While browsing the internet the other day, I came upon a ghost from my past: The Huffy Bandit. My first bike. The most ridiculous of bikes. The Edsel of bikes.
It was the early 1980's, and all of my friends were getting bikes. BMX was the buzzword of the the day, though none of us was actually involved with Boy's Motorcross. My best friend, Aaron, had a bike called "Gold Fever." He told me it was a disco bike. I saw no reason to doubt him -- like I said, it was the very early 80's.
So, when my parents finally agreed to get me a bike, this was what they came home with. Almost. Mine also had a long, trapezoidal shaped seat. It looked like a black pound cake. There were, literally, dozens of boys, about my age, in the neighborhood where I grew up, we all got bikes about the same time. Only I rode the Huffy Bandit.
As an aside, the bike was supposedly inspired by the "Smokey and the Bandit" movies. Remember that highlight of cinematic history -- when the biggest name in the world was Burt Reynolds?
See those uniquely curved handle bars? The combination of the bars and the elongated seat made it possible to do NOT ONE COOL TRICK!!! I couldn't wheelie, I couldn't jump. The most spectacular feat I ever accomplished on the Bandit was to try and navigate a dip on a dirt road, and fall on my face. It was a lot like riding on the back of mentally challenged moose. But, not as graceful.
I blame my parents. It' obvious, looking back, that they are to blame for the dork that I am today. You should have seen the way they let me dress back then: cowboy boots and guns, a space helmet and a superman cape. Yes, I was dressing myself at that point, but they had the power to stop it, and they did NOTHING! I believe it was a conspiracy.
Proof you ask? I submit my final exhibit:
About the same time as the Huffy Bandit Affair, as it has come to be known, the kids in the neighborhood were getting roller skates -- the pre-roller blade kind. These were the skates with the plastic wheels, and the big rubber stopper on the end of the toe. The kind that made the quiet whooooooooshing sound, when you rode them down the street. Naturally, I wanted some too.
Christmas that year was the only Christmas, of my childhood, that I distinctly remember there being no snow. A perfect Christmas for roller skates, and, on Christmas morning, I got roller skates. With metal wheels. And no brakes. Naturally, I was the only one so blessed.
Do you know the sound of metal scraping along pavement? It's like a cow bell around your neck. It's a dork alarm, so that everyone knows when you're coming.
I'm not bitter though.