I try to be a nice guy, I really do. I hold doors open for other people, I smile and say hello to strangers, and I wish my Facebook friends happy birthday even if we’ve never met in person. But sometimes I just can’t resist pulling someone’s chain.
Several years ago I owned a beautiful Yamaha V-Star 1100cc motorcycle. We were at the fairgrounds in Casa Grande, Arizona getting ready for one of our Gypsy Journal rallies, and when I took the bike out of the van we carried it in, the battery was really low. The previous owner had installed a Battery Tender battery charger under the bike’s seat, so I pushed it over to a nearby power pole that had an electrical outlet mounted on it and plugged the bike in.
A while later a gentleman who was there for the rally was admiring the bike and complimented me on it. “What’s the electrical cord for?” he asked. Yeah, I should have told him the truth, but I just couldn’t resist. “This is one of the new hybrid motorcycles,” I told him, “I’m charging it up to go for a ride.”
“Hybrid, like the cars? It runs on gas or battery power? What kind of mileage does it get?” “I can’t tell you the exact mileage,” I said, “But I filled the gas tank in Indiana four months ago and it’s still over half full,” I told him. (Well, that part was true, I didn’t get to ride it very much.) “Oh, I need one of these,” the man said, all excited. “I really want one! Is there a dealer here in town?” I told him there was, but that they wouldn’t have one, since the “hybrid” motorcycles were new and hard to come by and that only a handful of dealers in big cities nationwide can get them. In fact, I told him, most Yamaha dealers probably had never even heard of the new “hybrids” yet.
Somebody called my name and I walked away chuckling to myself as my new friend admired my special motorcycle. I didn’t think much about it until a few weeks later when he e-mailed me to say that he had been calling Yamaha dealers nationwide and nobody had ever heard of the “hybrid” V-Stars. “Some of them even told me there was no such thing, and when I told them I saw one with my own eyes they said I was crazy,” he complained. I really should have told him the truth, but what the hell. “You keep looking,” I advised him, “Sooner or later you’ll find a dealer who knows what you’re talking about.” For all I know, he’s still out there, searching for a motorcycle that’s as elusive as the Lost Dutchman Mine.
And I’m afraid that the years have not changed me. At the Escapade rally last week a fellow had a brand new dually four-wheel drive pickup. “Nice truck,” I told him, “I see it’s a four wheel drive.” He thanked me for the compliment and said he had never had a truck before he bought his brand new fifth wheel trailer. Then I asked him, “Which four?” “Huh?” “You have six wheels. Which ones are the four-wheel drive? Do two of them just roll free?” He looked confused, and I said, “If they all worked together it would be a six-wheel drive, right?” He scratched his head and looked at his new truck and I said, “If you’re not sure, you better find out. If it ever breaks down on you, a shop is going to need to know.” I walked away as he stared at his new truck, trying to figure out which of his six wheels were the four-wheel drive ones. I snuck a look over my shoulder as he was reaching for his cell phone. I’d have loved to be listening in on that conversation.
It’s Wednesday, and time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he will spend a fortune on fly rods, tackle, monofilament line, a boat, trailer, fish finder, and beer.