Thursday, May 26, 2011

The World War 1 Flying Ace

When I was 10 or 11, I had a toy sub-machine gun that I really liked.  It was modeled loosely after the 45ACP Thompson "Tommy Gun".  It was molded plastic, of course, with a front pistol grip and drum magazine.  When the trigger was pulled, it actuated some kind of spinner mechanism in the drum which made the "machine gun sound".

Acketyackackacketyack...you know what those toy guns sound like.

With the front pistol grip, I found I could hook the gun to the handlebar on my bike, and steer with it and the other hand.  Suddenly, big red was a Sopwith Camel, and I was flying over France, in search of Germans to shoot down.

And, I was an Ace.  I must have sent 250 krauts to their screaming, flaming deaths with my forward-mounted machine gun.  I spent hours dog-fighting over the French countryside.

Of course, from outside of my head, I must have looked pretty loony to the neighbors as I rode in circles and figure-eights, shooting my machine gun and making airplane sounds.

But, that was the beauty of the bicycle, when I was a kid.  Sure, it was a good tool to get you from Point A to Point B, but it was also an airplane, and a spaceship, and a horse, and a drag-racing funny car and a motorcycle and a rowboat...

Bikes were magical in their ability to take me not only across town, but into another world altogether.  Sometimes, we lose track of that kind of thing, as we grow up.  But, it's magic worth remembering.

The next time you ride your bike, make some airplane sounds and imagine wings stretching to either side of you.  The flight of fancy...It's the cheapest flight you'll find, nowadays. 

No TSA patdown required.

x

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