Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

bummer @ abate

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August 2009

    My apologies for not being able to attend the June Jam this year, but the stork dropped a new granddaughter on us that same weekend. It was my stepdaughter’s first kid (Julie’s first blood grandchild), and needless to say Granny wanted to be there for her. Of course I could have gone to the Jam by myself, but I’m getting kinda used to having a partner for all my adventures these days. I guess I just had way too much of that solo stuff for too many years. Besides, it was a treat being there to watch Julie freak out about everything.

    What is it about grandkids that make us so crazy about ‘em? Is it just the obvious pleasure in being able to see your family tree grow new branches? Is it the hope that it might give us some sort of immortality; that our genetic seed continues, therefore WE continue? Or is it just a way to watch our kids get the payback they so richly deserve for their own childish antics when they were kids? Oh, it’s all that of course, but I think it’s way much more. I think we all get off on grandkids, even if they might be somebody else’s, for a number of reasons.

    I know one of ‘em is that our grandchildren give us hope for the future of our kind; of our culture and who we are. I’m sure someday somebody will pull out an old yellowed photo of a smiling Bummer doing something stupid and say......
    “That’s my great-great-grandpa. He was a biker back at the turn of the last century.”
The unfortunate sad fact is in response they might get.....
    “What’s a biker?”
    “They used to ride gasoline powered, internal combustion two-wheeled vehicles called motorcycles for transportation and pleasure.”
    “Gasoline? That must have been very damaging to the environment.”
    “Everything was damaging to the environment back then. That’s why we all used to have to get anti-pollutant shots at birth. But fortunately that’s just about unnecessary these days since the air and the water’s finally been cleaned up.”
    “What did these bikers used to do? What made them so special?”
   “Well, from what I hear, they used to ride around and raise a lot of hell.”
   “What’s he doing in the picture?”
   “The back says he was on stage judging a wet t-shirt contest, whatever that was.”
   “It sure looks like he’s having fun. OH MY! Some of these women have clothes on. Whatever for? It looks like it was a very warm day.”
   “Well, back then people used to wear clothes all year long. Even in the summer. I never did understand that, but on history video-discs they have clothes on just about all the time. And it seems some people would compete to see who could afford to buy the most expensive outfits. In fact, it was actually against the law to be naked in public for some reason. That’s why there were places that people went to where they would actually pay money to watch others take their clothes OFF! Can you imagine paying somebody just to look at them?”
    “What’s money?”
    “Sorta like what we call credits. And listen to this: The pollution was so bad that people had to actually buy bottled water to drink from vending machines.”
   “At least everybody must have had a lot of money. Did these biker people do anything beside ride around on their whatchacallem…”
    “I understand they used to party a lot….whatever that means. And they used to get together and have swap meets.”
    “What did they swap?”
    “I’m not sure, maybe their motorcycles. I don’t think they swapped their passengers. That was a different kinda group.”
    “Look. Here’s another photo showing a bunch of motorcycles in a parade of some kind.”
    “They used to call that a “poker-run”. They’d ride for a while, then stop every now and then to play poker. These “poker runs” must have lasted for days and days, because I’ve actually played poker and it takes a while.”
    “They’re all wearing animal skins! What’s up with that?”
   “That was to protect their skin from all the pollution. Apparently they made their clothes from all the beasts they collided into. There were a lot more beasts back then. So many beasts all over the place, that they’d actually wander out onto the roads and the motorcycles would intentionally run into them. Then the bikers would peel off and process their skins to make the protective clothing, which they also proudly wore as trophies of the kill. They were a vicious bunch.”
    “Oh my!”

    Anyway, one thing’s for certain: If there are any motorcycles that far into the future, they’ll be in museums and probably won’t be allowed on the roads. Public transportation will get to be more practical and incredibly fast, but the pollution standards will never allow the emissions from private internal combustion engines. Also the safety-crats will insist on well-reduced speed limits, like about 25 MPH in urban areas, because the cities will be so crowded. They’ll probably also insist that those that do ride wear total body armor. We might possibly be the last of a dying breed my friends.

    Getting back to it (my brain obviously wanders a bit as I approach my twilight years), another reason most of us look forward to being grandparents is we can be the “fun” people in the life of a child, and they can be the “fun” people in ours. As parents our concerns were actually “raising” the kid. But as granny and gramps we just play with ‘em and spoil the hell outta ‘em. We can enjoy their bad behavior and laugh when they say bad things. The first words I like to teach my youngest grandkids to say is, “I’m thirsty! Got milk?” and then they’re taught to plunge their faces into the breasts of women. It’s a hoot!

    We can also buy the kids stuff like BB guns and slingshots without worrying about the consequences too much. I gave one of my grandsons the loudest siren I could find for his bicycle handlebars. It drives his parents absolutely crazy!! Every time they take out the batteries I give him new ones.

    Did someone mention a puppy? Hell, give the kid a damned beagle. Every child should have at least one. Or better yet, a Coon dog!
    “Hey kid, wanna go to Disney World? Here’s ten bucks for popcorn. All ya gotta do is pester your parents to take you. Tell ‘em Grandpa said you could go.”
Ya see, there’s so much entertainment in grandkids that goes beyond the kids themselves. Ya just gotta be creative.

    One of our few responsibilities as grandparents is baby-sitting occasionally, and Julie’s actually looking forward to it. But when it comes to that, she’s on her own and she knows it. I’m sorta like our old Labrador; I usually leave the room when the kids are around. Grandpa’s just there for the fun stuff….and the food.

    The other day we had one of my sons over with his two daughters and Julie made cookies with the girls while me and Ben kicked back and watched a movie. The cookies were great, but the poor woman spent the whole next day cleaning the kitchen (we still have those little bead/sprinkle things all over the place).

    But our only real task as grandparents is furthering our grandchildren’s education of “life”. I can’t wait until any of ‘em are old enough to be able teach them how to clean the pool and not screw it up. We’ll have ‘em over every week in the summer. And in the winter, they can come play snow plow in the driveway. Hell, now that I think of it I might be able to get rid of the guys who do my yard work so the kids can learn landscaping. This would be even better than the illegal aliens I’ve been paying. And in a few years when the kids learn to hunt, I can see them bringing over fresh venison and fish. Even Julie will benefit when she teaches them to wash and wax Grandpa’s scooter. Maybe they can even learn to change the oil! Grandkids rock! I hope we end up with a whole pile of ‘em.


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