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Topic: Partially roasted coffee, now officially OT (433 lines)
1) From: Frank Parth
<Snip>
This reminds of the story that made the rounds of =
the Internet a while back about the attack =
squirrel of death. Forthose who missed it the =
first time, here it is again:
Attack Squirrel of Death
I never dreamed slowly cruising through a =
residential neighborhood could be so incredibly =
dangerous!
Studies have shown that motorcycling requires =
more decisions per second, and more sheer data =
processing than nearly anyother common activity =
or sport. The reactions and accurate decision =
making abilities needed have been likened to the =
reactions of fighter pilots! The consequences of =
bad decisions or poor situational awareness are =
pretty much thesame for both groups too.
Occasionally, as a rider I have caught myself =
starting to make bad or late decisions while =
riding. In flight training, my instructors called =
this being "behind the power curve". It is a mark =
of experience that when this begins to happen, =
the rider recognizes the situation, and more =
importantly, does something about it. A short =
break, a meal, or even a gas stop can set things =
right again as it gives the brain a chance to =
catch up.
Good, accurate, and timely decisions are =
essential when riding a motorcycleŠat least if =
youwant to remain among the living. In short, the =
brain needs to keep up with the machine.
I had been banging around the roads of east Texas =
and as I headed back into Dallas, found myself in =
very heavy, high-speed traffic on the freeways. =
Normally, this is not a problem, I commute in =
these conditions daily, but suddenlyI was nearly =
run down by a cage that decided it needed my lane =
more than I did. This is not normally a big deal =
either, as ithappens around here often, but =
usually I can accurately predict which drivers =
are not paying attention and avoid them before we =
are even close. This one I missed seeing until it =
was nearly too late, and as I took evasive action =
I nearly broadsided another car that I was not =
even aware was there!
Two bad decisions and insufficient situational =
awarenessŠall within seconds. I was behind the =
power curve. Time to get off the freeway.
I hit the next exit, and as I was in an area I =
knew pretty well, headed through a few big =
residential neighborhoods as anew route home. As =
I turned onto the nearly empty streets I opened =
the visor on my full-face helmet to help getsome =
air. I figured some slow riding through the quiet =
surface streets would give me time to relax, =
think, and regain that "edge" so frequently =
required when riding.
Little did I suspectŠ
As I passed an oncoming car, a brown furry =
missile shot out from under it and tumbled to a =
stop immediately in front ofme. It was a =
squirrel, and must have been trying to run across =
the road when it encountered the car. I really =
was not going very fast, but there was no time to =
brake or avoid it-it was that close.
I hate to run over animalsŠand I really hate it =
on a motorcycle, but a squirrel should poseno =
danger to me. I barely had time to brace for the =
impact.
Animal lovers, never fear. Squirrels can take care of themselves!
Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped to his =
feet. He was standing on his hind legs and facing =
the oncoming Valkyrie with steadfast resolve in =
his little beady eyes. His mouth opened, and at =
the last possible second, he screamed andleapt! I =
am pretty sure the scream was squirrel for, =
"Banzai!" or maybe, "Die you gravy-sucking, =
heathen scum!" as the leap was spectacular and he =
flew over the windshield and impacted me squarely =
in the chest.
Instantly he set upon me. If I did not know =
better I would have sworn he brought twenty of =
his little buddies along for the attack. =
Snarling, hissing, and tearing at my clothes, he =
was a frenzy of activity. As I was dressed only =
in a light t-shirt, summer riding gloves, and =
jeans this was a bit of a cause for concern. This =
furry little tornado was doingsome damage!
Picture a large man on a huge black and chrome =
cruiser, dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and leather =
gloves puttering maybe25mph down a quiet =
residential streetŠand in the fight of his life =
with a squirrel. And losing.
I grabbed for him with my left hand and managed =
to snag his tail. With all my strength I flung =
the evil rodent off the left of the bike, almost =
running into the right curb as I recoiled from =
the throw.
That should have done it. The matter should have =
ended right there. It really should have. The =
squirrel could have sailed into one of the =
pristinely kept yards and gone on about his =
business, and I could have headed home. No one =
would have been the wiser.
But this was no ordinary squirrel. This was not =
even an ordinary pissed-off squirrel.
This was an evil attack squirrel of death!
Somehow he caught my gloved finger with one of =
his little hands, and with the force of the throw =
swung around and with a resounding thump and an =
amazing impact he landed square on my back and =
resumed his rather anti-social and =
extremelydistracting activities. He also managed =
to take my left glove with him!
The situation was not improved. Not improved at =
all. His attacks were continuing, and now I could =
not reach him.
I was startled to say the least. The combination =
of the force of the throw, only having one hand =
(the throttle hand) onthe handlebars, and my =
jerking back unfortunately put a healthy twist =
through my right hand and into the throttle. A =
healthy twist on the throttle of a Valkyrie can =
only have one result. Torque. This is what the =
Valkyrie is made for, and she is very, very good =
at it.
The engine roared as the front wheel left the =
pavement. The squirrel screamed in anger. The =
Valkyrie screamed in ecstasy. I screamed =
inŠwellŠI just plain screamed.
Now picture a large man on a huge black and =
chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a slightly =
squirrel torn t-shirt, and only one leather glove =
roaring at maybe 70mph and rapidly accelerating =
down a quiet residential streetŠon one wheel and =
with a demonic squirrel on his back.
The man and the squirrel are both screaming bloody murder.
With the sudden acceleration I was forced to put =
my other hand back on the handlebars and tryto =
get control of the bike. This was leaving the =
mutant squirrel to his own devices, but I really =
did not want to crash into somebody'stree, house, =
or parked car. Also, I had not yet figured out =
how to release the throttleŠmy brain was just =
simply overloaded. I did manage to mash the back =
brake, but it had little affect against the =
massive power of the big cruiser.
About this time the squirrel decided that I was =
not paying sufficient attention to this very =
serious battle (maybe he is a Scottish attack =
squirrel of death), and he came around my neck =
and got IN my full-face helmet with me. As the =
faceplate closed partway and he began hissing in =
my face I am quite sure my screaming changed tone =
and intensity. It seemed to have little affect on =
the squirrel however.
The rpm's on The Dragon maxed out (I was not =
concerned about shifting at the moment) and her =
front end started to drop.
Now picture the large man on the huge black and =
chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a very ragged =
torn t-shirt, and wearing one leather glove, =
roaring at probably 80mph, still on one wheel, =
with a large puffy squirrel's tail sticking out =
his mostly closed full-face helmet. By now the =
screams are probably getting a little hoarse.
Finally I got the upper handŠI managed to grab =
his tail again, pulled him out of my helmet,and =
slung him to the left ashard as I could.
This time it workedŠsort-of. Spectacularly sort-of, so to speak.
Picture the scene. You are a cop. You and your =
partner have pulled off on a quiet =
residentialstreet and parked with your windows =
down to do some paperwork.
Suddenly a large man on a huge black and chrome =
cruiser, dressed in jeans, a torn t-shirt =
flapping in the breeze, and wearing one leather =
glove, moving at probably 80mph on one wheel, and =
screaming bloody murder roars by and with all =
hisstrength throws a live squirrel grenade =
directly into your police car.
I heard screams. They weren't mineŠ
I managed to get the big motorcycle under =
directional control and dropped the front wheel =
to the ground. I then used maximum braking and =
skidded to a stop in a cloud of tire smoke at the =
stop sign at a busy cross street.
I would have returned to fess up (and to get my =
glove back). I really would have. Really. Butfor =
two things. First, thecops did not seem =
interested or the slightest bit concerned about =
me at the moment. One of them was on his backin =
the front yard of the house they had been parked =
in front of and was rapidly crabbing backwards =
away from the patrol car.The other was standing =
in the street and was training a riot shotgun on =
the police cruiser.
So the cops were not interested in me. They often =
insist to "let the professionals handle it" =
anyway. That was one thing. The other?
Well, I swear I could see the squirrel, standing =
in the back window of the patrol car among =
shredded and flying pieces of foam and =
upholstery, and shaking his little fist at me. I =
think he was shooting me the fingerŠ
That is one dangerous squirrel. And now he has a patrol carŠ
I took a deep breath, turned on my turn-signal, =
made an easy right turn, and sedately left the =
neighborhood.
As for my easy and slow drive home? Screw it. =
Faced with a choice of 80mph cars and inattentive =
drivers, or the evil, demonic, attack squirrel of =
deathŠI'll take my chances with the freeway. =
Every time.
And I'll buy myself a new pair of gloves.
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