Reminiscing about Christmases past, this tale came to mind. As many of you know, if you were a boy growing up in the 1980s, all you wanted to be was RAD. BMX was all the rage and to stand out on the streets, you needed a kickass rig. I had little idea when I scrawled out my list to Santa one year how my world would be rocked. Like many kids, the gift I was most excited about receiving as a kid was an awesome bike which I had circled repeatedly, like a maniac, in the Sears Wish Book. It stands out in my mind so clearly because of its similarities to Ralphie’s struggle in “A Christmas Story”. It was Christmastime in the late eighties when most of our days were spent building makeshift ramps out of found plywood and not wearing helmets — a practice that surely shaped the men we are today! I was at that tender age where having a cool bike meant everything when it came to street cred in our neighborhood. Getting a new bike for the holidays definitely topped my list but keep in mind, this was no ordinary bicycle! This was the Huffy Sigma — a sweet looking gray and white BMX bike with white hubcaps that made it look all the more futuristic!
I lucked out and Santa delivered that amazing piece of machinery to my father’s house in Baltimore. At the time, my father’s house at high atop a street that ran downward into a local park. This was exciting to a kid from the mean streets of Trappe, Maryland which were as flat as a board. Growing up, hills were mostly the stuff of legend. You would occasionally hear about from a visiting family member from the city. The fact I even learned to ride a bike on such a flat, barren stretch of land is a minor miracle in itself. When that fateful Christmas morning rolled around back in the 80s, I couldn’t have been more excited to get the go ahead from my Dad to take that shiny new speed machine for its initial run down that hill and into the park on this crisp winter morning.
Grinning ear to ear, I hopped on and bombed down the hill like a bat out of hell. It was incredible! The Sigma’s stylish hand grips felt like they had been created just for me and its new white tires gripped the road with amazing precision as a continued to gain speed. I reached the end of the street and transitioned seamlessly to the grassy knoll that lead into the park. My mind was already on the next decent as I felt I was on a roller coaster getting ready to come off its tracks! It was amazing and at that moment I was on top of the world but the moment was fleeting. It was right then when I realized something had gone horribly wrong. It wasn’t my lack of riding skill or a mechanical failure on bike that snapped me back to reality, it was a smell. As I coasted to the middle of the park to survey the damage, I looked down to the horror that had befallen my beloved new bike and I.
You see, unlike Ralphie Parker in “A Christmas Story,” who received countless warnings about what horrors could befall him with a Red Rider BB Gun, no one had informed me of the dangers of “doggie landmines” when riding my bike. Unfortunately, I had hit the mother lode and was covered from the knees down. I remember slowly pedaling home trying to figure out what to do and silently cursing the creature who befouled me and my new bike. I was an emotional wreck for about 20 minutes until we full hosed myself and the bike down. As traumatic as that experience was, if nothing else, I think it shaped me into a responsible pet owner.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! — Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon, BAMF