First Aid for the ToolboxPosted: January 9, 2012
Picture it: Lebanon. (Tennessee). The year is 2011. It was a stormy spring night in the midst of the month of April. The wind was howling, carrying the tattered remnants of vicious rain on its cold breath. I was chilled to the bone and seriously doubted my sanity for subjecting myself to this misery.
The three of us got out of the car and entered the liquor store. I was but twelve hours away from gridding up for my very first motorcycle road race at the Nashville Superspeedway. I needed tonic for the nerves; medicine for an ailing stomach and a sedative for the overactive brain.
What’s your poison?
After much deliberation, I finally selected a promising looking concoction identified simply as “Tattoo”.
Is that a pirate pictured on the label? Hmmm… Yes. That’s the one.
I grabbed the airline-sized plastic bottle off the glass shelf by the register and placed it alongside the various other remedies already there. It is apparent that my travel companions (pit crew) are less discerning in their tastes. Or maybe I’m just the only alcoholic who has yet to improve past provisional novice status. We pay the proprietor and head back to our hotel.
I didn’t drink that night.
The little bottle of Tattoo ended up in my toolbox and didn’t see the light of day again until almost six months later.
Picture it: The base of Fontana Dam. Somewhere in North Carolina, nary a few miles from the Deals Gap. Again, I am chilled. Again, I am doubting the integrity of my faculties. I rode my steel horse (more like a bunch of alloys and a decent amount of ABS plastics) a few hundred miles north of the homestead, for it was rumored that there be a gathering of ladies on fast horses looking to slay a monstrous dragon who has made many a weary rider its prey. I vowed to myself to be part of this dragon slaying posse (Women’s Sportbike Rally VI).
Finding myself in unfamiliar territory and all alone since I arrived late as usual, I use the remaining daylight of a fast approaching night to set up camp. A little later, the night is still young, I ponder my dire circumstance as I lay beaten and tired on a picnic table looking at the stars: The first time I ever went riding without companionship and didn’t return home the very same day. The first time I ever went camping by myself. The first time ever to get sporty on some seriously curvy roads in a group of more than two. The first time ever to slay the fabled Dragon.
I feel panic rising in my throat. I bolt upright from my somewhat uncomfortable position, as I remember my just-in-case provisions. As fortune would have it, I had the foresight to snatch the little bottle of Tattoo out of my toolbox before embarking on my northward journey.
Tomorrow may be a good day to die, and today I will drink to it.
In remembrance of all my motorcycling adventures (and the accompanying fears and shyness I have quelled) and in celebration of life lived in the moment, speed, lean angle, and friendship, I procured myself a little something that indeed will come in handy given the proper place and time.
I don’t like to “Live and Learn.” The Way I Roll is “Crash and Burn.” My sentiment exactly. This is pretty much the mantra of my existence. But what results could I possibly expect when my approach to most everything in life usually ends with: “Only one way to find out for sure…” After all, theoretical physics can only get a girl so far…
Funny thing is, I never had a wrenching emergency quite big enough to require the use of the single-dose ethanol treatment I keep stashed in my toolbox. Mostly I just whine, curse, and make bad jokes. Sometimes I even growl when nobody is around to hear me scream. 😉 However, just knowing it’s there has kept the occurrence of low flying tools to an absolute minimum. If you ever have the chance, ask Mr. Slow about alternative uses for flywheel gears.