There is no good reason why I don’t wear a bicycle helmet, but here are the bad reasons:
1. I don’t have one (a bike helmet, not a reason);
2. The only time I usually think about wearing one is when I’m on my bike going to some place that doesn’t sell bike helmets;
3. I almost never go to places that sell bike helmets; and
4. When I do go to some place that sells bike helmets, I wait outside until it’s time to go.
Last week, when I was riding down the street, my neighbor yells at me, “Get a bike helmet! You don’t want to get a TBI!” A TBI? “What’s that?” “Traumatic Brain Injury!” Oy gevalt! OK, so now I’m thinking about it, although not much more than I was before.
To put this in perspective, you have to appreciate how I ride my bike: very, very cautiously. I no longer ride with no hands, fly through four-way stops at the bottom of a hill, bounce over curbs, ride in traffic—no, nothing like that. I’m a side streeter, I stay far away from parked cars to avoid getting doored, ride on the sidewalk every chance I get and very gingerly approach driveways. I usually walk my bike while crossing streets and going uphill. Plus, I only fall off my bike about once a year, so no big whoop. But, yes, I do agree that I do need to get a bike helmet.
So two days ago, I’m at my usual Wednesday afternoon anti-war protest with my sign (“I’m Already Against the Next War”), and after it’s over (the protest, not the war), I’m chatting with one of my protest buds, and she asks, “Where are you parked?” “Right there,” I say, proudly pointing at my red, 30-year old French classic racer, a Puch Cavalier. “Where’s your helmet?” she demands. “I don’t have one, but I’m gonna get one,” I say somewhat apologetically.
Before I know what hit me, she clocks me on the head with the heel of her hand just above my right temple. BAM! This was no love tap—the impact was equivalent to what you’d need in order to pop a volley ball five feet up into the air.
I see stars! My eyes feel like they’ve just been used for a Las Vegas crap shoot. Stunned, I query, “What are you doing?!!!” She asks, “Did that feel good?” “No!,” I shout, “And you should say you’re sorry!” She points at the sidewalk and self-righteously seethes, “Well, when THAT hits your head, it’ll feel a lot worse! GET A HELMET!” Although I’m disoriented, this whole thing just seems absurd. My head is still swimming so I can still only think of something lame to say like, “You still need to say you’re sorry!” She smiles sweetly and almost croons, “I’m not going to say I’m sorry because I love you.” With friends like that, who needs enemas?
She left me there while she crossed the street. In my somewhat debilitated mental state, I called her name, she turned around, and because nothing more compelling occured to me, I lamely shouted out two words (hint: not “Merry Christmas”). I don’t remember what her reaction was, but I do remember shouting that particular phrase (hint: not “Merry Christmas”) quite a few times, just in case her hearing was as bad as my momentarily-diminished mental acuity, and of course, for the edification of the motorists who were stopped at the light.
As I rode home on my bike, I wondered if the pain in my head was a little TBI or a big one. I quickly determined that it was a probably a little TBI since I was still riding my bike instead of the asphalt and wondering if there was something good in the fridge. More evidence that it was not a big TBI is that I found myself hoping that we were friends on Facebook so I could unfriend her (hereinafter referred to as “Slugger”).
So, two days later, the good news is:
1. I’m fine and my little TBI has been downgraded to an almost imperceptible sporadic migrating twinge;
2. I have not demanded an apology from anyone nor used that offensive two-word phrase (hint: not “Merry Christmas”); and
3. No one has hit me in the head for two days in a row!
The bad news is:
1. I still don’t have a bike helmet;
2. The only time I usually think about wearing one is still when I’m on my bike going to some place that doesn’t sell bike helmets;
3. I still almost never go to places that sell bike helmets; and
4. When I do go somewhere that sells bike helmets, I still wait outside until it’s time to go.
In conclusion, I concur that not wearing a bike helmet is indeed hazardous to your health, as is evidenced by this story. So, right after I unfriend “Slugger,” I swear I’m gonna buy a bike helmet. All I have to do now is try to remember my Facebook password, but first, I have to find my laptop. Oh, do I have a laptop?
And by the way, should you see my ex-friend “Slugger,” and she asks you if you floss your teeth, just say “yes.” Also, please note that should you hear yourself saying “yeth,” and one or more of your teeth is/are dribbling over your chin, you probably didn’t answer soon enough.
Photo Credit: http://www.camein.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/bold-head-helmet.jpg