Groping for Answers: Crooked Letters and Lopsided Reasoning

Way back on the Dachshund of Time, we encouraged our children to be silent and obedient. (And by "encouraged" I mean "beat with sticks.") Eventually, though, silence gave way to inquisitiveness, and obedience to precocity. Incessant questions were no longer discouraged as a form of impugnity; instead, they were encouraged as a sign of intelligence. To a certain extent, this was a good thing, for an answer is certainly more edifying to a child than a slap in the face. However, as with most indulgences, things went too far, and our culture eventually became one in which every inane juvenile utterance is taken as seriously as a Supreme Court decision. Over the years and decades, our indulged children become adults (at least physically), and the result is we're now a society who's default mode of discourse is the stupid question. Consider the latest "Tweet" from popular actor Rainn Wilson:

Rainn Wilson's Twitter has almost two million followers, and even in our "Look at me, I'm talking!" culture it stuns me that he would pose such a dumb question to such a vast sounding board. Indeed, given that Rainn Wilson's wife is from Portland and they are both Bahá'í and thus apparently believe in "the spiritual unity of all humankind," it could very well be that this question was posed in the spirit of irony. However, given that Rainn Wilson is also an actor in Los Angeles, pending concrete evidence to the contrary I have no choice but to take the question at face value.

First of all, everybody knows there's no angrier group of road users than drivers, since the very nature of driving is infuriating. This was succinctly articulated in the 1993 film "Falling Down," in which Michael Douglas goes completely insane after getting stuck in Los Angeles traffic. Conversely, cyclists tend to be very happy while riding, and it's usually only after being nearly killed by drivers that they get angry. (Nearly being killed is irritating.) So, if Rainn Wilson (or anybody) keeps encountering angry cyclists, he may want to consider the possibility that he's actually a really bad driver, in the same way that a man who wonders why women "never have orgasms" might want to look instead to his own lack of sexual prowess.

Unfortunately, though, many people would prefer to keep driving poorly and instead consign cyclists to the park, in the same way that the man who can't please a woman might assert that the onus is on her to masturbate. Also, Rainn Wilson may not understand that some cyclists actually need to get someplace, and that if he finds them irritating he could just as easily avoid them altogether and enjoy the luxurious interior of his car while driving around and around his circular driveway. Finally, he concludes all of this with the obligatory Lycra jab, which is so obvious it once again makes me suspect he's being sarcastic. But then I checked out Rainn Wilson's website, SoulPancake, and figured that maybe "Why do cyclists Always seem so angry?" is an actual example of what he feels is one of LIFE'S BIG QUESTIONS:

Instead of foisting this ill-considered question upon two million people and/or "God," he could have instead asked his fellow "The Office" castmember Steve Carell. Granted, his character in "The 40 Year Old Virgin" was to bicycle commuters what Tonto was to Native Americans, but he did race bicycles "Back in the Day." I know this because I once heard him tell David Letterman about it, but all I could find was this brief excerpt:

Shave Legs for Hygiene sound bite

Or, he could have asked Snoop Dogg, who's apparently so Lycra-friendly that he wants to borrow Lance Armstrong's skinsuit:

The disgustingness of wearing somebody else's skinsuit notwithstanding, it's at least a kind sentiment.

Rainn Wilson should also watch this video which was forwarded to me by a reader, since it proves that even the most hardened and dedicated urban cyclists is far from angry. Granted, he's self-contradicting and completely clueless, but his ignorance is clearly bliss:

Fixie from Dutch Simpson on Vimeo.

Yesterday I mentioned "asymmetrical dogma," and when it comes to lopsided principles none are more misshapen than those of the fixed-gear "culture." In this regard, the rider in the video stays solidly "on message," issuing such classic "fixie" soundbites as the wildly inaccurate description of what a fixed-gear is:

"Riding fixed-gear is basically one gear where you have no brakes..."

The Holy Trinity of Ways To Fail to Stop Your Bike:

"If you're mashing down traffic, only one way to stop is to either turn, or skid, or just ride through it."

The Zenlike quality of riding like an idiot:

"Another great thing about fixed-gear and just riding in general is just diving in between cars, I mean, being two inches away from someone's mirror is just unbelievable."

The oxymoronic riding-like-an-idiot-is-somehow-healthy-and-safe qualifier complete with smug environmental name-check:

"It's a healthy and safe way to get around town. And I guess I'm helping the environment too which is pretty cool."

And of course the testimonial to the unique perspective that only cycling affords you:

"Another cool thing about riding around the city is just you get to explore everything...finding unique places, it's pretty awesome."

Keep in mind of course that in the fixed-gear universe "unique" means "uniform," which is why he apparently feels an empty loading dock qualifies as a unique place:

In any case, if this rider had darted past Rainn Wilson's car and barely missed his sideview mirror, I admit a Tweet along these lines might have been warranted:

And another angry Tweet would also have been justified if he'd been the victim of a ride-by groping, as forwarded to me by the proprietor of this blog:

At first, I suspected the "MILF Hunter:"

However, the fact he was wearing a "chef's coat and black-and-white checkered pants" instead of an old HealthNet kit (in addition to the fact that the composite sketch looks nothing like Floyd Landis) leads me to suspect instead that he's some kind of disgruntled and extremely randy pizza man.

Speaking of Floyd Landis, even though he was raised a Mennonite, he is not an "Amish tattoo boy:"

L train 9 AMish. tattoo boy - w4m - 25 (L to union)
Date: 2010-06-25, 4:03PM EDT

i found myself describing you to a coworker today.. he suggested craigslist- creepy for sure- but here i am. you had light red/brown hair, japanese tree/branchy tattoo on your left (left?) upper arm. wearing some solid colored shirt. you were looking at me a lot, and likewise. i wish there was something cool to say to strangers on trains. those days never come..
i got off at union square, hoping you'd be behind me.
im the blonde, denim dress, big sunglasses that was into my book until you got on the train.
where do you hang out?! :(

Presumably, an "Amish tattoo boy" would be prohibited from using an electric tattooing machine--even if it was fashioned from a Campagnolo derailleur (as forwarded by the editor of Tucson Velo):

Campagnolo Derailluer / Tattoo Machine - $50 (Central East)
Date: 2010-06-26, 10:59AM MST
Reply to: [deleted]

I have a very uniqe item here.
This is a nineteen eighties Campy front derailleur from my old Cannondale. I was bored one day while minding the shop and decided to create this. I used a motor from a beard trimmer and a stainless pen barrel.
It takes standadr needle bars / grommets. I have never used it because I have actual tat machines, but it does work.

I only hope the seller's tattoos are not as poorly spelled as his Craigslist posts. In any case, surely applying your own knuckle tattoos with a "vintage" Campy derailleur would be a hipster's dream--though if you're going to "curate" your own "body art" you should at least read about curating first:

Uptown 6 - cute guy reading about curating - w4m - 20 (Upper East Side)
Date: 2010-06-25, 4:02PM EDT

Uptown 6 this morning around 9:30 or so. Cute guy reading a book entitled "A Brief History of Curating" and carrying a dress shirt on a hanger. You were really cute, and I'd love to chat sometime.

I hope they manage to find each other and curate a relationship.

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