Saturday, November 09, 2013

Classic Post Saturday

I was sitting downstairs listening to David Kenedy play several cello suites by my boy Wolfgang Amadeus thinking about posting something about volume on a high quality stereo and it's relationship to going really fast in a variety of cars.

I then came upstairs with the idea of reposting my entry about standing in front of JPMorgan with my painting of Jamie Dimon.  So I searched the phrase "They told us you'd be coming" and, while I didn't find the JPM post, I did find this, from the 4th of December, 2009.

It seemed like a message from God herself, so I'm posting it now on Classic Post Saturday ...


Police Cite Vikings' Peterson For Driving 109 mph

Do you follow Vikings football? Me neither. Honestly, who cares?

But I'm always stunned at the righteous tone the media takes on matters like Adrian Peterson getting caught hauling ass down a suburban freeway in the middle of the night in his Beemer. In the old days, when getting a car to go 100 was more difficult than it is now (Most modern Volkswagons can easily hit 100. In my day, perhaps only Dennis Conklin's could), we used to call it Doing the Ton.

There is a stretch of Route 66 in Virginia that, in the early 70s, was undertrafficed, four lanes wide and smooth as glass. And there were plenty of times that I, a simple boy channeling Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, would take the 66 exit off 495, downshift my Triumph to 3rd, feel it wind out as I looped around the exit ramp... upshift to 4th... and before you knew it (actually that's not entirely true--it took a while), you were Doing the Ton.

And I'm here to tell you, the lines on the road just looked like dots.

My car was a 61 Triumph TR3. The kind with the cut down doors and the bizarre attachments that served as windows. Here's a picture of one:



Believe me, it never once looked as good as this. But it remains one of my two favorite cars, ever.  Sitting at the wheel of this almighty contraption, you were so close to the road that you could comfortably reach out and trail your fingers along the pavement. Slide your hand back and you could stroke the side of the rear wheel.

I always wondered what would happen if you got your finger caught under the wheel at 100.
Thap...thap...thap. Shit, I'm inside the wheelwell.
Anyway, the speedometer of my car had long since stopped working, but I knew from experience that 5000 rpm equaled 100 mph. It was also the red-line of this ancient, in-line 4. So Doing the Ton in this thing was all you were going to do. Period.

And believe me, you didn't want to go any faster. There was a palpable sense of the car, at that speed, literally shaking itself to pieces. A car like this, you kind of took in stride the notion that it was constantly coming apart. But at 100, it seemed like a scarier proposition.

Some time later, when my brother was in Viet Nam, I did the same thing in his Alfa Romeo. The second car I ever drove at 100. And it was a revelation: it felt just like going 50, just twice as fast.  No fuss. No sense of impending doom. Just going fast down a road.

Now, dear reader, consider for a moment the rocket-sled of a BMW that Adrian Peterson must surely own. He strikes me as an M-6 Coupe kind of guy. Consider also that the man is a world-class athlete, blessed with amazing hand-eye coordination and superb manual dexterity. Hell, he's way safer driving that car at 109 than most of the idiots clogging up the roadway are at any speed.  He should have said THAT to the judge.

His statement, instead, goes: "I need to be more aware of the speed I was going and not let it happen again."

Honestly, what kind of a world are we living in?

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