jacktheriepe The little crush washer that could By Jack Riepe #116117

THE TRUTH NEVER serves me well. Throughout my cursed life, people with long faces have always told me, “Tell the truth. It is the best policy.” After

more than 30 years in public relations, I can tell you that truth is like penicil- lin. It may cure clap once or twice, but after that, it just makes things worse. Take my August column in the BMW MOA’sOwner’s News. I told the simple truth about a motorcycle, a woman, a snake, and something that all male riders take a delight in doing. There were no references to hit-and-run romance, gin mills, fast riding, cheap liquor, nor the whiff of a cigar. There was no profanity. I didn’t even resort to innuendo. And still the Pitchfork and Burning Torch Crowd found umbrage in my now famous “Snake” story. My writing is colored by my per-

ception of a motorcycle. To me, a motorcycle is a sensuous object. It is a machine designed by hedonism, with hedonism defined as “the ethical the- ory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.” Because that’s what a motorcycle is:

the satisfaction of the senses. And the key word in this definition is “ethical.” Why else would anyone choose to

endlessly ride a machine in the heat, in the rain, in the cold, in the back- wash of huge trucks, at the mercy of stupid deer, subject to vibration, and occasionally fraught with inconve- nient breakdowns that can cost mil- lions of dollars? (I am exaggerating. BMW “K” bikes do not vibrate.)

76 BMW OWNERS NEWS October 2017 The answer to that question is because

riding a motorcycle simply overwhelms the senses. Throwing a leg over one immedi- ately makes me 19 years old again. And when I was 19 years old, I was a quarter- inch off centerline feral. There are thou- sands of BMW riders out there who feel the same way. They just don’t say it. Fortunately for me, most of them like it when I do. But I don’t want to alienate readers who

prefer their motorcycles stories to begin with, “Once upon a time…” So I am trying a new concept with this column. This piece will be a gentle story that everyone can relate to without experiencing an emotional laxative effect. It is called, “The Little Crush Washer That Could.” Once upon a time, in the reign of the

Pharaoh Imohotep III, a company based deep in the Black Forest (nestled between expensive ham and ridiculous cuckoo clocks) built a motorcycle in which the cyl- inder heads hung out both sides like twin circus riders on one horse. It was a happy time for the world, and the Pharaoh was buried with this motorcycle, the design of which did not undergo any major mechani- cal changes until last week. One of the marvels of this motorcycle

was the creation of “the crush washer.” This was a single-use metal disk with a hole in the center that acted as both a seal and a way to seat a bolt or a plug without fear of it coming loose. It was the least expensive part of the motorcycle and priced at three silver strands, or 25 acres of wheat, or ten sheep plus five wives and one pyramid. In 1908, Sir Henry Hookstaff discovered

the tomb, liberated the motorcycle into his secret collection, and took it apart to learn its mysteries. He was astounded to discover a semi-precious coin (worth a pyramid) used to keep the sacred whale oil lubricant from leaking on the tomb floor. Anxious to conceal this coin from the prying eyes of annoying authorities,

Hookstaff hid it in plain sight, by having it sewn into the face of his granddaughter’s doll, as the left eye. For years, the child car- ried this doll in her arms, never realizing the priceless treasure it masked. Then in 1929, while on a trans-global zeppelin flight, the child dropped the doll from an open window on the dirigible’s observation deck. The airship was cruising over the least known part of the Amazon jungle, and the doll was thought lost. Two days later, the zeppelin blew up as it approached Buenos Aires, struck by fireworks to celebrate its arrival. No one thought of the doll again. The doll was not lost. It had been found

by Ooglabagah, a giant among pygmies and the leader of the “The Anteater People.” (The Anteater People got their name from an incident that occurred once in their 7,000-year history, during which they found a wounded anteater and ate it.) Ooglabagah had been contemplating a nice centipede and fungus lunch, when this object fell from a silvery cloud and struck him on the head. (Historians note it was a lucky thing the kid didn’t drop a motorcycle transmission.) Ooglabagha recognized the doll as a female shape and thought it was intended by the god of the Silvery Cloud to be his seventh wife. In time, the doll became Ooglabagah’s

favorite wife, as it said and expected noth- ing. He kept it on a little alter. The cloth doll deteriorated in that oppressive humidity, until only the crush washer remained. Ooglabagah then carved a stone idol in the shape of the doll and set the crush washer in the place of its left eye. This idol became known as “The Silent Goddess,” and quickly became a legend among the tribes of the Amazon. At night, jungle drums carried the story of the beautiful, silent woman wor- shipped by the Anteater People. Then, in 2016, A BMW rider named

Stewie Lomanski from Lodi, New Jersey, rode his custom-painted silver GS


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