Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Physics 101 (degrees)

There are lots of reasons to question the standards of education in America, like the fact that commercials actually sell useless products (no logic or critical thinking taught in schools); that anyone believes either Bill O’Reilly or Keith Olbermann are anything but cynical, hypocritical fear-mongers (see previous); and every segment of “Jaywalking” ever shown on the Leno version of The Tonight Show.

The reason to despair for our educational system I’ve been noticing most lately is that a lot of motorcyclists seem to think when the weather gets hot enough, the laws of physics are suspended. The evidence for this belief is clear, judging by how many of them I saw today riding around in T-shirts—those that are actually wearing shirts at all—and shorts. The more safety-conscious wore high-top sneakers instead of flip-flops.

Then again, maybe I’m the one guilty of an incomplete education, because I believe if I fell off at speed on a 90-degree day wearing a T-shirt and shorts, it would be very much like being tossed onto a belt sander that’s been heated with a blowtorch.

In all fairness, as a product of the American educational system myself, I’m forced to admit I could be wrong. It might not hurt that much at all. In fact, it might actually be warm and cuddly instead of horrific and disfiguring.

If you know, or if you are, someone who’s riding a motorcycle with nothing but a few square yards of thin cotton between you and the pavement, and you crash, and you don’t die as a result of third-degree burns or massive infection, I’d like to know what it was like. Call me when the morphine wears off.


Selena's mom said...

...and, if I recall correctly, if you're not wearing a helmet, you don't get the morphine, so they can tell if you've had a concussion. But I may be wrong, too. ;-)

Jerry Smith said...

No, I believe you're right. Suspected head injury = no anesthetic. At least that's the way it was when I crashed at Willow Springs. The guy in the next hospital bed, who they brought in after me, had fallen off at speed on the street without a helmet or protective clothing; he was a huge oozing scab from head to toe, and howled like a banshee all day and all night until they moved him elsewhere.