yes, earl, a yamaha 750 magna is faster off the
    line than a ferrari.  now LET ME OFF!

  My best friend in high school, Earl, absolutely insisted that his brother’s Yamaha 750 Magna was faster off the line than any production car.  I was highly skeptical and made no bones about it.  

Now cut me a little slack here. This was 1981 -- just before crotch rockets, which begat bullet bikes which became the ultimate source of g force for the dollar.  Let’s just say I was not experienced.  

I figured this was just a lot of hype coming from an impressed younger brother.  Yeah, sure Earl, your brother’s motorcycle is faster than a $100,000 Testarossa.  Uh huh. 

This drove him nuts.  

We’re out at his place, which used to be a dairy farm, out in the sticks of Warren, Oregon.  Taking a break from putting his Apple III through its paces (remember that spastic little game where the swordsman takes on the vicious rodents and arachnids?), Earl has that gleam in his eye.  

“Come on.”  

He gets his brother’s (a.k.a. Black Bart’s) full facial helmets and hands me one.  I’m reluctant.  I’m not so sure I’m right on this acceleration bet, but I also know that Earl doesn’t have his motorcycle endorsement, not to mention the way he pegs the tach on his mom’s Ford Fiesta (the famously fun but generic car) on the backroads.  

But he had me.  Put up or shut up.  Earl fires up the bike and beckons me to mount up.  We’re easing out the long, muddy driveway out onto the straight angle country road and I’m starting to regret this.  The tires are on the pavement. He turns his head and I hear a muffled “hang on!”.  Earl yanks on the throttle and throws open the clutch.  I distinctly remember the clean airy sound of the 750 cc’s soaring to a focused high pitched whine as the tail of the bike dipped and we shot forward.  I wasn’t wearing a stopwatch, but it couldn’t have been more than 4 seconds before we hit 60.  My stomach was up in my throat and all I could see was the blur of motion that was the countryside.  I believed.  

But Earl wasn’t through.  No, while he had his Doubting Thomas as a captive audience, he wasn’t going to let it go at acceleration.  We’re headed into a classic right-angle country corner at an unhealthy speed.  I’m scared shitless knowing full well that the helmet only covers a small part of a small portion of my young-and-really-wanting-to-live-another-day body.  

Earl yanks the bike over in a recklessly fast turn.  I hold my breath and pray.  The prayer is interrupted as metal scrapes the asphalt and the bike kicks.  

O h    m y    g o d.  

That was the precise moment at which I was closest to death (to my knowledge) in my entire life.  We were so hard over that the base of the kickstand scraped.  I’m yelling.  This ride is over.  You win.  I’d like my life back now.  

Goddamn it.  I hate it when I’m wrong, but I hate it more when I’m stupid.  


more stupider: Looting and pillaging...well, pillaging.  stupid