The People Of Hot Rodding
I’m all kinds of hopped up on pain meds right now. As some of you know, I’ve had neck issues for years and have plenty of surgery scars to prove it. I’ll be adding one to the collection as you read this. It came out of Knowhere this time. My daughter and I went on a whale shark dive a couple of weeks ago and while on that trip, my left arm started screaming about my spinal cord. I’ve been in fucking agony ever since.
The good news is that my surgeon is the best in the world. And I know, everyone says that about their surgeon… It’s a coping mechanism to think that and to tell people the same. But mine actually is the best in the world. He’s also a hot rodder and a pal. You know him as “Skullcracker” on the H.A.M.B., but everyone here in Austin just knows him as Dr. Dan. He’s one of the owners behind Austin Speed Shop.
I only bring this up because I needed a lead in to something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. As a whole, we hot rodders are drama queens. He doesn’t like that guy. And that other guy hates this guy. And that guy did this guy wrong, so fuck him. And I heard this rumor about that one guy and I think it’s true because this other guy told me something similar. And did you see what that one asshole posted on facebook?
I’m not immune… And while I never get involved with the online shenanigans (I don’t really use social media), I’m as guilty as the next guy for talking shit amongst my pals. A good example of that happened during the Round Up this year. A guy we know made some passive aggressive comments about the H.A.M.B. and then while joking around said a few choice words and then proceeded to flip me off in front of my wife and three kids.
My initial reaction was a Texan one. I started to get out the car and my wife, knowing full well what was about to happen, gave me the “you are a about to end up sleeping on the couch look” and so… I retreated. But it wasn’t long before my other Texan pals got word of what happened and it wasn’t long after that before these pals started talking about who was and who wasn’t welcomed in Texas next year.
Now, loyalty is something I was very much born with. And I tend to chose my pals with the same sense of adherence to one’s friends, so don’t get me wrong – I was very much appreciative of my squad and their intentions. BUT, then I started looking at the whole situation from a higher altitude and I began to realize I wasn’t acting any differently than those people that I get so embarrassed for when they start some internet campaign to trash someone.
On some level, every single one of us is childish. And on some level, none of us really grew up all that efficiently. I mean, if we weren’t and if we did, we wouldn’t still be playing with cars in the way that we all do – right? So, it’s expected for us all to do some pretty dumb shit on occasion. I guess it’s the price we pay for being what we are.
But sometimes I think it’s important for all of us to take a step back and really examine the parts/people of this hot rod world that bother us and the reasons why. I’ve been doing that recently and, at least in my case, I’m seeing a whole lot of stupidity on my part.
A pal of mine recently forwarded me a post from instagram that was made by a guy that was banned from the H.A.M.B. almost a decade ago. Evidently, he still hadn’t let it go and was still voicing his displeasure with it all. My initial reaction was something along the lines of, “Man… that dude has problems.” And then I sort of browsed his posts and stalked his life through his feed. The more I did so, the more I realized that this guy was a passionate traditional hot rodder… just as passionate as I am… but he just thought differently than me. And maybe we are incompatible as buddies, but who am I to think I’m right and he’s wrong?
I’ve been casually studying buddhism the past few years (no, I’m not a buddhist and no this isn’t a religious pitch) and some smart guy once said, “Everyone comes from somewhere.” The thing is, none of us come from the exact same spot, but wherever it is we come from builds upon who we are. It’s really just a bullshit way of saying everyone should at least try to put themselves in other’s shoes before making judgements. And those judgements you do make are yours and yours alone.
And the point of all this is that we are all hot rodders. And we all share that one thing with even the worst amongst us. And ultimately, we are all after the same thing. It shouldn’t be all that hard for all of us to get along… even if some of us don’t like each other all that much. So, be cool. There’s no point to not doing so.
Editor’s Note: Even though I’m high as god damned Elon Musk rocket right now and still full of pain, I know for a fact that I am gonna end up full of regret for posting this. It’ll be like the morning after a barn burner where you relive those small little humiliations when thoughts of your actions from the night before come back to you throughout the day. I’m still probably gonna post it though… if for no other reason than I have nothing to post on the morning of my surgery and it took me an hour to type this one handed. So… my apologies in advance.