“Are you Maurice?”

3rd birthday party; June ’82

Was going through some old pictures yesterday & found this classic. I vividly remember being disappointed that “Animal” was nowhere on my Muppets big wheel. As evidenced by the color scheme, it was ALL Kermit. Like most loud things, my mother didn’t like “Animal” & the fact that he played the drums wildly. So a few years later, she made me play the piano & violin. I refused at first. But she sweetened the deal by purchasing me an “A-Team” big wheel. It didn’t take long for me to wear that thing out either! Blew a wheel within a month & was instantly disinterested in “little kid” stuff, like big wheels. I wanted a “big boy” bike like Terry; My neighborhood rival. I swear…. The shit we sent our single mothers through to continuously “one-up” one another should have caused them to give us up for adoption. Today, I’m the proud owner of 5 “big kid” bikes…. None of which I asked my mother to purchase.

Sticking with the topic of bicycles, I wanna share an impromptu encounter I had last weekend:

It started like any other day….. For me anyway. Smoothie, stretching & pounding water. I had 3 beers the night before at trivia night & was feeling bloated; Definite sign that it was gonna be a cardio & core day. Those “barley sodas” have a habit of making bellybuttons “outies.” While out on my bike, with the “Man of Steel” soundtrack blaring in my ears, the stench of dead skunk begins burning my nose hairs. Off topic, but do nose hairs become more daring & exploratory the older we get? Mine seem to venture further out of my cavernous nostrils, the closer I get to 40. Back on topic…. So the previously removed mask I wear while riding, found its way back on my face due to the dead skunk. I get it situated, go around a blind curve in the road & in front of me is a “professional-looking” cyclist. He’s got the yellow outfit on, looking like Lance Armstrong. I throw up my hand to wave at the man & he yells something in my direction. I remove my headphones, turn around & see that he’s headed in my direction. “What the fuck does this guy want,” I wonder. I head towards him & his words become clear:

“Are you Maurice,” he asks.

“Ummmmm, no. I’m Roderick.” I noticed his voice is softer than I expected.

“Well, do you know Maurice?”

“No I don’t. What does he look like?”

“He looks like you honestly. I talked to him last night on a dating site,” he explains. “He was supposed to meet me along this road.”

And that’s when I realized: This isn’t Lance Armstrong. He introduces himself as “Eric,” shakes my hand & says, “Nice to meet you.” I glance down at his bulging package & say to myself: “Lance only has one testicle. This guy definitely has two, maybe three in those shorts.” I tell “Eric” I’m sorry I can’t help him & wish him a safe ride, as we both go our separate ways. I ride off wondering: WHO is this “Maurice?” Is there another brotha out in Oysterville with a bunch of facial hair & as handsome as me? Why haven’t I seen him yet? Does “Maurice” know what “Eric” is packing? I was literally riding down the road, concerned for the sexual welfare of someone I’ve never met!

This encounter reminded me of a song from years ago. Actually, an old SNL skit with Eddie Murphy as “Buckwheat.” I’ll type the words to the song for you. But know, I’m singing this shit loudly at the moment: “Wookin’ pa nub in all da wong places… Wookin’ pa nub!”

I thank you all for taking the time to read my thoughts. Be well & take care of yourselves. Oh, & if you see “Maurice,” tell him that “Eric” is looking for him!

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