Douglas Winslow Cooper and Brian Maher
“Dad, I’d like to buy a motorcycle. OK?”
“Over my dead body, Rick. Better my dead body than yours.”
“Let me tell you a story. Your Uncle Chris had a best friend in college, Bert. Funny guy, nice guy. Our family loved him, and Chris did, too. They kept in touch after college, later saw each other only rarely because they lived far apart.
“While Uncle Chris was in graduate school, he got the shocking news that Bert and Bert’s girlfriend were killed riding a motorcycle. A truck stopped suddenly right ahead of them, and when Bert braked, the motorcycle skidded, sliding under the truck rear, with the riders running into the back of the truck, killing them instantly.”
“It has been about thirty years since it happened, and Chris still thinks of it, still is saddened by it. Bert’s family was devastated, as were his girlfriend’s relatives. Death of your child, your spouse, your best friend– these are shocks you never fully get over.”
“I’d be careful.”
“Careful is not enough. With only two wheels for control and guidance, you are in trouble if even only one of them hits a pothole or a large bump or a greasy patch, which may have happened in Bert’s case. I know from riding a bicycle that having one of the wheels rub against a ridge is enough to cause a spill.”
“True. That’s happened to me.”
“As an EMT, I have gotten called to some of these accidents. Even with helmets on, motorcyclists are easily injured in incidents that a car’s passengers would walk away from unharmed. Hospital wards for paraplegics and quadriplegics are populated largely by war veterans and ex-motorcyclists. I will not allow you to get a motorcycle, and that is final.”
That put an end to the motorcycle discussion.
Many things are exciting because they are dangerous. The following year, at Rick’s graduation, there was a short memorial speech and a moment of silence for two of his classmates who were killed, not in a motorcycle accident, but in a car crash.
The old saying that applies? “Better safe than sorry.” Or perhaps a new one, “Four wheels are better than two.”
One of our fifty such instructive short stories for young readers.
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