Thursday, June 27, 2013

Oh say can you see ...

My eyes - if you can then my hair's too short.

I used to love that line from that song.  I was a little kid and there was this crazy "rock" song from a musical called "Hair".  It was about "hair" I'm guessing.  I never actually saw the musical.  I don't think I ever heard any songs from it other than "Hair."  Maybe I did.  As far as I know there are like 4 or 5 big hits from "Hair." If somebody told me, I'd be like, wow, I never knew that song was from "Hair"
All Vietnam era counter culture posters were required by law to
have some sort of mirror imaging or reflection going on

I don't know what the musical is about other than what I can gather from what I remember of that one song. I'm assuming that there were all of these peace loving rebellious hippie types that just wanted to grow out their hair.  They were thinking that it didn't matter to anyone else how they wore their hair.

Then I figure they ran into all sorts of trouble for refusing to wear their hair like "the good little boys and girls."  There were probably a couple of emotional pleas at job interviews or something.  I imagine that a song about qualifications should matter more than crew cuts or something.  Maybe that "sign, sign everywhere a sign" song is in it because there's that one line in the song where they say, "Long haired freaky people need not apply"

Then the guy goes in and pulls a fast one at the interview by tucking his hair under hat.  I've always wondered why the interviewer was so impressed with a guy who wears a hat to the interview, but I guess it was either the 60s or 70s.

Either way hair was really popular back then. That's one of the reasons that Jesus had a bit of a comeback at that time.  The hippies saw a guy who was going up against the establishment, wearing his hair long, and feeding people for free.  So what did the Vietnam era artists do about it?  Why they made another rock opera, of course.
Rebellious sideways mirror image compliance art

Unlike "Hair" I did see "Jesus Christ SuperStar".  My buddy Greg and I used to go see it at midnight movies from time to time when we didn't want to go to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."  The funny thing is we learned it as well as we knew RHPS.  The other funny thing is that when you went to see JCSS, you had to endure the googlephonic 'S' sound from the audience.

I had the soundtrack from the movie.  There was something wrong with the master.  It didn't matter what record player I listened to it on, every time there was an "S" in the song, it came out kind of distorted.  More like an "sh."

So when Jesus is getting his foot massage on (a foot massage is nothing, by the way.  I'd give my mother a foot massage) and Judas is all "Hey that oil is expensive.  Howz about we sell it and feed the poor instead of having that whore rub your feet."  Jesus thinks fast because he's enjoying the massage.  But on the soundtrack, it sounds like he's saying "Surely your not shaying we we have the reshourshesh to shave the poor from their lot ..."

At least I always thought it was a problem with the recording.  After we went to the midnight movie, I began to wonder.  Who goes to the midnight showing of JCSS on a weekend night besides bored teenagers.  Uber fans who can't sing.  They know all the songs.  They know they can't sing.  So every single (and they're all single) person in the theater whispers along to the song quietly.  So the only thing you can hear is hundreds of people saying "s" at all the right times in the song.  The end result sounds amazingly similar to the fucked up soundtrack record.  It made me wonder if it was an accident.  Or maybe the sound on the soundtrack is from extras who loved the Broadway musical so much, they couldn't help but whisper along while it was being recorded.  Surely, the movie was way over budget (School buses and wooden beams don't grow on trees) as it was, so they were forced to go with it.

I never saw "Tommy" either.
But for all the pinball rebellion going on, There was no
getting around the Mirror image law.
Anyway, what the hell was I talking about?  Oh yeah. Hair.

So I went on the GSV ride Tuesday night.  Jack and Abe are once again on swim team.  The meets are every Wednesday night.  I don’t necessarily have to go to these, but I’d like to.  Unfortunately, that means I have to miss my beloved Wednesday Night Trek Store ride.  Sniff.

The reasons I love the Wednesday night Trek Store Ride

As far as I know, this is the hardest group ride in town.  I have never done the ride without getting dropped at some point.  Each week, I try to take something away from the humiliation to help next week.  I’ve learned more this year than in all of the years (about 12, minus 4 golfing years) of riding previously.  For the first time, I feel relatively comfortable in close quarters with other cyclists.  I am getting a feel for the flow of the paceline. 

I will typically do a few pulls and then I’m cooked, so I have to sit in for a while and catch my breath.  I assume there are attacks from time to time on this ride, but I’m generally unaware of them, due to being so far behind them.  Sometimes I’m close enough to be aware of the 78th street sprint on the way to Ft. Calhoun.

So for me, the Trek store ride is a matter of trying to survive for a couple of hours, pulling when I can and getting dropped when I can’t.  Someday, I may get to a place where I can hang with those guys on a good day.  Or maybe I won’t.

After fitness level, there are 4 things I’ve learned can have a serious impact on performance.  All of these, I've learned this year.  I’ve  pretended to pay attention to them for years but I haven’t taken any of them to heart until now.

With the same level of fitness but better preparation for a hard ride, things can go much better.  Hydration, rest and food (in that order) are the first three.  

The last one is to relax.  This one is a little harder to control than the others.  Being aware of it helps.  I recently realized that I’ve been waiting at the start line of races before and a wave of anxiety would sweep over me.  I could feel my heart race and my legs burn while just standing there. 

Now, the GSV ride.  I figured going in that it would not be as hard as the Wednesday ride.  While I was riding down to the ride, One of the GSV guys (John) caught up with me.  At my pace, which was leisurely, I was destined to get there about 15 minutes early.  I've met John before.  He's been on a couple of Trek store rides.  We were discussing what was the best strategy to get to the BK bridge with all the CWS traffic going on.  I asked John if he'd been to any of the games and his answer surprised me.  I'm used to cyclists having no interest in other sports, but John's legs are hairy, so I thought maybe.

Anyway, John said to me, "If I want to watch a bunch of guys run around with their underwear on the outside, I've got internet sites for that."

That's cool, I thought.  But I didn't really know what to say.  Also, I didn't know what it meant.  Baseball players don't wear their underwear outside the rest of their clothes, do they?  I don't really watch baseball, but I'm not getting that picture from what I have seen. 

Next down the road, Jonathan Neve went by me at great speed.  No way I felt like catching up to him.  I was enjoying cruising along and already going to be way early.  I did have the slightest twinge of concern that his effortless speed past me might be a sign that the ride would be harder than I anticipated.  Also, his legs were shorn.  

But when I got to the bridge, there were a bunch of people with hairy legs.  This is a good sign.  There were also several people there who could stand to lose a few pounds.  Not necessarily a good sign, but at least I knew there would be people behind me.  I would have someone to ride with.  Also Joe Savoie was there,  Noah was late, but he caught up to us because of all the "flats".

Seriously,  this was a dry night.  Even on rainy group rides, I've never seen so many flats.  And oh my god, they took forever to fix.  But I'm really not judging.  I was then.  But not now after having a couple of days to think about it.

I was able to cover every single "Attack." I did at least my share of the pulling.  I did not win any "Sprints" because I did not know where they were.  Plus, I didn't really know where we were going.  But I think I could have won all of them.  I had a lot more explosive power in reserve when most of these guys were spinning it up.  I was just hanging back, watching what they'd do.  Any attack on a climb, and I was there.  So it was always me and one other person at the top first.  Usually, it was this guy, Travis.

What I realized, but don't want to admit is these guys I look down on because they're not as good as the Trek Crew - they're about the same level as me.  That's how good I am.  This is actually who I should be riding with.  I have no intention of racing and it was a great, fun ride.  I had a better time on this ride than any in a long, long time.  Not that weekly humiliation of the Trek store ride isn't an absolute fucking joy.  Oh Wait - that's precisely what it isn't an absolute fucking of.

Authority figure stands, waving you away from that last train-wreck of a sentence, "Nothing to see here folks.  Move along .."

But I will go back to the Wednesday ride when swimming is over.  I will go through the weekly humiliation and try to learn to hang.  It's nowhere near as fun, but I'm not here to have fun.  Well, maybe once in a while.  

After the 6 weeks of swimming is over, maybe I will feel differently.  Maybe I'll stay with the GSV ride.  GSV is my middle name, by the way.

But most likely, I'll regularly do the asshole ride where everybody hate me (especially Shim) and occasionally go on the GSV ride for a good time. Hell, I might even shave my legs. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Best Medicine

My current lifelong quest is to solve the riddle of reaching peak cycling performance.  I have no real reason to want to do this other than I like to go on the "race pace" group ride on Wednesday. I want to be able to hang with those guys from start to finish. This has yet to happen for me.  Maybe it never will.

Whether or not I succeed in my endeavor is a little irrelevant.  It is the trying to figure out the puzzle that keeps me going.  It is possible that by the time I'm satisfied with my fitness level, I will lose interest and fall away.  I hope not, because I enjoy the benefits of having good fitness.  But I know how I am, and it is usually about the journey for me more than the destination.

Hopefully, if I ever work out how not to get dropped constantly by the group, I will realize I need to move forward from there.  Attack maybe?  Break away?  Dare to dream, Cubey.

One other thing.  I have set up some parameters to my "training" that may or may not hinder my success.

1) I will not follow a program.  I have in the past and for me, all enjoyment of cycling was gone.  I want some loose structure that will provide me with results but not so restrictive that I freak out when life interferes with my plan.  In my situation, I don't have time for a "plan".

Look, I'm not planning to fail ...

2) I currently have no interest in racing.  This is a shocker to many people, but it goes along with the "life getting in the way" thing.  For me, a Saturday or Sunday can be busy just catching up on things that fell behind during the week.  The truth is, I want to ride the bike hard, fast and often.  If Jill has something going on Saturday at any time of the day, I can usually work in a good 3 hour hard ride around that.  Especially in the Summer when I get daylight before 6 AM.  I can be back by 9 with pretty much the whole day left.  And it's free.

Let's say I decide I want to race.  I need to pay in advance or the cost is more.  Oh yeah, and it costs money.  If it rains, the race will still happen.  This will mean more hours cleaning the bike afterwards.  It increases the chances of a crash and injury or costly damage to the bike.  Next, say the race is at 10 AM in Lincoln.  I usually need to get there about an hour early.  I need to get everything in the car.  So there is a 3 hour commitment (2 hours of commuting to and from, 1 hour arrival for sign in, warm up, etc.) and none of that is racing time.  Then there is about a 2 hour race.  If I get dropped, I spend 2 hours riding alone on some boring road.  So the race becomes a 5 hour paid commitment where I get 2 hours of riding in.

After I get back home, I'm of no use to anyone.  I'm too tired.

So that's a problem because racing makes you faster and I'm not going to do that.

3) Preference to family commitments.  I touched on this in the last one, but when I've raced, I've often come home with the feeling that the weekend was wasted.  I didn't do anything with my family.  The house is in disarray because I wasn't there to help out where I could have, etc.  It leaves me feeling empty.  This is why I say I can race when I clean up my room.  I don't really care about racing when there's stuff that needs to be done around the house.  Don't get me wrong, I still postpone many of those things to get a good long ride in. But at least that whole time is spent riding.  Not sitting around waiting.

4)  Rain.  Rain is the last thing I feel I could be doing differently, but refuse.  Sure, I would like it if we could go more than 1 day in a row without a deluge that makes Noah look like a pussy.  But the farmers like it, so who am I to argue.

Say, speaking of pussy, I was on the Trek Store ride last night and Brady Murphy* showed up still sore from some sort of run in he had with nature.  Monday, we had gone-a-riding on the trails at tranquility and at some point, he sustained an injury to his ribs.  He was telling me that the pain was intense while he was swimming that morning so he didn't know how riding would be for him.  Turns out, he was not bothered much during the ride, but laughing was causing him tremendous amounts of pain.

After the regroup at the water treatment plant, we went to the airport road via the "punishing Brady" route for the team time trial around Eppley Airfield.  One rider, I don't know who he was, asked around if anyone had any water because he was out.  I had almost a full bottle of Gatorade (another of my mistakes - I should have been drinking it) that I offered him and he accepted.  When he handed it back to me, I took a big ol' swig,  a little grossed out by how slobbery the top of it was.  Oh well, I thought ...

As the pace around the airport just barely began to pick up into the stiff head wind, I was done.  Toast. With jelly for legs.

Some time later while I was riding solo on north 16th street, I got a text from Brady that he was waiting at 16th and Burt.

We rode to the U.P. because he had to get his bag.  Then he offered to fill my water bottle much like they do at the National Parks Services.  That's when I brought up my concern to Brady about letting that one guy drink from my bottle, "I hope he hasn't been eating out chicks with HPV and now I'm going to end up with some sort of pussy throat cancer or something."

But by the time I had said "eating out chicks" Brady was yelling "La-La-La-La, I am not listening to you."  Also he was in a great deal of pain.  His ribs.  Yeah.

So next we had to ride out of downtown, which is mostly uphill.  we were taking a very easy post ride pace.  On our way up the hill near Bemis park, I told Brady how I was climbing that hill one day and a lady said, "Hi Phil!"

This made Brady laugh so hard, it was like someone had grabbed his brake.  We were already going slow.  He basically could not move.  It was really fun.

For those of you who don't know Phil, you do.  It's just that his name's not Phil.

Phil is an older guy.  Older than me.  I've talked to him many times and I can tell you this.  I will never ever let him borrow my water bottle.

Up until about 2 years ago, I did no more oral hygiene than brushing my teeth twice a day.  I didn't floss.  I hadn't been to a dentist in 7 or 8 years.  There was a visible buildup of plaque on my teeth.  Particularly the front lower inside.  Then I got the gingivitis. It is a gum infection that causes bleeding and swelling.  That bleeding gum thing scared me enough that 7 months later, I went to the dentist.

After 3 visits in 6 weeks and a painful process of plaque removal that took about 3 hours, I was on the road to recovery.  I now have to go to the dentist every 3 months and make sure to maintain clean teeth.

If I hadn't decided to go to the dentist 7 months after my infected gums started bleeding.  If I had at that point figured, hey, maybe it was the brushing of my teeth that was causing the problem.  If I had just "let them go" and get worse and worse and worse, then I could understand why that woman said "Hi Phil!"

What I'm saying is Phil's teeth are gross.

So when Brady regained his composure and the pain in his ribs subsided and he rolled back up to me, I continued to talk about the woman who confused me with Phil.  I told Brady "So I said to her 'Look!'," pointing at my 'not disgusting' teeth.  Luckily, Brady has also seen Phil's teeth.  I'm not sure his bike actually went in reverse at that point, but it seemed like it.  At this point, it was easy to make him laugh because it was important that he not laugh.

I was conflicted.  I like to laugh.  I think everybody likes to laugh.  But what about when laughing hurts so bad you can barely function?  I think maybe that's why they say laughter is the best medicine.  Or maybe it's penicillin.

* Clarification:  I am not calling Brady a pussy.  I am awkwardly segueing into the story that has the subject (or is it object?) in it toward the end.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Puttin’ on the Ritz

Super Duper!

Hello handsome. You're a good looking fellow, do you know that? People laugh at you, people hate you, but why do they hate you? Because... they are jealous. Look at that boyish face. Look at that sweet smile. Do you want to talk about physical strength? Do you want to talk about sheer muscle? Do you want to talk about the Olympian ideal? You are a God.
-       Dr. Frederick Frankenstein to his “creation”

I met Lee Bumgarner last night just before the WNFW.  Brady introduced me to him (or him to me) we couldn’t recall quite which it was.  Or whether or not it mattered.  Of course I know of Lee.  He’s been winning just about every race he enters in this area.  Usually with Lucas Marshall coming in second place. 

I was surprised to note that he’s big.  Real big (for a cyclist).  I wasn’t sure what it meant for Lee to be joining our ride.  I was hoping that it wasn’t going to make things even more difficult than normal.  Either way, I didn’t expect to get a chance to witness whatever strength Lee could display because I figured to be gasping off the back somewhere. 

Now it's true that I don't know what happened at the front of the group from say, Boyer Chute to roughly Dodge Park.  I have heard tales of marvelous feats of strength, but I was back a ways on the road at that point, so the kids might just be pulling my leg.

However, I did get a first hand glimpse of Lee's strength.  It was pretty impressive.  To me, anyway.  

Not that I haven't seen great cyclists before, it's just that most of them are so much smaller than me, they're of little help protecting me from the wind.

Heading north on the trace last night, it was a pretty stiff headwind from the Northwest.  I was doing the usual.  Trying to hang on in the crazy paceline.  I think one of the things that makes it so difficult for me is the way the pace increases and decreases sporadically.  I don't mean for the hills.  I get that.  But there are some riders who do not slow down as they reach the front and move into the slower lane.  I understand that's the way it goes, but I believe it wears me out a lot quicker than if we were going at the same or even a higher speed, but more steadily.  Perhaps I'm mistaken.

Anyway, after a few times through, I was done and hoping to hang on at the back.  But I couldn't.  I could see the group slipping away.  Uh oh.  This was a fierce headwind and there were still a few miles left of the trace.  I think the group was all together at this point and as far as I knew, I was the first one dropped.  

I could only hope others would be dropped soon and I could bridge up to them and work together to minimize the "alone time" in the saddle.

As I watched them all slip from my grasp, I felt a little like Leonardo DiCaprio at the end of Titanic.  "Rose," I gasped, deliriously reaching toward the group scurrying away from me.

I dropped my head and took a deep breath, accepting my fate for the evening of mashing it alone for the next 15 minutes or so until the regroup at Ft Calhoun.

"I got ya'" said my new friend Lee.  He had been sitting several feet behind the paceline for some reason.  Of course he wasn't dropped.  He was just hanging out.

"Yeah, right," I thought.  Sure he's got me.  I was thinking that if I couldn't even hang with the group at their speed, no way I could keep up with a guy who was going to catch up to them.

I was wrong.

The first thing Lee did was not increase his speed.  He settled in at my "being dropped" speed for a moment to let me take his wheel.  After a moment, he gently increased the speed, but he is such a big guy, that I was pretty much completely shielded from the headwind.  That's why if Shim or Brady tried to help a brother out in the same way, I'd have trouble getting the appropriate shelter.  So that was cool.

So now we were going a little faster than the group I'd just been dropped from, and I was recovering.  I noticed a couple of interesting things back there.  From my vantage point, drafting behind and just to the right of Lee, the pace of the group looked slower.  Lee's cadence was probably a calm 85 or so, compared to the frantic spinning of those ahead.  This perception calmed me down and my heart rate slowed.  I recovered quicker than I thought I would.  Also - I figured out one mistake I've been making on these rides (I'm a slow learner).  In the mad panic to stay with the group as long as possible, I've been forgetting that I have several gears.  The pace increases and I will get to a cadence of about 120 or even 130 before I realize I need to shift.  

When I ride alone, I usually maintain a cadence between 95-105.  Once I started paying a little more attention to that last night, I think things went a little better.

After about 3 minutes or so, Lee had deposited me back to the group where I calmly sat in for a while and did the occasional pull, pretending I was Lee Bumgarner!  Not really.  I'll note at this point that I had a "Tenacious D" song stuck in my head, but that's all I'll say about that.  

When the attack began , I think it was Lee, Jordan, Shim, and Lucas - but I could be completely wrong.  When they went, I was feeling a little froggy and thought what the hell.  I tried to jump up to them (because that's what frogs do).  I pedaled really hard until I just caught up to them.  About that time, They got organized and rode away from me so quickly, all I could do was applaud.  

Now I was in no-man's-land for a minute until another group of 3 came by.  I don't really know who it was, but I think it was Brady, Paul Webb, and somebody else.  I tried to catch on.  Nope.  

Then Noah, Kyle and Ryan came by.  That's more like it.  We went to Ft Calhoun together, giving up about 30 seconds to the leaders. 

I don't really have a point to this post.  Just a couple of observations and notes on things I learned last night.  I don't really want this post to sound like some sort of worship of a local rider.  I was impressed with his ability as I've mentioned, and from what I saw, he seems like a really good guy.  

One small little thing.  I shouldn't even bring it up.  After all, I am guilty of being in violation of several of the rules, most notably Rule 33 (Shave your guns).  But um, Lee wears a CamelBak.  What the?

I know it's probably a good idea but on the road, it's water bottles only.  Hey, I don't write the rules.

Also, he wears it under his Jersey, which is smart but it kind of makes him look like Igor.  At first I thought he just needed to have his shoulder checked because of what looked like an abnormal (Abby Normal) growth.    Then I saw the obvious CamelBak rubber drinking hose thing sticking out of his Jersey.  Whew!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The Accidental Bluff

One time in about 7th or 8th grade, I had a revelation.  In a confrontation, people will generally back down once the threat becomes physical.

I had spent my first 7 years of School (k-6) as one of the tallest in the class.  I was never really bothered by anybody because of my height.  I was never a "tough guy" and never pretended to be.  I liked to joke around.  I liked to laugh.  I liked to make fun of people.  Back then, I had no idea that those people found it annoying.  I thought they must have seen the humor in whatever brilliant thing I was saying at their expense.  Of course I was wrong.  What I didn't learn until after I left the small elementary school, was that people didn't really get in my face about my mean jokes because they were afraid of me.  Learning this surprised me more than the idea that they didn't think it was hilarious how I cleverly made fun of them.

So putting it together - I was bigger than them (though I was unaware of it) and I made fun of them (thinking we were all in on the same joke).  They were afraid of me and allowed me to "bully" them for fear of some violent retribution.  Wow, you can really learn a lot about yourself by writing it down.  So I suggest you do it before I kick your ass!  Seriously.  I was just kidding.  Oh stop crying you big bawl baby!  Jeez!

Oh sorry - just slipped into my 5th grade comedy routine for a minute.

Once I got to Jr. High School (Lewis and Clark), there were many bigger kids there.  Not only were there kids my age that were bigger than me, but now I was in some classes with older, bigger kids.  I was naturally afraid of them, but didn't know yet that my unique brand of ridicule humor was not universally (or otherwise) loved.  People were getting mad at my jokes and letting me know about it.  There were confrontations where I was not only completely confused about the reason for the aggression, but I was also forced to back down.

This was when I learned I could turn the jokes toward myself and people would be ok with it.  I just wanted to make jokes.  I was clumsy at first, but after time I was able to smoothly invert my criticism.  The first efforts were along the lines of, "Wow - I'm pretty sure I pissed myself on the bus this morning.  And by "I" I mean "Todd" and by "myself" I mean "himself."  I'm here through Thursday!"

Still - there were people who wanted to fight me.  I did not want to fight.  It seemed the more I made it known that I had no desire to fight, the more people wanted to fight me.  So that was an easy enough equation.  I figured that the more willing I was to fight, the less people would want to fight me.  This tactic usually worked, but I tried to extend it too far.  One day, I was running through the double doors that exited the school gym toward the showers.  I threw open the door into a very big, very strong, very mean 9th grader.  The man's name was Rufus.  I call him a man because to me, he was.  He had been held back a couple of years and had a full beard.  Rufus looked at me with deadly intent.  I was in the 8th grade and was skinny and at least a head shorter than Rufus.  I was terrified.  I panicked.  I said, "Excuse me, I'm sorry."  Which made Rufus look even madder.  So I figured my only hope was to employ my fake "in your face" approach.  I followed my apology up with a brilliant "Mother Fucker!"

For the next couple of days, while I was home from school, recovering from my injuries, I had time to consider where precisely I'd gone wrong.  My calling Rufus a "Mother Fucker" had obviously been an error in judgment, but I was not (and still am not) positive it would have gone differently had I not.  My opinion is that my apology was sufficient and would have been graciously accepted by Rufus without the "Mother Fucker" appended - but I can't be sure.

So there was still work to do.  My goal was to avoid any and all fights.  I was beginning to realize that there were times when a clever bluff can work well in your favor, but the slightest misjudgment can exacerbate the problem.

In the end, my usual tactic is back down.  Drop it.  Walk away amidst considerable derision.  Occasionally, the fight seems worth it, and I'll stand up for whatever.  But at least 90% of the time fists are in the equation, I will submit.

So the tools at my peacekeeping disposal by the time I was 18 were,
1) making fun of myself instead of others.
2) bluffing that I was interested in fighting.
3) backing down from any actual fights that I may be about to get into.
4) not having a hot girlfriend.

Wait.  What was that last one?

One time I was in this bar with a couple of friends that were girls.  Not my girlfriends.  We were all sitting around having a good little underage (20 was the legal drinking age.  At 19, I was the oldest of the 3 of us) time.  A big old (35 or so) drunk brute of a guy, who was actually more perceptive than I wanted to give him credit for, walked up to our table.  The table with the skinny dorky kid and the 2 hot chicks.  Then the guy kind of leaned his shoulder into mine and said, "You don't know how to fuck no pussy!"

At the time, I took offense to it.  Looking back on it, he may have just been trying to help. He was right, after all.  I was wasting my time with these girls, trying to be their catty friend instead of making known any physical attraction I might have had.

But since I was having fun and feeling confident and trying to be clever, I said something really stupid.  I don't mean "stupid" like Oh I shouldn't have said that.  I mean "stupid" like I was trying to be funny  but it's so dumb I hate to put it down here.  I said, "That's a double negative."

"Huh?!?", said the drunk.
"By saying I don't know how to fuck no pussy ..." and so on.

The confused irritated look from the drunk made me realize I was potentially getting into some hot water.  The jokester inside me said, "Go ahead Cube.  Call him 'Mother Fucker'"  But I was wise enough not to listen this time.

Luckily for all of us, one of the girls raised her hand which brought the bartender immediately to her aide.  Then he threw the guy out and bought us a round.  Ahh, hanging out with hot girls ...

So anyways one time I accidentally bluffed bravado.  Actually, I wasn't bluffing at all.  I had run out of options and was forced into a confrontation.  I was literally at a dead end.

My girlfriend and I were on our way over to another girl's house. I was driving.  For some reason that I've never known, two guys in some hot rod Chevelle or GTO or something became angry with me.  I honestly don't know what it was, but they were yelling and screaming at me.  I was trying to ignore them.  They were beside us, saying terribly ungentlemanly things to my girlfriend.

We were near the other girl's house, but I didn't want to lead these assholes there, so I figured I'd drive around for a while until they got bored with the game and stopped following us.  I turned off of 72nd street and unfortunately onto an unpaved dead end road.  Now I was really panicked.  The dust from the road was obscuring the headlights of the car very close behind.  There was no room to turn around or back up.  They had me.  All I could do was put off the beating for as long as possible.  No chance of bluffing now.  I drove to the end of the road and put the car in park.  My girlfriend grabbed my arm as I reached for the door handle.  "Just stay in the car" she said.  She knew I was no fighter.  "I'm going to try and apologize for whatever I've done," I said.  The girl and I were in potentially a lot of trouble.  Two angry guys and us at the end of a relatively deserted dead end road.

I got out of the car and start walking back to the guys in the car behind me.  I was sure that at any moment they would jump out and beat the shit out of me.  Then - without warning, the hot rod driver threw the car in reverse and backed out of there in a big hurry, leaving me to stand there confused and dusty.  As I watched the receding headlights, I saw the scene from the possible perspective of the people inside the Chevelle/GTO.

This guy deliberately lead us down this dark lonely dead end.  Perhaps we should get the fuck out of here.

When I got back in the car, the girl said, mockingly, "My man!"

"That's why people better not fuck with the cube,"  I said even more ironically, as I lit my cigarette and put my right arm on the seat back, so I could back the car up the cool way.  Then we laughed and laughed.