Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Vain Attempt To Acquire Street Cred As A Bar Biker

From time to time my stories will reference events which took place about 30 years ago in a Jersey City bar. This bar was like a set for a Threepenny reality opera in which each character was modeled on rusted barbed wire or broken glass. They were cast in the roles of brawlers, street thugs, and gentlemen of gray trades. If merit badges were given out for misdemeanors, these guys would have been Eagle Scouts. And while a lot of them owned bikes, I do not recall that any belonged to a specific club or gang -- certainly none of the legendary biker clubs whose colors are as familiar as flags around the world.

Poster for the Threepenny Opera
(Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia -- Click to enlarge)

I always wanted some recognition from guys like these, or at least the ability to walk among them with impunity.

This acknowledgement was only possible through the accumulation of street “cred” earned in a bar fights, hustling swag, or the conversion of hot items into lukewarm cash. I had no talent for second story work and my only value in a bar fight would be that of a hostage, or perhaps cover, if the lead flew. My last fist fight had occurred at age 12, and that girl beat the living shit out of me. Yet through the auspices of one great guy -- an original on the scale of Hunter S. Thompson -- I was accepted by the constituents of at least one gin mill that had the reputation of being a bucket of blood.

But I was always the square peg in the round hole. (Oddly enough, that is still true three decades later with the Mac-Pac, the BMW group that I ride with.)

I never fit the profile of a biker in the mid-’70s. And I certainly don’t fit one now that I have a physique that is largely determined by my present container. (At the moment, that container is Pennsylvania.) Even though I weighed 175 pounds in 1975, and had no trouble jumping up and down on a kick starter, I had great difficulty passing for cool. In fact, there were those who claimed I was the antithisis of cool, which is a douche.

While the average person would be hard put to actually define the characteristics of a douche, everybody knows one. For example, in the commercials for Apple Computers, the personification of the PC is clearly a douche. In hoping to pass myself off as a regular mug in a neighborhood tavern where any service or commodity could be negotiated, I only highlighted my own inadequacies as an urban agent provocateur.

In 1975, the Honda four-stroke 750 had yet to save the world and most riders sat astride Harley’s, Nortons, BSAs, and Triumphs. These machines came in a wide choice of colors, such as black, faded black, deep black, glossy black, and basic black. None of these machines were factory original and all were modified to sound like the mating call of artillery. Their riders wore black leathers (always pricey) and boots that would have made Nazi storm troopers envious. They attracted red hot women, who smelled like sex, cigarettes, beer, sex, raging good times, and sex.

I rode in an old army jacket (my dad’s from WWII), work boots from Sears, and a helmet that was candy-apple red, sold to me by Fabulous Sam, the Gypsy King and local Kawasaki dealer. He knew that this was the sort of helmet only a douche would wear -- and he sold me two of them. My bike was red. But the kind of red only found in popsicles.

These guys looked tough because most of them were. They had nicknames like “Stitches, Blades, Rock Head, Animal, Slide Hammer, Mad Dog, Pus and Johnnie Tombs.” They were good fighters, but you’d be hard pressed to collect a full set of teeth from any five of them. Several were sources for controlled substances, and others were rumored to have special talents. Jackie M. (deceased, and a friend of mine) was said to be able to steal a hot stove. Freddie D. (deceased, and another friend of mine) could fence it before it cooled. The bartender was “Vinnie,” (deceased, a friend of mine, and one of the funniest guys that I have ever met).

You couldn’t just walk into a place like this. (Actually you could, but most didn’t.) I was introduced to this facet of Jersey City café society by “Bobby” P. (deceased and missed every day by me), who could best be described as a combination of Monet, Nietzsche, and Charles Manson. Bob once decorated an apartment by painting quotes from Shakespeare on the walls. Yet he painted “Helter Skelter” over the bed in the “love suite.” He could quote Julius Caesar in the original Latin, but would think nothing of breaking off a car antenna (remember those) to use as a weapon in a vicious street fight.

There was no rhyme nor reason to Bobby P. He could spend the day in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum (he loved art), after which it would be beer and a joint in a joint down by the waterfront, before cruising the hookers on 10th Avenue. Bob insisted that this was part of life and the sooner I understood it the sooner I’d be able to write about it. On my first foray into this part of the New York, Bob picked out the ladies, selected the services (flute serenades) and set the price. When this Fellini-like adventure concluded, the two ladies got out of the car, and Bob’s removed a wig to reveal he was a man.

“If you say anything about this to those jackals at the bar, I’ll kill you,” hissed Bobby P. (I’ve been dying to write about this for 33 years.)

Another night found me back at the gin mill, waiting for Bob to make an appearance. I was passing the time chatting with a guy on my left who had a tattoo on his arm which read “In Saigon, call 246-3456 for a good time.” It was under the picture of a pineapple with a ring in it, like a hand grenade. The stool to my right was taken by a nervous looking gent, who seemed somewhat ill at ease. His name was “Jiggs.” It was my understanding that he got this name for doing primitive tattoos, using a variety of pointed objects and dyes of questionable origin.

“Hey buddy, could you buy me a shot of whiskey,” Jiggs asked. It was apparent he had the shakes, or something. I figured the guy was down and out on his luck, and I was happy to do it. The shot got poured. Jiggs snatched it, turned away from the bar, and downed it in a gulp. He asked me to repeat the favor two more times, and I did so. (We were all socialists back then.)

I later learned that Jiggs had plenty of money, but that the bar would not sell him whisky, as it made him crazy. Shot three had cured him of his jitters. He was no longer Jiggs, but Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Leaning over, he said to me, “I’m gonna fuckin’ kill you.”

This put a damper on my good mood.

I mentioned this to the gentleman with the pineapple tattoo, as he was standing between me and a window that was just my size. At this juncture in events, I must ask if my gentle readers are familiar with a kind of instrument called a linoleum cutter. This is a short knife with curved blade like a raptor’s beak. In an instant, this gentleman snatched a linoleum cutter from his belt, reached across my face, and put the curved blade to Jiggs’ throat.

The standard linoleum cutter... 
(Illustration courtesy of Wikipedia -- Click to enlarge)

“Shut the fuck up.” he said. He then retracted the cutter like it was on a spring. This entire transaction took a tenth of a second.

Jiggs neither moved nor spoke for the rest of the night. I was amazed.

This bar in Jersey City was one of my first stops when I picked up my 1975 Kawasaki H-2. It was still early (about 6pm) when I pulled up, the bike sounding like a chainsaw on steroids. I was finally to be recognized as a bar biker. The guys started filtering in about an hour later, when a bruiser named “Scratch” pounded to a stop on a Harley that moved on a surge of thunder. He’d been gone for a few months.

“Who’s the douche with the pile of Japanese shit out at the curb,” he demanded. “The fuckin’ thing looks like a raspberry popsicle.”

“Easy,” said Vinnie, the bartender. “That’s Reep’s bike. He’s Bobby’s friend. He don’t fucking know any better. Tell him it looks nice.” And that was how I learned that I was regarded in this saloon as “Bobby’s peculiar friend, Reep, who didn’t know any better.”

It was utterly distressing that Vinnie and Scratch had this conversation, shouting over a juke box, three feet from me. But I had a new nickname: “Reep,” even though it was somewhat synonymous with being slightly retarded. Oddly enough, a number of the Mac-Pac think of me in the same light.

Author’s Notes:

Note #1 -- Of the 17 regulars who used to hang around in this place, 14 were dead before their mid-forties. A certain percentage were dead in their thirties. None were killed in motorcycle accidents nor shot by the police. They died of "party" related causes. Not all of them succumbed to overdoses. Some lingered for a while. When my friend "Bob" was admitted to the hospital for the last time, he told no one. He didn't want his friends to see how the mighty had fallen. He died in quiet obscurity. You had to stand in line at the funeral home to see him off. 

As it turns out, there was a distinct advantage to not being a bone fide member of Jersey City café society. I got to write about these guys. 

Note #2 -- I eventually gave up attempting to be something that I wasn’t and concentrated on being a writer. This got me far more respect than I ever dreamed of in this place, and the friendship of some of the most amazing people that I have ever met.

Note #3 -- Bobby P. called me one night and asked me to swing by and get him at his place. I pulled up on the Kawasaki 750 Triple and handed him one of my metallic red helmets.

“Only a douche would wear something like this,” said Bobby P.

He rummaged around in a closet and found a 1950’s “Steve Canyon” Air Force Helmet, with the “bug eyes” visor that dropped down at the touch of a button.

Note #4 -- Bobby P. and I were in a sleazy joint at the “Transfer Station” in Union City, NJ one night. The place had seven customers: Bobby P., myself, and five guys on Harleys. We were there as Bob was in the process of sweet-talking an exotic dancer out of her g-string. My attention was focused on one of her pole-dancing colleagues, whose had the unique ability to accept single dollars, with both hands behind her back.

I was in love.

The other customers failed to appreciate the deeper, more esoteric nature of this lady’s talent, and were becoming rowdy. This caused her to move to my end of the bar, and to dance over my cocktail exclusively. I concluded that we were a match made in heaven. This rush to judgement may have been somewhat premature, as the one of the other guys assumed a rather threatening posture.

“Have you got my back,” I asked Bobby P.

“Sure,” he replied, without looking up.

I was about to say something genuinely clever, when I felt a hand grab the collar of my shirt and jacket, prior to dragging my ass out into the street.

“Are you out of your mind,” screamed Bob. “Those guys were the (insert the name of a bloodthirsty biker’s group still very much active today). They’d have ripped your arm off and beaten me to death with the bloody stump.”

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2009
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac-Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)


Electra Glide In Blue said...

Jack, I'm laughing so fucking hard I can't hardly type. Thank God for the Bobby P.'s from back in the day.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Electra Glide In Blue:

Bobby P. looked like a Visigoth, but it never stopped him from his life's work. I was in a bar one night, when he started chatting up some beauty. Now she wanted none of it, but he had a way of introducing intrigue. She asked him what he did for a living, and he made it clear that he didn't want to discuss it, as it was his night off and he prefferred not to bring his job into the bar.

Well he had her interest, and she kept prying. So, he said, "If you must know... I'm the head chef for Air France."

There was never a more incongruous statement ever made. He couldn't speak a word of French. The extent of his knowledge of French cuisine was limited to fries. She said "Really?"

And Bob said "Oui."

I was three stools away and heard the entire exchange. Bob was amazing.

Fondes regards,
Jack "r"

sgsidekick said...

Nice trip back to your past. Sounds like you do meet the most interesting folks in your life! I'm always astounded that we've all managed to survive our childhoods and younger adult years! Thanks for the trip!

redlegsrides said...

Jack you sure led a colorful life back then. I used to wonder how the hell I managed to survive my younger years before I got out of college; now I see I led but a tame life when compared to yours.

I say that, while mentioning I was raised in Miami when one could go to the local canals and go plinking with ones firearms. Ever had a flare shot across your bows while driving by some "buddy" of yours? Then there was that fellow cadet with the artillery simulator in the dorm. Army ROTC: Fun times.

Shall we call you Reep now?


Unknown said...

Mr Reep:

you're a rebel disguised in sheep's clothing. Get rid of that K75 and find a BSA, Norton or Harley somewhere and relive your childhood

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

mq01 said...

wow, what a flashback Jack. i enjoyed this. i can just imagine what kind of shit you would get yourself into...and i can't wait to hear more.

ps, some of those word links are quite funny too...the woman wrestler, lol.

John said...

Its always nice to have a friend who can get you into trouble, and out of it just the same. everyone needs a Bobby P when they are younger, if they want to stay alive.

Anonymous said...


This deserves an introduction to the editor of the new motorcycle magazine that specializes in older stuff. Your column in this magazine would cause it to leap off the shelves. I'm going to see if I can scare up Mitch Boehm and have him look at your stuff. Peter Egan, beware.

Big Jim

Grandad 43 said...

Jack: I can just picture you walking into one of those bars and hearing everyone say in unison, "Reep"
Just like Norm on "Cheers"
I know in reality, that was not going to happen.

Grandad 43
PS 14

While howling with laughter, Ihor said...

Ah, the old days rear their towsled heads!! Bob was indeed a unique fellow. I immediately recalled _Wedding Reception One_ and the garrelous "YES" that erupted from Bob as Helen and I approached our table. I also remember that the sport of 'Apartment Squirrel Hunting' was invented by Bob. Would that such a Socrates enlighten the current crop of youth, the future would be secure!! Or at least secured with wire ties and a hood.

Also of note, Ihor said...

Don't forget to share a tale of 'The Party House' exploits with the more daring of your readers. Only the strong and resilient need apply, fair warning to you all!!!!

Conchscooter said...

You could get a triumph you poseur you-
Love Badger
(currently riding a bmw K1200S. Oh unhappy douche!

BMW-Dick said...

A fun piece of writing and reading. It brought back a few memories from my "hanging out at bars" days when valor was poured from a Scotch bottle, and acting out aggression meant running like hell.

irondad said...

So, if you had a Bobby P to follow today, would your street name be changed to peep? That would make you one his peeps and someone who likes to peep at pole dancers. Seems fitting.

One of the best bar fights I ever had was in New Braunfels, Texas. September of 1986. Some gal at a bar was flirting with me so I bought her a drink and then danced with her. Pretty soon a guy with a huge belt buckle, which probably served as a tombstone to a dead animal, came up to me. He told me to stop messing with his woman.

So I asked him if she had his brand on her butt. Being in Texas, and all, you know. Then I asked her to let me take a look. She turned her rump to me and gave me that excited, willing look. So I reached around her and unbuttoned her jeans. I got them a couple of inches down when the guy went nuts. He also had a few buddies. I don't know if they were loyal to him or pissed at me because I got to unbutton what they had been dying to.

Anyway, Army and cop training paid off. Mostly because the bartender called the cops who sided with me.

Why don't we still do those things, Jack?

MackBeemer said...

I can't wait for the book to be finished.

Marvelous stuff, Jack.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sgsidekick (Tena):

This isn't one tenth of the trouble I've gotten into with Bob. Nor is it one one/hundreth of the "Bob" stories. And I readly admit that I have some done some of the stupidest things in my life -- for no apparent reason.

But man, did I have fun.

Thank you for reading and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r"

Jack Riepe said...

Charlie6 (Dom):

This was a story that encapsulated a handful of events that occupied about 45 minutes in my former life. But I must have spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars in that bar. And if I had one more laugh for each, I'd be a wealthy man forever.

Looking back, there were weekends involving guns, women, rum, rock, and motorcycles. Fast bikes and faster women, as I recall. Quite frankly, I wouldn't mind reliving another one of those... Just once.

This episode was directly directly from a book I am writing, and hope to finish this year. I hope you really did like it. I ran it here as a kind of weathervane.

Years ago, my secretary said she always knew how to handle my calls. They ones that asked for "John" got put on hold. The ones that asked for "Johnnie" were women I wanted to talk to under any circumstances. People who asked for "Jack" got a priority. But anyone asking for "Reep" was royalty.

Yoi can call me "Reep" if you like.

Thank you for reading and for writing in -- one more time.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r"

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

The K75 has a lot of rebel in it. But it is a rebel of the most reliable sort. It starts in two seconds... Burns no oil... And causes me no aggravation. And in truth, that H2 Kawasaki ran much better than most of the other bikes of that era. It just sounded like shit and left a smokescreen everywhere.

There was an occasion when I found myself riding with a Harley and a Norton. Tha Kawasaki Triple left them in the dust everytime. It also started on the first or second kick, and had the choke on the handlebars.

They just should have offered it black... And black only. They should have called the bike "Treachery."

Fondest regards,
Jack "r" for Reep.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mq01:

I'm glad you got a laugh out of my latest post. I regret to report it was all true. The best part about being a little "odd" in that bar is that no one ever picked a fight with me.

But I could never get a date with a woman in there either. I asked a woman to meet me there once. She was a real fire cracker, but from far out in the suburbs. She got there before me, and the whole bar went silent.

When she asked for me, they were dumdfounded.

When I got there 15 minutes later, Vinnie had mixed her some fancy cocktail, had two napkins spread out for a tablecloth, and had a candle on the bar.

I walked in, gave her a kiss, looked around, and said, "I knew this was a mistake."

They were amazed that she didn't know I drank. Bob said to me, "Not knowing that you drink is like not knowing that I say 'fuck.'"

Thank you for reading and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r"

Jack Riepe said...

Dear John C.

The world was a better place with "Bob" in it. In his later years, he became a union organizer and dedicated a lot of his time on behalf of the homeless. But he was a Visigoth to the end. Bob had a sense of consciousness that belonged in the "Grapes of Wrath."

There isn't a day that I don't miss him.

Thank you for reading and for writing in.
Fondest regards,
Jack "r"

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Big Jim:

This was one of the nicest comments I have received on this blog. I was even more amazed that you copied me in on the letter to the publisher. I think it would be amazing, and highly gratifying, if this guy read my stuff and gave me a call.

It was great seeing you at breakfast yesterday.I'm not sorry I rode in, but I did get soaked on the ride home, as it was raining pretty steadily.

Todd Trumbore is doing an antique run on October, and has asked Bregstein and I to serve as judges. We accepted. He usually has two sidecar rigs in that run. You could be a third.

Thanks again for reading my crap and for sending in that letter to the publisher.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r"

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Grandad 43:

I won't tell you what they used to yell when I walked in. But it was pretty graphic. Looking back, it's hard to believe that all those guys are dead. They add new meaning to the expression, "Live hard... Die fast."

But it was great while it lasted.

Thanks for reading this tripe and telling me that you like it.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r"

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

I forgot that all the people who read this blog, you actually met "Bob." Come to think of it, ADK (Chris Wolfe) met Bob too. Bobby and I walked into a saloon in Upper Jay, where Chris was tending bar. It was sugar season, and the regulars were all in there wearing their plaid flannel jackets and snap-up hunting caps.

Bob looked around and said, "What the hell is this, an Elmer Fudd convention?" I thought Chris was going to piss himself.

You're one of the few people whose been calling me "Reep" for years. Roy gave me a buzz yesterday. He started the call with, "Hey Fatty."

Fondest regards,
Jack "r"

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conch:

While you will be glad to get the Triumph back, it will feel like Defeat after riding that BMW. I expect you will piss and moan about all the gadgets, the srewy turn signals, the lightning-like acceleration, and the incredilbe power of the Beemer.

But you and I both know what bike you'll be riding in your dreams.

I am anxious to know if you've gotten your helmet back yet. Have great fun. This adventure of yours will trump any of mine this year.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r" Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

Now valor pours out of a Geritol bottle and adventure means getting a look at cleavage when the waitress bends down to take your order -- which you are deliberately whispering.

Dick, we will wow them once again with our ride to Tennessee, which is only 3 weeks away. Hot shit, huh? That West Virginia ride will be a mere starter for the real adventure ahead. I can hardly wait!

Fondest regards,
Jack "r"

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Iron Dad:

If Bob were still around today, my name would be Hardonius Erectus, and we'd be flirting with certain death from the shadows of Bankok to the shores of Lake Titicaca.

Bob would be riding a Harley, and still telling me I had to work harder at not being a douche.

The reason why we no longer do the things we used to do in pursuit of a good time, is that our bodies will no longer slide, crawl, or drop with the same degree of flexibility required to escape. Furthermore, we have discovered that we are invisble to 25-year-old women, who wear those little black slinky things. So what's the point?

It's comforting to know that guys like yourself not only understand my need to tell these stories, but have several in which you wear the title "the defendant" proudly.

Thank you for reading and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r"

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mack:

You're in the book. (Insert sinister laugh here.)

Thank you for reading my crap, and for providine me with some of it.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r"

Recollectingly, Ihor said...

There was a bar in Upper Jay?? Was it the shack-like semi-subterranean sty you and I happened upon one fishing trip? Speaking of Fudd, I recall a place we entered on a hunting trip where my plus-4's were noted with envy. Was that in the High Peaks or was it near Wells? It was back when you were known to all who cared to compliment you as 'High Peaks Reep', and to everyone else as 'Where's Reep?', to which the refrane was 'Late or dead or helping Bill paint a refrigerator'. Never say that I'm not your Boswell.
I'll be going north on Thursday with Z to continue work at Drones Cottage. While there I'll occasionally bend an ear in hopes of catching the rhythm of Bavarian pistons, filling the valley with their sophisticated tone. And later as I sit with a cold drink and a rare steak I'll ask the forlorn woods, bathed in the day's waning light, 'Where's Reep?'. Only the crickets and other night creatures will reply. Did I mention that there'll be Scotch?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

I have a yen to visit the ADKs under strange circumstances. I could head up that way if I get a clear Monday.


Ihor said...

Do come up, you are always welcome to watch me work. Bet either weekend will be a fine trip. Watch out for the weather and I'll put a candle in the window.

Allen Madding said...

But if we were to begin calling him "reep", it should be lowercase. Lest we forget.

Glad to know read of your chivalry. Defending the princess dancing over your cocktail. Hopefully, she didn't refill your glass in the process.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Madding:

I don't know about the bars in your neighborhood... But we'd have to pay extra for that.

Thabkyou for reading my blog, and for commenting.

Fondest regards,

ADK said...

Jack, When are you coming to visit?

Bob P and Riepe walked into my bar one night, had a few drinks, and insulted me roundly for an hour or two. Bob was the kind of guy who looked like he could really take care of himself, but when four or five locals walked through the door, arriving straight from 'work', which typically included a five bar crawl before settling down to some serious drinking, I was more than a little nervous. It took Bob P about two minutes to size up the competition when he said, "What the fuck is it, lumberjack night or something. Does everybody wear plaid around here"? And then he giggled like a schoolgirl while looking straight across the bar at the newcomers. The four loggers leaning on the bar corner stopped talking immediately and stared directly at Bob P. Bob stared straight back and held thier gazes for about ten straight seconds, smiling all the while.

I held my breath.

Riepe went to the bathroom.

Then, with nothing but utter contempt in his voice, Bob P turned his shoulder to the foursome and said, quite plainly, "Jesus Christ". Not one of those guys said a word or made a move.

Bob was a character alright!

Riepe, you're still a wuss, albeit one with a gift for the story.

Allen Madding said...

This sounds quite close to an situation I survived in high school. Three of us were riding in a buddies four wheel drive pickup on Saturday night. As we rode thru town we noticed 7 or 8 large high school football players from out of town standing in the city parking lot. So the yahoo driving the truck turned into the parking lot. Shut off the truck, got out and hollered, "these boys are going to kick your a$$es" and the promptly crawled under the truck.

We stood around the truck kicking him and telling him to get out. The large out of town football players assisted with kicking him and laughing.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Madding:

The difference between the two situations is that "Bob" would have directly challenged the football toughs himself, and kicked the first two in the balls before being ovecome by the mob.

He was insane when it came to the offensive. And man. was he well-read, funny, and sarcastic.

Thank you for reading my tripe, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
"reep" Toad

cpa3485 said...

When I was in the 9th grade I was 5'11" tall and weighed 120 lbs, Long and skinny so to speak. Bcause of this I knew early on that trying to earn credentials woth people that frequented bars or liked to fight was not advisably in my future.
I told a friend of mine one time that I wanted to fight this other guy who was shorter than me, but stocky, a good wrestler, and I wouldn't have stood a chance. He told the other guy that if I ever tried to fight him, to just pick me up and throw me in the bushes. (He was watching out for me and knew I didn't have a chance either.) My claim to fame was that I was very fast, and could out run just about anybody. That became my defense mechanism.

Based upon this story, you at the least have some credentials. I think we all aspire to things we know better about.
Great story, Jack.

Cantwell said...


At least he went to the bathroom and not piss himself at the bar.


Steve Williams said...

Wow. You did live a colorful life. I lived this kind of stuff more vicariously or through looking at magazines up in a treehouse. I do remember putting my best friend's brother up on a pedestal though when I was 13 or so. He dropped out of high school, joined a biker gang in Pittsburgh, was always stoned or with his amazing girlfriend, and had a chopper. I even had the pleasure of having dinner at their house when a call came from the police that Bobby(that's really his name) had been arrested again for trying to buy morphine (again) with a fake prescription.

He's in a nursing home now. Some bad guys threw him down some stairs without a helmet and hurt his gourd.

He doesn't seem as heroic anymore.

I guess I'm glad I was a ping pong player instead of a biker.

I did get to the Nationals at Cobo Hall though...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485:

My usual tactic for resisting a beating calls for curling up into a ball and waiting until the kicking stops. In the martial ars, this is known as the mighty armadillo defense. It is highly respected.

I'm riding to New Jersey today, about 200 solo miles. I will be wearing a BMW "Sturgis" shirt, and I dare anybody to kick my ass.

Thank you for reading and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r"

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Cantwell (Mike):

Don't listen to Chris. What does he know? Actually, I'm hoping the three of us get a chance to ride this summer.

Right now, my plans all focus on Tennessee. I'm starting to get ready now.

You are the author of my next "guest" blog.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r"

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve:

Color my life with rum. I am fortunate to have known some of the most colorful characters in a mosaic that seems to have a life of its own. And it only get better.

The trick is to just take a taste -- and not swallow.

Thank you for reading my tripe and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r" Toad

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Interesting group of pals. I'm impressed with the writing--as always-- and can appreciate the fun such a tight group of friends engender. This felt like, to me, peeking in on a male only tale, the kind that some men sit around and share among themselves. Thanks for the fly on the wall-like experience. Very interesting...

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sharon:

You have a poor way of covering up the fact that you are horrified by stories like this. The truth is that I once was a primal male, and not always the Renaisance gent i am now. Yet even as a primal male, I was so far down on the food chain that the women I pursued occasionally beat the shit oout of me too.

At some point in the next ten days, I am going to write a piece called "My Final Dream Biker's Weekend." It was raise the bar for ribald. I would urge you to give that one the pass. How are your plans coming for Tennessee?

Fondes regards,
Jack "r"

Anonymous said...

An interesting and enjoyable read. A great insight into your 'formative' years!

I'm considering that same trip to Tennessee in a two weeks. Maybe I'll see you there.

Frank from BuRP

Canajun said...

Great story Jack. Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

Photographs of stoned houses in your neighbourhood. In italics under each image "click to enlarge." Why?

I thought Reep was attempting to lose mass before the BMW MOA rally...enlarge indeed!

Mind being older in chronological years and therefore much bigger can well understand your now takes all night what you used to do all night.

When you do get to the rally, look up my young at heart friend Holly Ralph, she is involved with the BMW environmental group.

She'll explain why I find it difficult to ride a motorcycle, of any size these days; they're all too damn small!

As to bar inebriation problem; anything larger than you and equally intoxicated has a somewhat better chance of besting you.

Have been in a few altercations in and out of bars, and I don't play
nice. The human anatomy can be bent in unusual directions with some persuasion.

Sort of like riding a smaller motorcycle without proper suspension; hint, hint.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Frank (From The BuRP)

It would be great to run inti yiou at the BMW Rally in Tennessee next week. I'm staying at the Jamespn Inn, within a couple of miles of the rally site.

I'm heade out again on Friday, but plan to spend some time in the beer tent.

I'm glad you liked the story.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Canajun:

Glad you got a rise out of this piece.

Thanks for reading and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r" Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bryce:

As large as I am, tyhe BMW K75 is actually a good choice for me. It is a stable raiding platform that has no problem holdig 80 or 90 miles per hour all day.

The difficulty is that pegs are high to facilitate high speed turns. Being fat, my knees splay out the higher I pull them up. The trick is to get lighter and slay them out less.

As gar as bar altercations go, as I said in the story, I had my last fight when I was 14-years-old, and that girl bat the shit out of me.

Thank you for reading and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack "R"