Saturday, January 12, 2013
Shake Hands With Beef!
May 24, 2006
This past week I was barreling down a hill on my bicycle riding home from work, and had to suddenly squeeze the brakes for some yuppie asshole that rolled his BMW right into the middle of the crosswalk. It was a close call, and I managed not to fully t-bone that dent resistant feat of Bavarian engineering, but I did bump him while skidding down the ramp to the crosswalk that led directly into his driver side door.
This startled him, and oblivious to his lawbreaking maneuver, he launched into a hand waving, pantomiming frenzy peppered with some "what the fuck?"..and I shouted back something to the effect of "keep your wealth out of our crosswalk you yuppie doucheclod!" I also fingered the latch on my u-lock in case Biff decided his triple frap had given him the energy to jump out and be a hero, but I was able to roll on without any escalation or further BS. As I pedaled on, cooling down and reflecting on the brake testing experience, it reminded me of another encounter I once had…
A few years ago when we lived in Atlanta , the family trekked up to the Smoky Mountains where we had rented a cabin one Spring weekend. While there, we were taking in a scenic drive to Helen. On an impulse we decided to exit off the main highway and drive up to the peak of Brasstown Bald, one of the highest mountains in Georgia.
As we turned left off of the highway, I noticed a big white Cadillac pulled over by the exit lane from the park. The hood was down, yet the car was smoking unbelievably from underneath the front. I then noticed a somewhat elderly, portly black lady waddling back in the direction of the main entrance. The Boy Scout in me immediately wheeled around to see if I could be of any assistance.
As I pulled over and rolled close to the car, the strong, acrid smell of burning chemicals hit my nose, and I deduced it was definitely some sort of brake issue. As I was walking up to the car, a younger yet heftier lady emerged from the car.
"Are you OK??" I asked.
"We's OK, our brakes is jes' hot" she replied.
These brakes were more than just hot, something was not
"Do you think your emergency brake might be on??" I asked.
She looked back into the car floorboard and checked.
"No, it aint on" she said, gesturing towards the pedal.
As I approached the car to verify this, I noticed a large brother riding shotgun, and yet another sizable gal was nearly wall-to-wall in the back seat alone.
"Are you going to be OK, or do you me to get a park ranger to come down??" I asked. We were definitely out of cell phone range to call up any form of roadside assistance.
"No we 'aight, we's jes' gonna wait a li'l while 'til they cool off" she said, and then thanked me for my concern. It seemed as if she already knew what the issue was, and time was the remedy.
So I jumped back in the LF-mobile, and we entered the park. The road was lined with tall trees that led into a sharp left turn. As we rounded the curve, the road suddenly shot up to what seemed like a 45 degree angle to climb the hill. I had to shift down to second to negotiate
the steep winding road, and it was roughly 4 miles to the summit from there.
It was at that time that I thought back to the plight of my chunky friends in the smoking Caddy at the bottom of the mountain, and I started considering the laws of physics that were at play while they made their descent. After some postulating, I came up with the following conclusion:
If you were to load a car with 30 cubic feet of soul food and give it a 25mph freefall start down a steep decline, the car would need brake pads the approximate size of a 20 pound ham hock to have any chance of harnessing the runaway cargo.
Sweet Lord!!! If she didn't shift her car into low gear, that poor Caddy's brakes must have gotten absolutely white hot and boiled the brake fluid from the constant pressure and friction needed to keep
the car from barreling through a protective rail and exploding in a fiery ball on some canyon floor, showering the park with a hailstorm of random car parts, charbroiled fatty tissue, and smoldering Mrs. Winners boxes.
As we then started our journey down from the lookout point, there were numerous warning signs of the 'SHIFT INTO LOW GEAR' variety. I had issues keeping our Volvo in check as we descended the summit, whining between gears. I really have to give it up to the engineers at Cadillac for going above and beyond industry standards with respect to the suspension and braking systems that they implemented on their late 90's models. Truly exceptional workmanship that we as Americans can...nay...SHOULD be proud of.
Back to my bicycle commute, I roll past this place every day leaving from work en route to the DART station. What the fuck is up with that?!? Isn't it already implied that the condoms would be "to go?!?" Maybe during a previous time, a guy bought a pack, and then threw his slab up on the counter, rolled one on, and asked the cashier what time her break was. Or perhaps the shop once had 3-way mirrors where you could scope your junk all nicely wrapped and snug in latex…"oh dear, this fuchsia colored number with raised spirals makes me look fat… I'LL TAKE A CASE!!" I dunno, it remains a mystery why the proprietors elected to hang their rubber store with such an obvious moniker.
Oh well…see ya in the funny papers.
Anton van Leeuwenhoek