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of an Insane Genius -- December 1996
There is something in a man's eyes as he returns from the battlefield for the first time that makes you realize he has been forever changed. Later that evening, as I gazed into the mirror reflecting on the outcome of my ill-fated bicycle ride, I realized that my eyes will also carry that haunting, penetrating aura that most people associate with an urgent need to use the toilet but actually signifies a life-altering experience.
Knowing that it was now impossible to regain control of the renegade bicycle, I decided to use the 38.7 milliseconds remaining before impact to decide upon a strategy to minimize damage. During the first 6.25 milliseconds I utilized my superior mental abilities to recall the elementary physics equation that tells us that kinetic energy is equal to one half of the mass of an object times the square of it's velocity. I burned another 1.2 milliseconds realizing that significantly reducing my body mass by adhering to a strict regimen of diet and calisthenics during the remaining 31.23 milliseconds before impact would have negligible results. Damn! No help there, the answer depended on decreasing the velocity at which I travelled.
The Brake!!! That holy grail of friction. I immediately jammed on the handbrake with all of my might. With the cords and tendons of my muscles standing out in stark contrast I realized that by neglecting to factor in the increased torque caused by jamming on the brakes with the handlebars so far out of alignment I had now cut my remaining time to impact in half, and introduced a pronounced tendency to fly over the handlebars as well.
With only 15.615 milliseconds remaining before impact, a lesser man would have thought only of himself. I continued to struggle with the controls until I was able to aim the out of control bicycle away from any populated areas to reduce the risk of injuring any innocent civilians. Only when I had done all that was humanly possible to reduce collateral damage did I bail out of the doomed bicycle.
Surprisingly, my final thought before impact had to do with figuring out just what a burger "with grown up taste" would taste like. I decided it must be topped with blue cheese, olives, caviar, escargot, tequila, and served on whole grain bread by a Republican.
I was distracted from this important meditation by the skin of my left hand being scraped away layer by layer on the unforgiving asphalt. Fortunately, the pain from the laceration appearing on my left knee kept me from dwelling too much on my hand.
I was bruised and bloody. The bicycle lay in a heap on the shoulder of Highway 90. As I gazed into the panoramic Arizona sunset I ran my fingers through my golden locks and sighed. I would live to ride another day.