("God." Oh, man, that's hilarious. The Lobster I worship can kick "God's" ass.)
So tomorrow is the Fourth of July, or July 4th, or Independence Day, or "American Bastille Day," or whatever you want to call it, and it would behoove all of us on this day to take a short break from blowing shit up and grilling meats to reflect on what this great country of ours is all about. I don't mean what it's literally about, which is celebrating how we won the Civil War against Canada. I mean what it's symbolically about. You know, like, our philosophy on shit:
I don't know about you, but I cried actual tears of pride there towards the end.
Of course, with the holiday upon us (unless you're a godless foreigner) I'll be "fucking off" for a bit, though I will return on Monday, July 8th, 2013, USA!!! with regular updates.
In the meantime, during my "off-fucking," I hope to find the time to engage in some bicycle cycle riding. I probably won't watch the Touring of France, though. Sure, I used to follow the sport of professional European bicycle-cycling pretty closely. However, at this point I'm pretty much burnt out on it, mostly because it's just a constant drug scandal with some occasional racing going on in the background. Also, if you've seen one Tour de France you've pretty much seen them all. The guy in the green jersey is usually a douchebag who gives off a "rapey" vibe. Bradley Wiggins is just Carlos Sastre with a hipper wardrobe. At some point, Mario Cipollini's going to stop by naked. We get it.
So while the rest of the cycling world is looking for the best live feed, I prefer to remain at a safe remove from the race, since at this point in my life I'm really only interested when there's a controversy or a mishap. Bus gets stuck at the finish line? Interested! Sylvain Chavanel has a bike that matches his Camaro? So very not interested.
Therefore, I find the best way to follow the race is to just scan Twitter while I'm on the toilet and see what's bubbling up. (Bubbling up on Twitter, that is, not in the toilet.) And it would appear that the latest controversy is that the Tour commissaires or commissaries or commodes or whatever they're called made American Ted King go bye-bye for finishing outside the time limit.
See, every Tour needs a rider who presses bravely on while injured, which is what Ted King was doing. Indeed, martyrs are as integral to the Tour de France as cocky sprinters or naked Cipos. And of course Ted King is an American, which meant cycling fans all over Canada's goiter were sporting great big throbbing Fred boners for him. So predictably, they're outraged, since now that he's out of the race they've got a collective case of Fredly blue balls:
Now, King is suffering twice from those mistakes; first, due to injury, and second, due to insult.
Eliminating King, in a time when the sport desperately seeks credibility, sends the wrong message to cycling fans. In an era when the Tour de France asks its competitors to perform as humans, and nothing more, it, too, should must show some humanity of its own.
I genuinely feel for Ted King, who has worked hard and sacrificed and blah blah blah to finally ride in the Tour, but I'm not sure I can get behind this argument. Firstly, cycling's credibility problems go way, way, way beyond not handing some poor guy seven seconds because he fell down. Saying the Tour could redeem itself by letting Ted King stay in the race because he's a swell guy is like saying Jerry Sandusky could redeem himself by buying one of his victims a Happy Meal. Secondly, I thought a three-week event in which outcomes are decided by tiny bits of time was what created all the drama in the race. Isn't crushing defeat part of sport? In 1989, Greg LeMond won the Tour de France by eight seconds, in perhaps the biggest American Fred boner-raising moment in the history of cyclesport. So, what, they should have given the win to Laurent Fignon anyway? Because, hey, it's only eight seconds, and Fignon should have had one of those funny helments too so it's not fair, and who wants to see a French guy in a ponytail cry?
I guess I sort of see the argument that a decision made by the organizers may have been responsible for the crash in which he was injured, but at the same time this is Europe! In the summer! That's what hot Europeans do! They fuck up! Really, the entire Tour de France is just a series of bad decisions and shitty organization--it's as much a part of the race as bad pavement or road furniture or a shirtless Cipo.
Also, it's worth considering that discouraging riders from staying in the race when they're unable to ride within the time limit is actually good for the sport's credibility, partially because it's dangerous, and partially because this guy:
Remember how he attributed his miraculous ride that year to some Danish guy named Ole and his magical bandage-wrapping technique?
That was awesome.
In any case, I sincerely wish Ted King a speedy recovery, and it totally sucks, but I can assure him that there will be other Tours, as ridiculous as the idea of continuing to organize future Tours de France may be. Also, here's a poll if you'd like to share your opinion:
In more dispiriting news, a cyclist in Brooklyn was recently pelted from above with groceries:
The latest attack on the Ashland Pl. strip happened Friday at 1:30 a.m. as Park Slope computer programmer Stephen Arthur, 45, pedaled by University Towers — and was nearly pummeled by a storm of falling pantry products.
“All of a sudden an object flew by my face. I was like, ‘Holy cow,’” said Arthur, who was hit in the head by a brick while riding down the same lane in 2011.
“A nine-ounce container was thrown at me.”
Bottles of Hellmann’s mayo, Welch’s jelly, Kraft ranch dressing along with a box of Barilla spaghetti almost stuck him, too.
And yes, this very same cyclist was also struck by a brick two years ago in nearly the same location:
Wow. Really, I'm of two minds here. Half of my tiny brain thinks that we cannot let the craven actions of others force us to change our lives or to live in fear. However, the other half thinks, "Fuck, if that were me I'd never ride on Ashland Place again." In fact, when I lived in Brooklyn I used to ride on this street pretty regularly, and while I continued to use it after hearing about the brick incident, I did make a point of riding "serpentine" whenever I did. Also, I made sure never to wear a kippah that looks kind of like a target:
Instead, I wore a camouflage one so they wouldn't be able to see me:
And with that, I wish you a happy July 4th holiday, even if you're not American, in which case God help you, and I look forward to seeing you again on Monday, July 8th.
I love you,
--Wildcat Rock Machine