The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

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The kid with the wooden crossbar

Forgive the all-in-the-family post, but this is a fun story. My uncle John Sloan writes:

As the youngest–by several years–of three kids, I was used to hand-me-downs. Usually, it worked out pretty well. My brother’s toys and sports equipment were generally pretty cool and broken in–but not broken–by the time I got them. But the timing was all wrong when it was time for me to move up to a bike big enough to ride to school. My brother was still using his current bicycle, so the one that came down to me was my older sister’s baby-blue, balloon-tired, 24-inch Schwinn.

It, of course, had no crossbar. It was a girls’ bike.

My big brother didn’t generally make it his business to solve my problems, but he could see the angst that this was causing me […] as the big kids taunted me with shouted remarks about my gender identity.

“Hey, look at the shrimp on the girls’ bike!”

So I was grateful, indeed, when he pulled me and the bike into the garage with the equipment needed to solve my dilemma.

The rest of the story really does go, as he puts it, “like an episode of Leave It To Beaver.”

This is from one of his columns for the Star-Courier in Kewanee, Illinois. I always enjoy reading them, because they’re a reminder that a different media galaxy—a different public sphere—still exists, far from the buzz and flow of Google Reader, Twitter, and Snarkmarket threaded comments. (Sorry, just had to get that in there again.)

Fun fact: My great-grandfather Simpson Sloan was, circa 1896-1898, a designer of bicycles. And remember, bikes were basically the internet of the 1890s! Exciting, accessible, full of promise. He even built one called “the Sloan Special.”


Tim Carmody says…

What? “The Sloan Special”? I think your “Fun fact” is 100% made up. And will hold that until I see definitive evidence otherwise.

Too on-the-nose, Sloan. That’s the mistake you made in trying to pull that one over on us. Save your fabulism for the story.

Tim Carmody says…

My great-uncle Dickie Crickets was both a gifted inventor and king of the megaphone crooners.

Tim’s not gonna believe it until we produce cameraphone footage of me riding down Valencia Street in a vintage Sloan Special.

Working on it 😉

Hah! So you ride “in” it Sloan? Not likely, unless the fully-faired Sloan Special was decades before its time! :b

That was a truly delightful story. I love the kicker.

BTW, if you find yourself needing to reward a donor going orders of magnitude beyond the super-value-occult pack, a reconstruction of the Sloan Special–or perhaps, a reinterpretation–might be in order.

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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