Bad Karma

It is said that how you treat people says everything about you. Especially those that can do nothing for you. The other day I met someone whose treatment of others, my friends and I, whose behavior spoke veritable volumes about her character. And not a single word of it was remotely favorable.

If you live anywhere near NH you may have heard of the Fallen 7. Last year, a group of Bikers on a charitable ride for USMC causes was rounding a corner in Jackson, NH and found a heavy-duty pickup and attached car carrier in their lane. Having nowhere to go, no escape route as bikers call it, a bloodbath ensued. 5 bikes, 2 with passengers met a tragic death. 7 dead in all. The operator of the truck, a illegal with several moving violations including a recent DUI, with multiple drugs in his system, had crossed the lane. It was a huge story and one that struck a decisive blow to the heart of anyone who, or knows anyone that rides a motorcycle. The tragedy was made worse by the truck operator’s lack of remorse and the fact that Registry backlog and poor communication between state DMV’s had caused his CT DUI to not be processed in MA. If it had, his license would have been suspended.

A beautiful memorial was erected on the site of the motel they were staying (they died mere yards from the motel, a further tragedy) and since the accident many a group of bikers have made the pilgrimage to the site to pay respects. Sunday, some friends and I set out on ours.

We have been under a drought for a few weeks. Each week the weather apps on on our phones predicted rain but it never did. So when the forecast called for rain we set out anyway on our 100 plus mile ride. As luck would have it, the heavens opened up on about 10 miles short of our destination. Rain is manageable on a bike, but this rain was torrential and it stung our eyes so bad that we were forced to take cover. The first place we saw was what looked like a abandoned motel and we pulled into the parking lot. We found a unit with a sufficient overhang and took shelter.

It wasn’t long before we realized that it wasn’t abandoned. A woman who identified herself as the owner approached us. We apologized for our presence and assured her that we were planning on moving along once the rain let up even a little. She was a bit annoyed but said ok and walked back to her unit. Not ten minutes later she came back and she was highly agitated. She began shouting at us, calling us filthy scumbags and ordered us off of her “fucking property”. One of my buddies asked her why the sudden change of heart and she ramped up her agitation. She screamed that she was going to start “dumping bikes”. I was horrified to see her heading towards mine, the one I had owned for exactly a week. She had both hands on the right hand grip and had it off of the kickstand when I realized that I was armed. I pulled up my shirt and revealed my 9MM. I said “Lady, get your fucking hands off of my bike or I will be forced to exercise my 2nd amendment right”. Not taking any chances I grabbed the bike away before she could dump it. She swung at me several times until I unsnapped the button of my holster and doubled down on my stance. She turned her attention to my buddy Tom who had a travel mug of coffee in his hand. She screamed at him and slapped the cup out of his hand. He told her to back off, that we would leave. We pulled out as she screamed obscenities at us.

It took a while for it all to settle in, it was a while longer before we were able to laugh about it. But it wasn’t funny. We completed our trip, paid our respects and made it home with several more stops to get out of the rain. We’re still talking about it 3 days later.

Several years ago I read a story about a Jackson, NH innkeeper who was sued by a Moroccan couple for refusing them service on the grounds that they were “Muslims from the Middle East who had no business being in our country.” NH had only recently passed hate crime legislation and she was the first person sued under it. After some research, yup you guessed it, it was her.

We engaged her on Facebook, gave her several poor reviews despite not being technically guests. Almost every review we read of her place was critical and often scathing, detailing tale after tale of verbal abuse and poor service. She was clearly a horrible person. She went after us and our reviews, doubling down on her “filthy biker” language. This was not good for her at all because us “filthy bikers” are a huge part of her business, largely due to the fact that she is ten miles from a very popular memorial site. But it didn’t end there. She tracked my friend Tom’s Facebook profile. On Tom’s cover page is a photo of his deceased son. The woman went so far as to say,”your kid is dead, how many others around you have died because of your behavior?” Tom was floored. The hate of this woman is overpowering.

I am still a little worked up over the incident. At the base of it all I know that we were on private property. But we weren’t hurting anyone, she had initially told us it was ok after all.

In the world I grew up in, shelter is given to strangers in duress, comfort is given to the weary and respect is paid to all until it is deemed unworthy. I have never been treated like that and I hope never to be again.

My mind is whirling with new and creative ways to get back at her, including filing a police report against her. I’m not sure what it will accomplish but it may make her think twice before she treats otherwise decent, respectful people like the piece of shit that she sees every day in the mirror.

cheap beer and memories

If nothing else I am a guy that can learn a lesson. I’m open to it and I recognize the value of applying what I’ve learned to do right by virtue of having done it wrong. I’m also burdened with a tremendous memory, in particular for the stupid things that I’ve said and done. I beat myself up mercilessly to this day for things that I did even in my teens. Mostly between the hours of 11 PM and 3 AM.

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My mantra has typically been “I don’t think before I speak, I like to be as surprised as everyone else by what comes out.” I tend to be pleasantly sarcastic so I’m not very offputting. But Sunday I had the opportunity to see a friend do a replay of one of my most regrettable stupid comments. And it was an eye-opener.

A little back-story. When I was 20 my dad and I went to visit one of his co-workers. Another hard working truck driver who had just been diagnosed with Cancer. Dad and I drove 100 miles to see him at his vacation home because that was how Dad was. We arrived at Smitty’s house around noon and we got the tour of the house. Smitty led us to the kitchen and the big man opened the refrigerator and grabbed 3 beers in his enormous hand. As he handed one to me I stupidly said: “Ugh, Miller Lite.” Smitty looked at me and then at Dad. I looked at Dad as well and he was pissed, I just knew.

We eventually said our goodbyes and walked to the truck. His door was barely closed when he turned and looked me in the eyes, serious as a heart attack and said:” when someone offers you a beer I don’t care if it tastes like a warm glass of camel-piss you take it and you say thank you. Do you understand me?” I did, and I felt awful. But it stuck with me. From that day forward I always cheerfully accepted whatever anyone offered me.

Yesterday I was serving a charity breakfast. The Masons do a blood drive every year in our building and I make a full breakfast for all donors. I love to cook and I love to help. I look forward to it every year. In particular, I look forward to seeing my friend Paul. He seldom attends other functions but he always comes to this one to see me in the kitchen. On this day he stayed until the end to help me clean up.

We were joined in the kitchen by Dan, another friend. Paul and I were talking and Dan was scrubbing some pots. Paul asked me if I wanted to stick around and grab a beer with him after. I explained that I had to drive 2 hours home so probably no. It seemed I barely had time to turn around and there he was with three cans of beer, one for each of us. Miller Lite. I gladly accepted and all eyes were on Dan. Dan turns and says:”Miller Lite, that’s what I drink when I can’t drink my own piss!”

I looked at him and before I could stop myself I said: “Dan when someone offers you a beer just take it and say thank you. What’s wrong with you?”

Who said that?