Machines Keep Me Alive

May 10, 2012 View Comments by

Yesterday my wife and I were meeting with our lawyer to make out our will, what people of a “certain age” do for bonding. In the midst of this catalog of paperwork is the health part, and those questions about extending your life by being put on “machines,” of which my answer was no.

It wasn’t until driving home that it hit me: I am already extending my life by being on machines! Heaven knows I couldn’t live without my coffee machine; without that somebody would surely die, before me, for sure. Then there are my cars: the big, fully automatic, memory-seated, automatic-temperature-controlled, AM-FM-CD, leather-clad, luxury land yacht, necessary for when I just want brainless transportation; or my 4×4, stump-jumping, bright red pick-um-up-truck, for when I get that plaid-shirt, baseball-cap, ripped-jeans, coffee-shop daze, with a side trip to Farm n’ Fleet for tractor parts. If that weren’t enough, there is one more four-wheeler lurking in my garage: my Ego Tripper, a bright red Ferrari 308 GTB-Mera replica (The Magnum P.I. TV car), wide wheels, headers, tweaked engine, five-speed, chick magnet—what a blast down Main Street this will do for a bummer day, one no life support can match, that’s for sure.

All good stuff, all supporting machines, but just the beginning. Admittedly there are some “health machines” too; I am, after all, at that certain age between puberty and rigor mortis. With diabetes you get a blood glucose meter (from 27–395 for me). With IPF (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis)—which is incurable, untreatable, and always fatal; according to my legion of doctors, it should have killed me three years ago (shows you what they know)—I get a gizmo that measures my pulse and blood oxygen levels, a UV air filter to suck the hair off the cat, and an oxygen concentrator to inflate me like a beach ball (at night, of course).

Yet as seemingly “life-sustaining” as these machines are, there is one that is more important than all the rest: my motorcycle, of course. (It’s a motorcycle blog, what did you expect?) My Freedom Machine, my escape clause, the golden ticket. With these two wheels, I can escape my personal limitations and fill my lungs with fresh air, free of the constraints of time and space. It’s these times that truly extend my life. I live for the tour rides I do here for RR MT&T, and even the weekend runs into the sun. It may be a small thing, but it’s the one “plug” I don’t want pulled; for me, just allow me to . . . Ride on.

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About the author

A Wisconsin farm boy, I learned how to ride a cow, before a horse and way before a motorcycle. I first started riding on my 16th birthday and I took my first real ride at my party: I pulled a wheelie and dug a trench in the lawn, which sent the bike in one direction and me in another. I was irrevocably hooked!