Dr. Mark Tiger Edmonds
The Ghost of Scootertrash Past
Longrider II © The Rumor Continues
A Few More True Tales of Just Passin' Through
Mark K. Tiger Edmonds
do not redistribute, this small intro is posted only for your reading enjoyment on
When I showed an early draft manuscript of Longrider to a friend, the guy got about as far as the part about the dot-headed motherfucker who was
trying to rob me at his motel. Yup, that was where he stopped reading and went into knee-jerk political correction. He began, "Tiger, you dumb
bastard..." Then he called me a bigot and told me I should all remove all the profanity and all references to cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs from the
book. And that stupid son of a bitch thinks I'm the bigot.
Similarly, I had a couple people take umbrage with two stories in that book about encounters I had with black children. Permit me to emphatically
state, that was a comment on contemporary YOUTH, not a a statement of any racial significance. You dumb bastards. If you think political
correctness is more important than the First Amendment or the sanctity of personal opinions, and you want sterilized history and lies about who
didn't inhale and who was a war hero in the national guard, go get yourself a newspaper or a contemporary high school textbook. Without
apologies to loud, angry lesbians, I will talk interchangeably about pretty girls and women and mean no disrespect at all. And I will condemn
Iranian motels and McFood without intending general castigation of near or middle Easterners or clowns either one. Same deal with cities and
This here one is going to start out with high praise and references not to Local Indigenous Pre-Columbian Aboriginal North Americans, but to
Indians. And I will allude to dogs as dogs, not as canine companion Americans. Similarly, I will make reference to a dot-headed thief if that's the
case. And if the bastard turns out to be a Presbyterian in a porkpie hat, I will point that out.
Over the years and along the way, I've talked to a whole lot of other old rounders. Most of them in the rain. We all got our own sad stories.
Longriders talk about roads. Besides speaking of roads and telling one another our old highway tales, we usually get around to discussing why we
Theories range from: We do it for the stories we can tell, to We do it because when you fall, you fall alone. We are sworn to independence,
dedicated to the passin' through. And in between of those perspectives, some of us claim we were born to it; others contend it's the only thing
we're any good at.
Most of us agree with my Grandfather, the shaman, that we couldn't have done it any different if we'd tried.
The plains Indians of western North America used to say that today was a good day to die. They would announce this to the rising sun each
morning. They would reassure themselves this way as they rode into battle. I have read that the Cossack cavalry had a comparable custom. And
the Mongol hordes of Ghengis Khan apparently had a similar credo and practice.
Likewise, and while I don't know this to be a fact, I suspect the Crusader cavalry, and quite probably the mounted Muslims they were trying to kill,
must have considered and embraced this sort of philosophy. And I have been told that Attilla the Hun and his nomad people had a like outlook on
It is neither accident nor coincidence that these peoples were all mounted horsemen, that they were all just passing through. My Grandfather, the
equestrian, upon completing the only motorcycle ride I was ever able to take him on, grinned at me and commented, "Well, hell, Boy, it ain't
nothin' but a short, fast, noisy horse, is it?"
Motorcycles really are like that, like horses. No, I don't mean you set or ride them the same, but the basic activity is real similar. At least if you
do it right it is. There is no place, no where else in my life that makes me feel as whole, as real, as right, as in the saddle in motion on the
highway. Few things I would rather look at than the distance through the handlebars.
I have been told, often by former wives and their ilk, that part of it is a control thing. I don't think so. It's much more an orientation thing. And I truly
do think most of it is genetic. Some of us really do belong to be nomads, allowed to run wild and free. I've also heard tell it's a locomotor-phallic
thing. But I ain't real sure I even know what the hell that means, much less have any serious understanding of it.
And I've heard it said that it's for the risk and the danger, and the fact that you could kill yourself, or be killed by others, real easy real often. No,
that ain't it either. It's much more about life than it is about death. And it's because it makes life so very good that today truly is a good day to die.
I've even had folks tell me it has to do with the glamor and romance of it. That's the dumbest thing I ever heard about except for New Coke,
AutoWorld, pantyhose, and buying stuff with a computer and a credit card. There is just about as much glamor involved in being scootertrash as
there is in changing your oil in the rain or healing up from a bad dose of roadrash. None of us chose to be longriders. But a few of us embraced our
Some of it has to do with the ancient mysteries of motion, with the passin' through. And a little has to do with running from your devils and
demons. Part of it is about the rhythms of the road. Most of it has to do with freedom, and some of it is about the distance. An element in it has
something do with a need to get out there and spend a portion of your money on some high test gasoline. A share of it is tangled up in just passin'
through. Part of it is in wondering What's Next? And an important component of it is about watchin' the sun go down from a different place.
Might be a piece of it has to do with an inability to set still for very long. Much of it has to do with private therapy and
personal mental health. Some of it is in knowing that there ain't but maybe a few hundred other people can say they been the places you been to,
seen and done the things that you've seen and done.
Part of it really is for the stories we can tell. A lot of it is about solitude, about peace and harmony. There is some primal part of it that is about
finding out what is down that road, around that next curve, across that river, on the other side of the borderline, over beyond that lake, beyond them
mountains yonder, on the far side of the horizon, in the distance.
Most ancient cultures, not just those on horseback, believed that there was a rhythm, a cadence to life, a beat to the very earth itself. They
believed that it was the obligation of the people to find this pulse, this beat, and to adapt and live in harmony with it. There are still a few
contemporary peoples with similar beliefs, but we are seldom paid attention to. But that's OK, because I've done found and hit my stride. Some of
us, we really weren't made to lead or follow, neither one.
I've been to a lot of places, seen a whole lot of sights, and I've done a lot of things along the way between all that. But in motion on a cycle down
the road is the only place I've ever found the rhythm. Some times it's so sweet and clean and free that you truly understand that it is a good day for
anything, including dying. Hell, maybe especially dying.
You get to see things on a bike that you are completely unaware of in a vehicle. And you get to hear and taste and smell and feel them, too. If
you do it wrong, you get to feel and taste some things you'd rather not. But, if you do it right, you get to be part of it all.
I always begin a long ride by asking for a highway blessing. I appeal to the three elements in the trilogy. In honor of the sky; for the sake of the
road. And in the name of the boxer twin engine.
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Dr. Mark Tiger Edmonds
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