Leatherballs XVIII: Gimme a kiss

Any of this sound familiar at all?

A new study has confirmed the stereotype that women do more around the house. In fact, the lead author of the study, Darby Saxbe, reported that wives typically do around twice as much housework as their husbands.

Not surprisingly, men are just fine with this. While wives’ stress levels drop when their husbands pitch in with the dishes or laundry, husbands are most peaceful when they kick back while wives tidy up.

However, don’t go burn your bra on the front yard—your husband will only ask you to mulch around the begonias while you’re out there. Instead, take a moment to answer some perspective-enhancing questions.

Do you have running water? Clothes you didn’t sew? A refrigerator that doesn’t run on hand-hewn ice blocks? A vacuum cleaner? A dishwasher, microwave, air conditioning? Did you spend less than three days ironing this week?

Still want to complain about cleaning up after a meal by sticking dishes into an electric box that washes it for you?

Ladies, let’s don’t let this ridiculous, unnecessary study send us into finger-wagging resentment. Rather, let’s celebrate the fact that we have it so much better than moms who came before us—thanks in large part to inventions made . . . by men.

Bless Nancy French’s little heart; she’s the woman who wrote this. This is a woman with her head screwed on straight and her heart in the right place, and she oughta be encouraged. Hell, I was all set to say something smartassed about polishing the scoot and bringing me a beer, but I just can’t do it to a woman who’s as right as she is here, and ain’t ashamed to show it right out in public. All too rare these days, and I don’t mean that in a sexist way; in amongst all our bitching about mostly nothing, we all do tend to take one hell of a lot for granted, men and women both. You go, girl.

Ain’t electric cars wonderful? No fuss, no muss, no noise, no greasy spots on the garage floor. Also no get up and go, no style, no range, no class, no pride, and no dignity. But what the hell, Uncle Big Brother has decided that’s what’s best for us, so sooner or later, that’s by God what we’re all gonna be driving. Kick in your forty or fifty grand and you too can forget all the hassles of the internal combustion engine, and you can pat yourself on the back for the thirty or so miles you’ll be able to put under those cute little wheels before it conks out, for saving the environment. And you have the added bonus of feeling all superior to those backwards-ass cavemen that are roaring past you on the freeway like you’re in reverse. And hey, how you gonna put a price on that, I ask you?

Yep, no all of those things I just listed above, and a few more besides, but here’s the real killer: no joy. And in the end, that’s what they’re really trying to take away from us.

Remember back in the old days, when driving was fun? Of course you do; you guys are bikers, and the feeling you get from straddling a piston-driven V-twin, firing her up, hearing her settle down to that sweet loping idle as she works the kinks and sleepiness out, and just letting the miles unwind beneath you as your cares and troubles lift off your shoulders and fly far, far away is what you live and breathe for. If you couldn’t get out on the open road and ramble, with no particular destination in mind—just letting the wind blow you where it wants you to be and taking every new experience, every new friend, every new moment as it comes—you might as well just head on out for the rest home and sit down in the wheelchair and call it a day.

But let’s talk cars for a minute here. Because cars are only the beginning.

Remember when you were a wee tot, and you didn’t much care for the idea of going to sleep, so your mom and dad would haul your grumpy ass out to the car and drive you down a country road until you settled down and nodded off? Remember when you were a teenager, and there wasn’t much else to do in your little podunk town on a Friday night but pile your friends into your battered, crusty old-faithful lead sled and just cruise hither and yon, talking and laughing and punching the buttons on the radio until you found something good and rocking?

Ever have a fight with the ol’ lady, and reach a point where you know the only remotely constructive thing you can do is just go get on the highway, roll the windows down, and let the spring breeze bring you the kind of calming perspective that only mobility, independence, solitude, and freedom can give you? Ever have nothing to do on a crisp fall afternoon and just want to point the hood ornament towards the setting sun and just GO for a while?

Ever make out hot and heavy in a car? Ever sleep on a beach in one? Ever put your dog in one and laugh like hell as he hung his big old head out the window, grinning like a fiend and loving every minute of it?

Well, kiss all that goodbye. Because you won’t be doing any of it in one of those pathetic little underpowered, overpriced, Eveready egg-mobiles. You won’t even want to, if you have any sense.

And why would you? The electric car takes every ounce of fun out of the whole shebang, and gives you nothing but grim, cheerless economy in return, and not nearly enough of that to make it worth the swap. I’ll grant you, in these days of four buck a gallon gas, economy ain’t nothing. But it ain’t everything, either.

There ain’t no romance in these things, and there never will be. Once they become the common mode of transportation, transportation will be all we have, and travel will be a forgotten dream. Nobody is ever going to jump in one of these things and drive the entire length of the legendary Route 66, just for the hell of it. Nobody is ever going to write a song about driving a Chevy Volt to the levee but the levee was dry. Nobody’s girlfriend is going to get all excited when that nonexistent song comes on the radio and turn it way the fuck up and flap her pretty young titties out the passenger window at delighted truckers just because it all feels so damned good, in a thousand different ways nobody can even begin to explain. Hell, you don’t dare turn the radio on at all, no matter what kind of government-approved Eurofag disco bullshit is on there, because it’ll drain the juice from the pussified piece of shit, which is actually juiceless in another sense anyway, and leave you stranded. “I can’t drive 55?” You won’t even be able to reach 55 unless you drive it off a cliff, and you won’t be any more amused by it than Sammy Hagar was by his predicament.

The American love affair with the automobile is one of the most over-analyzed, over-intellectualized phenomena in human history. Joe-College eggheads have been scratching their wispy-fleeced pates over it since the first Model A got snapped up right off the assembly line, and they never have figured it out, and they never will. Because the thing is, it’s real. It’s real, and as such it is beyond the comprehension of people whose idea of “real” is a faculty-lounge discussion of whether we rough and ready knuckledraggers ought to be coerced into shameful submission or whether we ought to just be summarily killed, and to hell with us.

Those ivory-tower eggheads can’t grasp the near-mystical appeal of the internal combustion engine, because it involves many repeated explosions, and that scares them. It also involves freedom of movement and the right to go where one pleases untrammeled and without supervision, without owing anybody any explanations, and that scares them way worse. They’re not just deaf to the song of the thrumming, humming V8 and the call of the open road; they’re dismayed by it, and don’t wish to hear any more about it. And the one thing they can never, ever do is leave anyone else alone.

And see, that’s where the biker angle comes in amidst all this cage-talk. Anybody out there heard any of these do-gooder busybodies talking about electric motorcycles yet? Anybody want to ride one if they do finally get around to throwing us that small bone and allowing us that piddling bit of freedom?

Hell, no. An electric motorcycle is what your parents get you for Christmas on your eighth birthday, if they can afford such a thing. You’re happy enough about it at the time, and you piddle around on it and have a ball until you’re big enough to handle a real honest-to-God dirt bike, and then the old one gets handed down to your little sister or your goofy cousin, and you never think about it again until your significant other drags out those embarrassing little-kid photos for all your friends to have a good time pointing and laughing at your geeked-out ass. It’s great when it’s all you have, but the whole time you know in the secret recesses of your brain that you’re just marking time until the real thing comes along.

And an electric car is the same sort of thing, in its weak-ass, pathetic way. It’s a means of reducing all of us to the child-like status the eggheads believe we merit; we can only go so far, so fast, under certain conditions, and then we have to stop before we go too far for our own good. The more intelligent and independent-minded among us who dare question their almighty wisdom will be fed a bunch of bushwa about peak oil, and global warming or cooling or whatever the fuck it is this week, and the dire necessity of conserving scarce natural resources so China can go right on befouling the planet as they struggle halfway to where we were fifty years ago. If you’re good, and you toe the proper line, maybe you’ll get in with the right people and they’ll let you wash their stretch limos (which they’ll be keeping, thanks) every once in a while. But until you prove yourself worthy, you can make do with a glorified Big Wheel. And you’ll like it, damn you.

Not that electric cars are completely useless, mind. For someone who lives in a big, densely-packed city, and has a daily commute of about fifty feet, where parking is a nightmare, they could come in quite handy. I can think of five of those kinds of urban areas in the whole US off the top of my head. For everybody else, they’re either an indulgence, an affectation, or a curse.

And like I said, nobody has even brought up electric Harleys yet, and I hope they never do. Because the moment these pencil-necked geeks feel comfortable enough to, we’ll know we are well and truly fucked.

From my cold, dead hands, motherfuckers.

Farewell to Randy “Macho Man” Savage, one of the all-time best of the best at what he did. May he rest in peace.

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