Monday, November 10, 2008

Video Del Fuego, Part XIII

Lateral/directional stability rarely gets the respect it truly deserves:

A personal observation is in order ... About thirty years ago, my oldest brother had made us a fiberglass sled. It was a piece of green fiberglass, oh, about five by three feet, curled over in front and turned up on the side. The bottom was nice and slick. On one of the infrequent times we actually get measurable snowfall here in Texas, it would be a fine sled. Or, so we thought. The sled had a grievous design flaw, one that wasn't immediately obvious to us.

We lined up on the sled in order of age, eldest up front, then another brother, then me. The older brothers claimed the privilege of going up front. They neglected to realize two important things. First, although I was the youngest, I was no longer the smallest brother. And second, in a runner-less sled, the heaviest rider always ends up in front, whether you intended to do it that way or not.

We set off down the hill, and everything went all right there for a second or so. Then, inertia took over, and flipped us around. I was now "in front", but we were going backwards. I had taken my glasses off before we started, so I couldn't see a blessed thing, and didn't realize what had gone wrong. The other two did, and bailed out, leaving me to ride to the bitter end. In this case, the bitter end was the trunk of a rather stout oak tree.

The next memory I can actually put in sequence had something to do with stumbling towards our house, and everything hurt. But nothing was actually broken, just bruised all to hell and gone. They tell me I was unconscious for a minute or two. I may or may not have been breathing.

Anyhow, the moral of this story is: STAY THE HELL AWAY from slidy things that don't have runners, or any other means of directional control. Some damn tree's always just itching to reach out and whack you one.

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