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August 20, 2004

White Trash Living

Why is it that when you mention that you are getting a motorcycle, everyone feels obligated to tell you the most tragic motorcycle story they’ve ever heard? 3,000 people die in car crashes every day on this planet, but if you tell someone you bought a new Ford F150 pickup, they don’t say “I know a guy that was burned alive beneath a gasoline truck in an F150?.

Jennifer recently turned six years old. She doesn’t weigh 45 pounds dripping wet and she still rides in a car seat. But she knows how to shoot a rifle, and as of today, she has a shiny red four-wheeler.

Other parents are squandering their savings on Ivy League college funds and Montessori schools. Not me. I know what makes life worth living, and it isn’t a fat bank account and it isn’t hobnobbing with trust fund babies in private schools. What makes life fun is a .22 caliber rifle and the wind in your hair.

Granted, her toy wouldn’t arrive in time for Christmas, but I’ve never been accused of being punctual. I first got the idea that I may want to get her one shortly before Christmas, as in a few days before X-mas.

The first puzzle was what type to get her. I’ve owned a few motorcycles, but never a 4-wheeler. A bit of research revealed that the smallest 4-wheeler Honda makes is a 90cc, which appeared a bit large for Jennifer. I did manage to find some generic 50cc 4-wheelers for around $1,500.00 though. I wasn’t sure if I should get one, so I called my brother. My brother owns 150 acres of swampland in Mississippi. He has a Honda 4-wheeler that would tow a semi through a mud bog. It also has a spotlight, rifle rack, game rack, and a built-in GPS system to boot. The conversation went something like this:

“I’m thinking of getting Jennifer a 4-wheeler. I found some little 50cc ones here, but I don’t know if they’re any good or not.? I explained.

“How many motorcycles have you owned?? He asked.

“I’m not sure.? I answered.

“More than five?? He continued.

“Yeah.? I replied.

“What kind were they??

“They were all Hondas.? I confessed.

“Then why would you want to get anything else??

“…I’m not sure…? I mumbled. I felt like he had just pointed out that I had toilet paper on my shoe.

“A friend of mine called me and asked me this same question.? My brother began. We went through this same conversation. I told him to get a Honda. Two weeks went by, and he told me he had saved six hundred dollars and bought a Yamaha. Another week after that, he told me ‘This thing’s not running right. See if you can tell what’s wrong with it when I drive by.’ I told him ‘I can see what’s wrong with it from here. It’s not a Honda.’? My brother stated. He had made his point.

My brother put me on the right track. Brothers are good for that. So, I picked up the phone and I called the local Honda dealership. The conversation went like this:

“I’m looking for a 4-wheeler for my daughter. What’s the smallest one y’all make??

“How old is she??

“Five.?

“We can’t sell you a four-wheeler until she’s 12.?

“What? That’s ridiculous. I was driving cars when I was 12.?

“That’s just Honda’s policy, sir.?

“What if I call back and tell y’all it’s for me??

“I can’t tell you how to get around the policy, sir. I would get in trouble for that.?

Honda had caved in to the lawyers. They’d given up on selling dreams to youngsters. That put me into the “pre-owned? Honda 4-wheeler market. Not that I have a problem with that. I’ve never bought a vehicle off a showroom floor in my life, nor do I intend to. It’s a foolish waste of money, and anyone that understands simple amortization schedules knows it.

I began searching the Internet looking for the smallest 4wheeler Honda ever made. As it turns out, they used to make a 70cc Honda TRX Fourtrax, but the last year they made it was 1987. That meant looking for a 17 year old Honda in showroom condition.

After searching the web for several days, I found Jennifer’s 1986 Honda Fourtrax 70 in a stranger’s garage in Phoenix, AZ. A few phone calls corrected the problem and it was soon in transit to Denver.

I told my sister about the latest addition to the toy collection.

“One of our friends had a little nine year old boy that died on a dirt bike. They bought a commemorative brick for him. It says ‘In Loving Memory Of…’? She explained.

“Jennifer’s 4wheeler comes with a commemorative brick. It’s included in the price. It already says ‘In Loving Memory Of _____’. All you have to do is fill in the name and date.? I countered.

Why is it that when you mention that you are getting a motorcycle, everyone feels obligated to tell you the most tragic motorcycle story they’ve ever heard? 3,000 people die in car crashes every day on this planet, but if you tell someone you bought a new Ford F150 pickup, they don’t say “I know a guy that was burned alive beneath a gasoline truck in an F150?. Why is that, I wonder?

While waiting for the vehicle to arrive, I tested Jennifer.

“What’s going to be here on Monday, baby doll??

“Mommy!?

“No…I mean yeah…but what else? What are you going to get on Monday??

“A new stuffed kitty cat! Momma bought one for me!?

“No…I mean yeah…but… baby, we’re going to go pick up your new...oh never mind.?

Posted by Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2004 at 9:11 PM

Comments

How does she like the 70? I'm looking at getting my son, age 7 one and was woundering if the 90cc would be better. What price range are these old 70s getting?

I agree, let them ride, teach them responcibility early and they will grow up to be good drivers!

Posted by: Jan on December 12, 2005 at 9:27 AM

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