Flags And Creepiness

Some things just give me the creeps, dear worst-reader. Like, for example, thoughts of whether or not I should still be riding. I gave up motorcycling about ten years ago. Mostly because of finances but also because of, well, it was time. I’m proud to say that when I stopped riding bikes, my last bike wasn’t a puss ride. No rag-tag motorised couch for me to take me into retirement, i.e. no Hardly Drive-able (aka Harley Davidson) to fatboy-super-glide me off into the sunset. No. I didn’t go out with a whimper when I stopped riding. Every bike I owned up to that point was a betterment of the previous machine. That is: each bike was more sportier than the last. My last bike was an Aprilia Mille and it was the best bike I’d ever owned. It was a ninety-degree one-thousand c.c. v-twin packing about hundred and twenty horses and redlining at ten and half thousand RPMs. When I gunned it, horizons would snap shut. When I hit the brakes, gravity readjusted to accommodate me. And when I was just cruising down the highway and accidentally ran over the remains of roadkill, let’s say a squirrel, the suspension on that bike was so good not only did I know I just ran over a squirrel but I also knew what nuts he ate for lunch. (Ok. Enough. This worst-post is about something more than silly motorcycle suspension. Or?)

Speaking of motorcycle suspension… and creeps.

As good as the front forks were on my Aprilia, the rear suspension had room for improvement. When buying suspension for a sportbike there really is only one option: Öhlins. The only problem is Öhlins products are very expensive. My dealer recommended a different product that wasn’t as well known as Öhlins but was just as good and, more importantly, was better priced. Ok, I thought, after looking over the shock. There was just one very serious problem with buying such a product: It’s name. It was made by a company called White Power. “It’s called what,” I asked my dealer. “White Power”, he said. “The company is from Austria and they are really, really great,” my dealer continued, pushing, wanting to close the deal. I paused for a few moments and looked back at the Öhlins shock that was priced three hundred Euros more and thought: I can’t have anything on my dream motorcycle named “white power”. So I turned to the dealer, thanked him for his help, said I’ll think about it, and then went out the door. I drove my bike home and decided to stay with the stock rear shock–until I could afford the Öhlins.

I was born and raised in the southern part the state of Maryland, USA. Maryland is an odd place. It’s odd because it is sandwiched between two of the most important states in the union, plus it boarders the nation’s capital, Washington DC. To its north is Pennsylvania, to its south is Virginia. My stepfather was raised in rural PA where I subsequently spent much of my youth visiting his family or just taking vacations there. As I got older, due to other circumstances, I spent more time in VA, even living in Norfolk for a while. And here’s the thing. Nomatter where I was outside of MD I was neither a Yankee or a Confederate–even when I tried to claim being southern by telling argumentative and über-proud Virginians that, according to the landmark known as The Mason Dixon Line, I was definitely from the south. Not that I was trying to make any claim toward the confederacy that gave #americant its greatest and most deadly conflict–from which it obviously still hasn’t recovered. No. I’m not a southerner. But I’m most certainly not a yankee. And so. Other than the proximity of my birth and a designation of citizenship, I always pretty much considered myself a skeptic when it comes to cultural heritage. For I have learned that between Virginia and Pennsylvania there is a whirlwind of hate and bigotry that in every way rivals what one can find in the darkest corners of Mississippi, Alabama and now, of course, South Carolina.

Which brings me to flags … and more creepiness.

Last year I was in VA. I was visiting my sister who lives there. One of the things that’s really hard for me to adjust to is how people can still wave that flag. And they not only wave it, they wave it proudly. You know what flag I’m talking about, don’t you worst-reader? I hate that flag. Heck, even in Europe, in Germany, I sometimes see that flag. It’s on bumper stickers or on license plate holders–sometimes it feels like its always on some young white man’s rear truck window. Drive through certain parts of all of America and it waves in front yards, it waves in your face. And it always gives me the creeps. It gives me the creeps because I know what connects that flag to so many people around the world. I grew up in its confusion, its bigotry, its… hate. Even today, in places like Virginia, USA, or Dortmund, Germany, or Charleston, SC, if you ask someone why they wave that flag their answer is (and can only be) a cesspool of creepiness. People lay claim to that flag as though whatever they say obfuscates what it truly means and represents. And that’s not enough. Not only do these people wave that flag but they wave other flags, too, like flags from apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia. White power. Holy cow! That kid who shot up that church looks like he’s twelve years old and yet he waves flags as though he is capable of understanding what they truly mean for humanity. Where does a twelve year old learn that kind of stuff? Could it be he learns it from people still stuck in the fact that they lost because, well, they deserved to lose. Hate deserves to lose. And I hate them because they can’t stop hating. OYG! Wow.

Good luck. Rant on. -Tommi

Links that motivated this post:

Girl Scouts Speak Out About Animal Abuse And Then Are Abused Because Of Their Skin Color | Think Progress

The Big Bang Theory, Season 6, Sheldon’s ‘Fun With Flags’ | YouTube

Flying The Flag Of Hate | NYT

No Jokes After Another Shooting | HuffPost

He And What Poison Was Put In His Head Planned This Even | HuffPost