If you have ever seen a motorcycle accident or even heard about a gnarly spill, chances are you aren’t really excited when your friend/husband/girlfriend etc… decides to buy or ride their shiny two-wheeled toy! Right? I mean, there are so many people who won’t get on a motorcycle let alone condone someone they love riding one, helmet or not.
For instance, I work with a guy who goes by “Party Nation”, I had the opportunity of riding to lunch with him last Friday. On Fridays a group of us have a tradition of sending our hundreds of harassing emails and concluding the banter by eating lunch together. Most of these gentlemen have motorcycles which usually leaves me the sole driver trailing the rally. This rare opportunity to be the passenger on the way to lunch came because “Nation” decided to drive his truck rather than his Harley. On the way to “The V” [a local pizza spot in Tempe] I asked why he wasn’t riding his bike, he replied, “my girl and I almost broke up last year over my bike and sometimes it’s just smarter to drive my truck”. Come to find out, there was a motorcycle accident in front of their house just days before which reignited her hatred for his motorcycle and the fact that he rides it, often. Knowing that his lady was uncomfortable he made the decision to drive, he was respecting her concern for his life. Now, Nation may or may not ever give his bike up completely, however, if someday it means that much to his lady and she means that much to him, the bike just may hit Craigslist.
The reason that she is so terrified of motorcycles is because someone in her family was in a motorcycle accident, justifying her fear. However, what if it isn’t a part of the family but just an innocent bystander? What if you drove past a semi to only to see a motorcycle stuck underneath the rear set of tires without the driver in sight? Would that make you weary enough to warn someone you love about riding a motorcycle?
I hope you are tracking with me so far…
Here is my point: I sometimes overreact when the people who I love are blatantly irresponsible in the abuse of substances. I think this way much like Nation’s girlfriend does about him riding a motorcycle. I have had to deal with the reality that my mother, knowing that smoking was going to negatively affect her health, continue to smoke. My mother’s decision to life a specific lifestyle that called for smoking, drinking and sporadic drug addiction is the decision that I can thank for not being able to hear my mother’s advice and words of wisdom during one of the most emotionally difficult times of my life. I watched my father be abusive to his body as well as the people around him, the people that he would say he loved more than anyone else in the entire world. All because he didn’t want to deal with his reality, his pain, his shortcomings and because of his selfishness and ignorance, my thirteen year old brother has to figure out the transition from being a boy to a man without his father and my children won’t know what it is like to have a Grandpa Dennis.
Yes, I have had my fair share of drunken nights… I have blacked out, thrown up , thrown myself away to someone who didn’t deserve what I gave them, and made some incredibly selfish decisions that I may or may not remember. These words are not being written out of innocence, they are being written out of retrospection and a continuous pursuit to grow and not continue the cycle that my family has seen for generation’s.
Please be mindful of your choices, take an honest look around you, and don’t be afraid to see the destruction and learn from it. One day the choices that you make today will affect your parents, siblings, children, or spouse, along with the painful physical and emotional effects that you may be left with. Some of you have experienced this loss that I have felt, some of you can recall being taken advantage of or throwing yourself away in the name of “being wasted”.
When I was in my early twenties my dad said, “son, the man you are today is the man you will be when you’re 50, unless you do something about it”. Those words have stuck to me like glue because I know they came out regret, they were words of a man who looked back on his life and was disgusted with who he faced every time he looked in the mirror. Don’t end up like my father.
I write this with love and from personal experience.