire. Bikers were rounded up and made to sit down along the curbs of the mall parking lot. One photo showed an arrested man with a trimmed beard looking at his smartphone. A hipster Harley dude packing iPhone heat, who might inspire fear sparks in any small town or city if he didn’t look so darn silly with that phone. And you just know he has a bells and whistles Harley payment on top of his Verizon contract. Probably pays his mortgage and utilities on time and frets over extra money for fuel and food.
Groupthink feeds on the stuff of Harleys and holocausts. Once, maybe a century and a half ago, America was a land of individuals. If an economy had room, a man could live a whole life without the adult urge to sew Chinese printed decals onto a jean jacket made in Paraguay. Even further back, a Boston Massacre was a good story for an upcoming national revolution. Five people were killed for throwing snowballs. Today, 200 narcissists with trimmed beards cannot refrain from acting out their “me, me, me!” fantasies in a rumble at the mall without killing each other. We are a nation far, far removed from our own recent past. These poor chumpy fellows have been raised without any idea to what an individual is. Now they are arrested for life because each one made a snap judgement to follow the lead of the degenerate standing beside him. An excellent case study for sociologists. There could be room for empathy from locals in the town and county who see and, most unfortunately, hear them ride about in their silly-willy gang uniforms, but they’re an ignorant, dangerous band of rowdies, and a barrier for my friend the individual, the man, Dan, who meets his life and does not call it names. I don’t like groups. They make biker gangs and Pentagons. Even those that swear they live by the good, say a church group, raising money to “save” a village in Guatemala. Good or bad, too much time is spent pining for initiation into the group, rather than applying my grandmother’s long time common sense proverb, “charity begins at home,” in every day encounters with adversity. Suddenly, after years of raising Billy to be a good Christian, he’s out shooting sticks or stones at any one who calls him names. Or any one whom his boss said called him a name. Or any one who has not been “named” in the group.
Just be super careful in Texas Dan. I hear everything there is big. Especially their big fiefdoms of silly-dangerous.